A lot of people I know are pregnant right now. I was at Joann's Fabric and Craft store and happened to look at the fabric quarters. My mind flashed back to a tutorial I had found online, Dana from MADE:TUTORIAL: Faux Chenille Blanket . I thought, why not make a mini blanket (binky) for a little baby? You only needed about 4-5 layers of fabric, and since each fabric quarter at Joann was $2, it would only cost about $8.
This mini blanket could act as a seat cover, a place mat, a burp cloth, etc. if you get the basics down. For this blanket, I made it in brown and blue for a baby boy.
Time took to prep the fabric : 5 minutes
Time took to sew : 3-4 hours
Time took to cut: 1-2 hours
Time took to add bias tape: 30 minutes
Time took to wash/dry: 1 hour
TOTAL TIME: 5 hours - 7 hours
note: This idea isn't originally mine. I saw it on another website (MADE) and decided to share my version of it to all of you lovely makers.
note note: You do not need to pre-wash the fabric. It will all shrink up together later.
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Step 1: Materials
The materials are quite simple. You will need the folllowing:
- Fabric scissors
- Chenille cutter (VERY HELPFUL if you have this. Saves a lot of time. Unfortunately, I don't have one.)
- Iron (optional)
- Long ruler (at least 25 inches or more) (not pictured)
- Pins and/or safety pins
- 4 (or 5 if you want it to be really fluffy) different fabric quarters (8x21 inches, 100% cotton) One for the back side (a nice print) and 3 coordinating colors EXPECT TO LOSE AN INCH OR SO OF FABRIC ON EACH SIDE
- Thread (1 long piece of contrasting thread and 1-2 spools of coordinating thread)
- Rotary cutter (optional, but helpful)
- Fabric marker/chalk
- Sewing machine
- Serger (optional)
- Dryer marchine (not pictured)
- 1/2 inch double folded bias tape (not pictured)
- A lot of time
Step 2: Layering the Fabric
Actually, before this step, I serged the sides. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SERGE IT. It's a waste of time. The fabrics shift in the sewing process, and there is really no point in serging it.
With your four different fabric quarters, place the nice fabric (the one that will show in the back once the blanket is finished) face down. Lay the second layer on top. Since plain colors don't have a wrong/right side, it doesn't matter which way you put it on. Place the second and third layer in the same fashion. Ironing the 4 layers will make the fabric stick together very lightly.
Step 3: Marking the Diagonal/first Line
Now you will want to mark the first line of the blanket.
IF YOU HAVE A SHORT 12 INCH RULER
Carefully turn the four layers over so that the first layer (pretty side) is facing up towards you. Taking a contrasting thread, place the end on the corner of the four pieces of fabric. Hold this end down. Pull the thread to the opposite corner, making a diagonal. This will act as a guide to make sure that you are drawing the line straight. Place your ruler side on the diagonal and draw the line following the string.
IF YOU HAVE A LONG RULER
Draw a diagonal from one corner to the opposite corner on the right side of the layers (the one you want to be on the back, the non-chenille side)
Pin spontaneously on the layers. It will help the shifting of the fabric in the sewing process.
Step 4: Sewing the Lines
Take your four layers and on the RIGHT SIDE with the line you just drew, sew down as straight as you can starting from one corner. This is the most important line you will sew because it will act as a guide for your other line, and that line will act as a guide for the next line, and so forth.
At the end of the line (the other corner), DO NOT CUT THE STRING. Instead, take off the foot, turn the blanket around, and sew down again. Line up the side of the foot with the first line. (Refer to the 3rd picture)
Repeat this until you run out of space.
Step 5: **only If Your Bobbin/spool Runs Out of Thread**
If you run out of bobbin thread, or your spool goes empty, cut the threads, rewind the bobbin, and set your stitch length to 1 and sew from about an inch or so from where you left off. This will secure the threads to make sure that it doesn't get undone in the dryer.
Once you get past where you left off, you can switch your thread length back to normal and keep sewing.
Step 6: Sewing the Other Half
I finished sewing the first half, so I cut the threads. Don't worry about the imperfections on the wrong side, it will be covered up later.
Starting from the middle again, line up the side of the presser foot with the middle line and sew down. Continue this like you did in step 4.
Step 7: Cleaning It Up
Now that you finished sewing all the lines, you'll want to clean up the sides before you start cutting the layers.
IF YOU HAVE A ROTARY CUTTER
Place your long ruler on one side, and cut off the excess fabric. Now using this straight line as a guide, line up the black line on your ruler with the clean cut edge. Cut down this line. Repeat for the other sides.
IF YOU HAVE SCISSORS
Take your ruler and line it up with the side. Draw a line where you want to cut. Repeat for the rest of the sides. Now cut the excess off. It won't be a perfect clean cut, but it will be covered up later with the bias tape.
Step 8: Cutting the Layers to Create the Chenille Look
IF YOU HAVE A CHENILLE CUTTER
Starting from one corner and with the wrong side facing up, wiggle the pointy end in-between the first (pretty side) layer and the other three layers. Slide the cutter down the "lane." Repeat for the other lanes (in-between two sewing lines)
IF YOU HAVE SCISSORS
Starting from one corner and with the wrong side facing up, wiggle one blade of the scissors in between the pretty side and the other three layers. Carefully cut down the lane. You should now have 3 layers cut, and one layer still intact. The layer still intact is the back of the blanket.
Continue cutting down all the "lanes." It will take a long time (it took about 1.5 hours for me), so I suggest that you "watch" an old movie (but don't actually watch while cutting, you may slip and make a cut on the bottom layer), or listen to some music. I watched my mom's exercise video because it didn't really require me to look up all the time.
Tip: It will help if you put the hand you aren't cutting with on the bottom of the fabric to make sure that your scissors aren't piercing through the back fabric. This happened to me, so I had to patch it up with fusible webbing and another piece of the fabric.
Step 9: Rounding the Corners & Serging the Sides - OPTIONAL
If you wish not to round the corners, you may skip this step.
I don't know about you, but rounding the corners makes the blanket look less harsh. I folded the blanket in half so one corner lined up with another corner and placed an old pringles cap and laid it down. I cut it using a rotary cutter. I took one of the rounded corners and lined it up with the other corners so that all the corners would look the same.
If this is confusing, just look at the pictures.
Then I serged the sides so that all the loose threads wouldn't come undone.
Step 10: Attaching the Bias Tape
You can use homemade bias tape (amazing tutorial on how HERE but I drew 2 inch strips instead, for my 1 inch bias tape maker), or you can buy the pretty ones in fabric stores. I made my bias tape using my new 1-inch single folded bias tape maker. I folded the bias tape over again to make 1/2 inch double folded bias tape. Click HERE if you want to learn more about bias tape.
I opened up the bias tape and place the longer side on the bottom, and the shorter side on the top. I did this so that when I top-stitch the top, I will be guaranteed to catch the bottom fold.
You can pin the bias tape down, but I decided to baste it to be extra secure. I don't have pictures of the basting.
Top stitch as close to the edge as possible.
Step 11: Washing and Drying the Blanket
Instead of washing the blanket (I didn't want to waste detergent and electricity), I soaked the blanket in some warm water and swished it around for about 2 minutes. I towel dried the blanket, then threw it in the dryer (with the dryer balls hehe) with the following settings. If you can't read it from the picture, I put in deicates, normal dry level, and low temperature. I did this two times until I was satisfied with how it looked. REMEMBER, THE MORE TIME IT IS DRIED, THE FLUFFIER THE BLANKET WILL BE!
Step 12: Admiring the Blanket
Finally, after long hours, you are finished! It will be very soft, and don't worry about it being over-frayed, since the lines were cut on the bias, it won't fray as much.
There are so many possibilities you can choose to use it for after you make this. You can use it as a piano seat cover, a burp cloth, a binky, a throw blanket (if you make it larger), and so much more! Although it takes a lot of time, the finished product is worth it.
Have fun and good luck!