Thursday, January 22, 2015

A sweet baby gift to make

The first receiving blanket I made.  The unborn baby's older brother had given him this name and I thought it would be fun to monogram the blanket with it.  This one is solid blue on both sides.
For awhile now, I've been meaning to share the simple directions for something that may become my go-to gift for new babies.  It's a simple flannel receiving blanket.  I made my first one several years ago because I wanted a simple, easily personalized gift.

Since then, I have made two more blankets, both in the past few months.  I really hesitated with making blankets, because typically new moms seem to end up with more baby blankets than they can use.  But the moms who received these use them all the time and have told me so.  The size is really practical for covering baby in the car seat or to use as a coverup when nursing, etc.  So, I will likely continue making and giving these as gifts.  You might like to make some, too.

You need:
2 1-yard pieces of flannel, washed and dried  (you can use the same color, or contrast with another solid color or a print)
Thread to match
Sewing machine

*And, if you wish to embroider a name or design, you will need:
Embroidery floss
Tracing paper
Pencil
Great handwriting or a computer
Embroidery hoop
Embroidery needle
(Note that if you are going to embroider anything on the blanket, the embroidery must be done first, before assembling the blanket.)

This is so simple you probably don't need instructions for the sewing part, but here goes anyway:

Place the two pieces of flannel (embroidered first, if you are embroidering anything) right sides together and smooth them out nicely.  If you like, round the corners.  I like to do this because it not only looks nice, it makes the corners easy to turn.  Pin the 2 pieces together all the way around.

At your sewing machine, sew all around the edges of the blanket (using the seam allowance of your choosing.  I think I use about a 5/8" seam allowance), leaving a 4 to 6" gap unstitched for turning

Turn the blanket right side out through the unstitched gap, smooth the corners out nicely (carefully poke them out with a chopstick or other implement if you have left them square), and press the blanket, tucking the raw edges at the gap inside the blanket to match the rest of the stitching.  Pin the opening together.

Then go back to the sewing machine and topstitch all around the entire edge of the blanket, using a 3/8" to 1/2" seam allowance.  This closes up the opening, gives a nice finish, and helps the blanket stay together better when it is washed and dried.

Then wash, dry, and press the blanket.

(To embroider a name, either write out the baby's name [or other saying, like Sweet Dreams, etc.] on tracing paper, or -- my choice, because my handwriting is terrible -- type the name or saying on your computer in a word processing document, using a font you like in a large size.  [I like to do the lettering in the "outline" style; I just like the way it looks.]  Then print it out on tracing paper.  Cut around the entire name, leaving a generous amount of margin so you will be able to pin the tracing paper to your flannel.

Pin the paper to the flannel where you'd like the name to be.  Then, using an embroidery hoop, embroidery needle and 4 to 6 strands of embroidery floss, embroider the name, right through the tracing paper.  You could use back stitch, or a stem stitch or even a split stitch or chain stitch depending on the look you are going for.  I prefer to use the back stitch for this.  It is sort of nerve-racking stitching through the paper, but it gives such a nice result it is worth the aggravation. 

Once you get the name all stitched, you can tear away the tracing paper.  You may have to use a pin to pull out the paper from some of the smaller, tighter areas, but it's not that much trouble.  To me, this is just the nicest, most accurate way to stitch a name on fabric.

To embroider a design, you can transfer it in one of several ways.  You can use an iron-on transfer or -- my choice -- print out or trace a simple design onto tracing paper.  Then again pin it to the fabric where you want it, and embroider through the tracing paper as before, tearing away the paper when the design is stitched.  Go on with the instructions for sewing the blanket, then wash and dry it before giving it as a gift.)

Another monogram
This shows the pretty flannel on the other side of this green blanket
Besides Arielle's name, I embroidered some snowflakes in the opposite corner of the blanket.  You can't really tell, but this solid fabric is a pale, pale green.
The other side of Arielle's blanket
Have fun with this idea!  It is such a simple yet fun project, with infinite variations possible!



3 comments:

  1. Those are so cute and such a nice gift. Bravo!!

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  2. Those are great. I think we may try and make some.

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  3. Thanks, ladies! They really are incredibly quick and easy to make. Even the embroidery doesn't take all that long.

    Nikki, I hope you and Salinn have fun with this project if you try making some!

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