It's the world's greatest protective shield... from things that go bump in the night, chilly morning air or the I-miss-my-mommy blues. There's nothing like a thick, snuggly blanket to make everything better. And, there's nothing easier than our blanket tutorial. A handsome binding in alternating fabrics is set against a field of creamy white polar fleece. We personalized the project with our lil' boy's name embroidered in the corner. Even with this extra embellishment, the steps are fast and easy.
Our blanket sample finished at 60" x 90", which is the exact dimension of the fleece we purchased (2½ yards of 60" wide fabric). So, the trim fabric is calculated for this size as well. If your fleece is slightly smaller or larger, you may need sightly less or more of the two trim fabrics.
We originally used the Lil' Rascals collection by Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics, which features: tree top monkeys, chubby-cheeked cowboys, tumbling and tussling kittens, even a pugnacious puppy practicing his boxing. Many online retailers allow you to search for fabric by theme should you wish to find a similar vintage storybook theme. Hawthorne Threads and Fat Quarter Shop both offer categories of wonderful designs for children.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Skyline S5)
- For the embroidery option, we used our Janome Memory Craft 9900
- Walking foot (optional)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2½ yards of 60" wide soft polar fleece; we used a high-quality, no-pill fleece in creamy white
- 1 yard EACH of TWO coordinating 44-45" wide fabrics for binding: we used Lil Rascals from Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics in Toys Natural and Toys Yellow
- All purpose thread in color to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Fabric pencil
- Straight pins
- Lay out your 60" x 90" fleece fabric. Trim if needed to make sure your edges are straight and true so the corners of the binding will miter nicely.
- Cut FOUR 8" x 40" strips from EACH of the two binding fabrics (Lil' Rascals Toys Natural and Toys Yellow in our sample). That's a total of EIGHT 8" x 40" strips.
NOTE: Why not just cut full 44-45" width of fabric (WOF) strips? Because we are alternating the two binding fabrics and want the pieces to be as even as possible all around the border. Our blanket has a 300" perimeter (60" x 90"); the EIGHT 8" x 40" strips will seam together into one 313" length, allowing enough extra fabric to create each corner fold as well as enough for a clean finish, but keeping each strip very close to the same size all the way around the border.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Optional Personalized Embroidery
- When they are first learning to recognize letters and read, kids love to see their own names. We personalized our blanket with an embroidered name on the top left corner.
- Our embroidered name was stitched on to a smaller piece of matching fleece then appliquéd to the blanket's corner. You could also hoop the corner of the fleece itself and embroider. We preferred the "appliquéd patch" option because then the back of the blanket remains completely soft and smooth rather than showing the back of the embroidery.
- To clear the corner binding, the top left corner of the first letter of the name should be positioned approximately 4.5" down from the top and 5" in from the left side.
- We used our Janome Memory Craft 9900 to create Nicolas' name. To read more about embroidery machines, visit Janome's website.
- Collect all EIGHT 8" x 40" binding strips.
- Pin and then seam the binding strips together end to end in an alternating pattern to create one long, continuous strip. To do this, match one to the next, right sides together along the 8" sides. Pin in place, then stitch, using a ½" seam allowance. Eight strips, seven seams.
- Press all the seams open.
- Fold in each long raw edge 1" and press well.
- Fold the binding in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together and aligning the two folded edges. Press well.
- You should now have a 313" nicely folded and pressed binding strip of alternating fabrics.
- Starting in the middle of one side of the blanket, unfold your binding and slip it over the raw edge.
- Be very careful that your middle fold is right on the edge of the fleece and your binding is even on both sides.
- Pin from your starting point to the first corner.
- Bring your project to your machine, and starting in the middle (where you started pining), stitch the binding to the project, staying as close to the edge of the binding as you can. Go slowly and make sure you catch both sides of the binding equally.
NOTE: Because I was dealing with two very different fabric types and a very wide binding, I opted to use my walking foot to keep all my layers from slipping and sliding. I also increased my stitch length. You can use a straight stitch or a zig zag stitch to attach the binding. If available on your machine, you could even choose a decorative stitch. We decided on a zig zag.
- Sew to the corner and stop. Lock your seam.
- Remove the project from under the needle and clip your threads, but do not cut your binding.
- Fold a pleat in the corner to make a 45˚ angle. Pin. Encase the new side's raw edge with the binding, working your way to the next corner. Pin in place.
- Return to your machine, and matching your first line of stitching, edgestitch around the corner and down the side to the next corner. Stop at that corner and lock your stitch.
NOTE: By 'around the corner' I mean you should drop your needle in at the end of your original line of stitching, stitch into the corner, pivot, and then stitch down the new edge. This way, your line of stitching around each corner will appear uninterrupted.
- Repeat these same steps at each corner.
- When you return to your starting point, tuck under the raw edge of the binding, match the bottom edges and match your stitching line to finish. Press.
IMPORTANT: Avoid ironing the polar fleece, concentrate on pressing the binding fabric. If you must iron, use the lowest heat setting and place a pressing cloth over the fleece.
- Because the binding is quite wide, we went to the extra step of hand-stitching the diagonal corner folds in place on both the front and back. Using a slip stitch makes them extra tidy.
Hints and Tips
Warning: If you have a cat in the house, it will spend the entire time you are working on this project trying to sit on it!
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever