When I first put together this tutorial I lamented not having thought to do this when pregnant with my sons. I guess the universe was listening in on my inner conversation because just a few days later I discovered I was indeed pregnant with baby number three.
This, I think, is a wonderfully basic project that ticks the practical and budget-friendly boxes and frankly it appeals to that part of me that is desperately trying to nest. Need I also point out that this makes a great gift? It's something that a new parent would most definitely use, it's easily chucked in the wash and of course it's made by you. Even better it has more than one use - swaddle little ones in in, lie babies on it, tuck them up in a pram in it. Perfect! For a beginner, allow about 90 minutes to two hours from start to finish.
To make this snuggly baby blanket you will need:
- Tissue paper or any paper suitable for making a pattern
- Dressmaking chalk or pencil
- Measuring tape or ruler
- 1 square metre of plain jersey cotton in a colour of your choice
- 1 square metre of contrasting jersey cotton in a pattern of your choice
- Just over 4m of bias binding, also in a colour of your choice
- 40cm of ribbon to match your other chosen bits
- A sewing machine and white or matching thread
- Fabric scissors or pinking shears
This is the trickiest step and the only one which is even vaguely trying, so don't let it discourage you from going any further. You need to cut your jersey cotton so that you have two even square metres.
It's tricky because the jersey cotton tends to roll at the edges making it a little difficult to measure or get a straight edge. I tried a couple of different methods but concluded the best option is to make a pattern using tissue paper. So, I'd recommend doing just that -a one square metre pattern and cut it out.
Lay your first piece of cotton on a large table or floor, making sure you have no wrinkles or creases. Gently place the pattern on top and pin in place, making sure not to stretch or bunch the cotton underneath. Mark your square then remove your pattern. At this stage I checked the measurements with a ruler though you can of course use your measuring tape too. Cut out your fabric and then repeat with the other piece of cotton.
Now that you have your two square metres of cloth, it's time to pin them together. Using plenty of pins and again making sure not to stretch or bunch the fabric, pin the two sides of your blanket with the wrong sides together. I pinned close to the edge and it helped prevent any rolling and made sure to pin right in the corners as well.
This is the fun bit and where you will really start to see the blanket take shape. Now that you have your pieces pinned together, it's time to sew across them to secure them to each other.
Because your finished stitching will be visible from both sides it is definitely advisable to have a little trial on a scrap of material first; you don't want any tension issues ruining your work on one or both sides.
I opted to sew a plain straight stitch in diagonal lines across my blanket, sewing each line 10cm from the previous one. You could just as easily choose to use a more decorative stitch or even just zigzag, it's up to you. Be sure to let the machine do its work in feeding the fabric through. Because you are working with a stretchy fabric, you don't want to push or pull it through the machine - simply hold the weight of your fabric to avoid any drag and guide it along your chosen line.
Take your length of ribbon and fold it in half. Pin it to one edge of your blanket, about 15cm down from a corner. You want the long ends of the ribbon lying across your fabric as when you put the binding on it will secure the folded edge.
The binding -if you haven't sewn bias binding before I would suggest doing what I did and head on over to YouTube for a lesson. Really I was kind of amazed at how easy it is. Take your pick from these tutorials or maybe watch a couple like me and see what suits you best.
So once you are clear on how to attach the binding, you need to pin yours in place making sure that your cotton goes all the way inside your binding so that when you sew it will be secured in place on both sides.
Start just along from a corner, not on it. Take your time at the corners where you need to mitre the binding. This means you fold the tape back on itself to achieve the 90 degree angle you need to keep going. When you get back to where you started, snip the end of the binding on an angle and pin in place to cover the place where you started.
Sew around your binding using a straight stitch. Go slowly and check on both sides to make sure all is going along as it should be. Don't forget to remove the pins as you go as forgotten ones will most definitely be a problem in the finished product.
Snip any loose threads, check all the stitching. Iron on an appropriate setting and roll up, using your ribbon ties to secure it. You're finished and it is time to bask in the glow of your achievement.
- © Fairfax NZ News