FSF-Sew4Home_Modernist(728x90)_March2017

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram

Sew4Home

Stylish Baby Receiving Blanket Trio

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Once upon a time there was a beautiful baby with golden curls. Admirers came from far and wide with gifts of soft, cozy blankets; each visitor trying to out-do the one who came before. The beautiful baby smiled and laughed and shook her golden curls. She loved all the blankets, declaring each one to be, "Just Right!" We offer you the Goldilocks of baby receiving blanket options: Baby Bear Decorative Stitch Blanket, Mama Bear Rick Rack Blanket, and Papa Bear Bound Edge Blanket.

You'll find instructions for all three blankets below. They are broken up by project, so you'll know exactly what you need to make just one... or all three!

All the blankets are quick and easy to make, but just like The Three Bears for which they are named, each one adds a little bit extra. Start with the super simple decorative stitching of the Baby Bear blanket, then add an inset trim option for the Mama Bear blanket, or do a full binding on the Papa Bear blanket.

We used a great trio of fabrics from the Ex Libris collection by Allison Glass for Andover Fabrics. Fabric Depot has a great selection of Ex Libris online. The blanket backs feature three different super-soft options: plain Cuddle fleece (thickest), flannel (thinnest), and embossed Cuddle fleece (inbetween-est). 

We love the cuteness of traditional children's prints, but sometimes it's also nice to step outside that box and select fabrics with universal appeal. In fact, research shows that the first color a baby recognizes, at several weeks old, is not pale blue or pink, but red. They will see the full spectrum of colors by about three months of age. Exposing children's senses to a variety of input lets them experience the diversity of their expanding worlds. Different smells, tastes, music, textures, and visuals are all stimulating. 

When working with fleece, remember it has a unique nap that makes it incredibly soft. Because of this, it helps to follow a few special instructions. First, we recommend standard polyester thread as well as a stretch needle to deal with the special characteristics of this fabric (it can be a bit slippery and stretchy). Also, be very careful when pressing. You don't want to press the fleece much, if at all; it will flatten the nap, especially on the embossed fleece options. Finger pressing is usually enough.

All our blankets start with just a yard of the front and back fabrics. We then trim this starting size down by a few inches in order to allow the designs to be centered for the best effect, and to insure each square is straight and true prior to stitching. Each blanket finishes at approximately 34" x 34".

Baby blankets need to hold up to frequent laundering. To help make sure the layers hold together during washing and drying, our blankets feature simple hand-tied knots across the centers. 

Baby Bear Decorative Stitch Blanket

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide 100% cotton fabric for the front of the blanket; we used Historical Fiction in Raspberry from the Ex Libris collection by Alision Glass for Andover Fabrics
  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide fleece or flannel fabric for the back of the blanket: we used Cuddle fleece in White 
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Decorative thread in a contrasting color to front fabric; we used a pale pink
  • Embroidery floss or thin yarn for hand-tying; we used an ivory floss
  • Tapestry needle or similar for hand-tying
  • See-through ruler
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Fabric clips, such as Wonder Clips; optional but helpful for thicker layers

Getting Started

  1. Cut the fabrics for the front and back of the blanket into 34" x 34" squares. 
  2. Center your design motif for a pretty balance side to side and top to bottom. And, make sure all four sides are straight and true so the layers will stitch together smoothly. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Pin the 34" x 34" squares, right sides together, leaving a 12" - 24" opening along one edge for turning.
  2. Sew together, using a ½" seam allowance. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock the seam at either side of 12" x 24" opening. We used our Janome Even Feed foot.
  3. Trim the corners and turn the blanket right side out through the opening. 
  4. Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam and press in place. As mentioned above, be careful with your iron; you don't want to press directly onto the fleece. Pin the opening to secure. 
  5. Edgestitch around all four sides. This closes the opening used for turning. Remember to pivot at each corner. Press.
  6. Select a decorative stitch on your machine, and thread the machine with contrasting thread in the top and thread to best match the back fabric for the back. We used pale pink in the top and white in the bobbin. 
  7. Stitch around all edges of the blanket with a decorative stitch. The decorative stitching should run about ¼" from the original edgestitching. We actually used the edgestitching seam as our guideline. Take special care to make sure the layers don't shift as you sew – you may choose to pin the layers in place along the edge to helo avoid movement. 

    NOTE:
    For more about decorative stitching, read our tutorial on Decorative Stitches.
  8. Mark for the hand-tied knots. We used 8" spacing across the blanket, creating nine ties total. Additional steps are shown below in the Mama Bear instructions.

Mama Bear Rick Rack Blanket

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide 100% cotton fabric for the front of the blanket; we used Bookplate in Petal from the Ex Libris collection by Alision Glass for Andover Fabrics
  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide fleece or flannel fabric for the back of the blanket: we used Flannel Solid in Plum by Robert Kaufman
  • FOUR yards of jumbo 1" rick rack in a color to coordinate with the front fabric; we used a pale yellow rick rack, purchased locally
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Embroidery floss or thin yarn for hand-tying; we used AufiFloss by Auriful in a deep purple
  • Tapestry needle or similar for hand-tying
  • See-through ruler
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Fabric clips, such as Wonder Clips; optional but helpful for thicker layers

Getting Started

  1. Cut the fabrics for the front and back of the blanket into 34" x 34" squares. 
  2. Center your design motif for a pretty balance side to side and top to bottom. And, make sure all four sides are straight and true so the layers will stitch together smoothly.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Starting in the middle of one side (if you have a directional fabric as we did, choose the bottom edge), begin pinning the rick rack to the right side of the front fabric panel. Position the rick rack so the upper curves extend beyond the edge of the fabric, and the center of the rick rack is positioned about ½" inside the edge of the fabric.
  2. At the corners of the fabric, pin the rick rack so a curve is positioned across the corner of the fabric. You'll need to tuck and pin a tiny bit to make a smooth turn. 
  3. When you get back around to your starting point, pin the ends of the rick rack in place so the raw edges extend down toward the edge of the fabric. This way they will be hidden in the seam when you sew the layers together. Try to keep the rick rack's wave pattern intact.
  4. Machine baste the rick rack in place on the front of the blanket. Your seam should run along the center of the rick rack, ½" from the raw edge of the fabric. 
  5. Pin the 34" x 34" squares right sides together, leaving a 12" - 24" opening along one edge for turning. Remember your rick rack will extend beyond the raw edges of the front and back panels all around. 
  6. Sew together, using a ½" seam allowance. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock the seam at either side of 12" x 24" opening. We used a standard Satin Stitch foot, but added a quilt bar to help keep our seam precise. It's also helpful to stitch with the front fabric facing up so you can follow along in the rick rack's basting seam. 
  7. Fold back the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam and press in place.
  8. Turn the blanket right side out and pin the opening closed. 
  9. Edgestitch around all four sides. Again, we recommend working with the front fabric facing up. When working with two different fabric types, the rule of the thumb is to place the "trickier" fabric against the machine's feed dogs. In this case, our "trickier" fabric is the flannel. Remember to pivot at each corner. Press.

Hand tying

  1. Measure for a balanced spacing of ties. Our ties are 8" apart. First measure 8" in from the finished edge of the blanket (not the rick rack) for the outer ties. 
  2. Then, measure from this first set of marks to evenly distribute the inner marks. We used two pins to indicate each set of cross hairs. You should end up with NINE ties total. 
  3. Thread a tapestry needle (or similar large-eyed needle) with an approximate 36" length of embroidery floss. 
  4. Insert the needle from the top through to the back, then come up from the back to the top about ⅛" away from the original insertion point. Leave 2" tails.
  5. Double knot the tails.
  6. Trim backthe tails to approximately 1". 
  7. Repeat at each marked point. 

Papa Bear Bound Edge Blanket

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide 100% cotton fabric for the front of the blanket; we used Geometry in Sunrise from the Ex Libris collection by Alision Glass for Andover Fabrics
  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide fleece or flannel fabric for the back of the blanket: we used Geo Embossed Cuddle in Silver
  • ¾ yard of 44"+ wide 100% cotton fabric for the blanket binding: we used Kona Cotton Solid in Snow
    NOTE: You could save time and use pre-packaged bias tape; it will simply limit the color options and create a narrower binding. If you choose the pre-packaged route, purchase TWO packages of ⅞" double fold bias tape (sometimes called Quilt Binding) or a satin blanket binding.
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Embroidery floss or thin yarn for hand-tying; we used a light gray floss
  • Tapestry needle or similar for hand-tying
  • See-through ruler
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Fabric clips, such as Wonder Clips; optional but helpful for thicker layers

Getting Started

  1. Cut the fabrics for the front and back of the blanket into 34" x 34" squares. 
  2. Center your design motif for a pretty balance side to side and top to bottom. And, make sure all four sides are straight and true so the layers will stitch together smoothly.
  3. From the fabric for the binding, make bias strips. If you're new to this technique, check out our two step-by-step tutorials on binding. One focuses on figuring yardage and attaching, the other is a great overview of binding quilts and throws. Our binding finishes at a 1" width and our blanket finishes at 34" x 34", which meant we needed to create 148" of 4" bias strips. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Place the 34" x 34" front and back layers, wrong sides together. Carefully aligning all four sides so they are perfectly flush. 
  2. Machine baste the layers around all four sides, using a ¼" seam allowance. This basting seam helps keep the layers from shifting during the binding process. We used our Janome Even Feed foot.

Blanket binding with Faux Mitered Corners

  1. We chose a faux miter corner to keep the blanket construction quick and easy. For other options, review one or both of the binding tutorials linked above. With this faster technique, our only caution is to pin and press liberally and be very careful with your stitching. Unlike more traditional quilt bindings, which is stitched down in two steps, this technique simply slips the binding over the raw edge and stitches both sides in one step. People do it all the time, and you can do it too, just go slowly and carefully.
    NOTE: For more information, we also have a full step-by-step tutorial on faux mitered corners. 
  2. Starting in the middle of one side of the blanket (if your fabric is directional, choose the bottom edge), and working on the front of the blanket, slip the folded and pressed bias binding over the basted edges. Be very careful that your middle fold is sits right up against on the blanket's edge and your binding is even on both sides. Pin from the starting point to first corner. 
  3. Bring your blanket to your machine and starting in the middle (where you started pinning), stitch the binding to blanket. Stay as close to the edge of the binding as you can, but make sure you are catching both the front and back of the binding. We are still using our Janome Even Feed foot, adding the edge guide to keep a super straight seam.
  4. Sew to the corner and stop. Back-tack to lock your seam.
  5. Remove your blanket from under the needle and clip your threads, but do not cut your binding.
  6. Fold a pleat in the corner to make a 45˚ angle. 
  7. Encase the new side's raw edge with the binding. Pin and press to the next corner. 
  8. Return to your machine. Drop your needle at the end of your original line of stitching, stitch into the corner, pivot at the diagonal fold, then stitch down the new edge. This way, your line of stitching around each corner will appear uninterrupted.
  9. Repeat these same steps at each corner.
  10. When you return to your starting point, tuck under the raw edge of the binding, match bottom edges and match your stitching line to finish. 
  11. Press, being careful to avoid the fleece when ironing the bias strip.
  12. Mark for the hand-tied knots. We used 8" spacing across the blanket, creating nine ties total. Additional steps are shown above in the Mama Bear instructions.
  13. For super flat and secure corners, hand stitch the corner folds and the fold where the binding ends.

Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (8)

L Thomason said:
L Thomason's picture

Are babies startled when they first see colors?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ L Thomason - none of the research we read specially talked about that question. However, it seems to be a evolution from a world of light and dark, black and white into a world of colors with red being the first of the colors to stand out. It would seem babies are more intrigued and interested than startled by the new sights. 

Sandra W said:
Sandra W's picture

I thought that babies didn't see color at first--that is why many play mats etc. feature black and white. B/w lets them see shapes.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sandra W - Yes, you're right - as we mention above, babies are several weeks old before they begin to see color. But that first color, research shows, is red. 

Steph T said:
Steph T's picture

Should the last blanket (bound edge) have hand ties in the middle as well, or is it not necessary?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Steph T - we suggest hand ties for all three blanket options. The step is there, it's just kind of buried - we showed the full hand-tie instructions only on the Mama Bear blanket.

Ghoncheh said:
Ghoncheh's picture

Really the first color is red?? Maybe next year I have a baby, and I'll sew this blanket for my honey

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Ghoncheh - yes, red is the first color doctors have determined babies see - when they are several weeks old/ Research shows they will see the full spectrum of colors by the time they reach three months. So red is a good choice.

Add new comment

*Sew4Home reserves the right to restrict comments that don’t relate to the article, contain profanity, personal attacks or promote personal or other business.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.