Intro: Portable Pillow/Blanket Set
This pillow is very easy to make and can be useful in many situations. It has a special pocket to hold a matching blanket. The original idea was for something to keep warm at football games; the pillow could be a seat cushion. Since this was the original plan, mine is blue and red for the Buffalo Bills (yeah, yeah, I know...). This could be used for any cool-weather games and you can customize the colors to your favorite team. They also sell fuzzy fabric with team logos on it (but these fabrics are more expensive).
Other ideas for this set include (but definitely not limited to!):
- Dorm room or small apartment - store a spare blanket for cold nights or company
- Car - You should always have a blanket in your car just in case you get caught in the snow. Alternatively, this could be good for passengers falling asleep on a long ride.
- Sleepovers - I've included handles so it's very portable!
- Picnics - Again, it's portable so bring it with you and you'll have a picnic blanket and a cushion to sit on!
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
This project can be customized in many ways to fit your needs. I will try to mention where things can easily be changed. You can make it a bit easier by just buying a small blanket (or if you have one already) - you'll still need most of the same supplies, just less fabric.
1. Fabric: I used some plain fuzzy fabric, which was $3-4/yard. The patterned fabric is a bit more and the team logo fabric runs around $11/yard. I got 1.5 yards of red and 1.5 yards of blue. How much fabric you buy is really up to you. The red was entirely used for the blanket and it turned out a decent size. You'll need about 1 yard for the pillow/case piece (I had some leftover).
2. The cushion: My original plan was to use a piece of memory foam but they don't sell it at walmart anymore. While in the store, I decided a pillow form would be the cheapest without using loose stuffing. You could really use any type of foam or stuffing for the pillow part.
3. Thread: Some thread to match. I just used white on the border and black on the pillow because I don't like filling up my limited storage with lots of colors of thread, but it would be better to get thread the same color as your fabric.
4. Pins: I didn't have enough to go all the way around the blanket, so I had to pause and sew and then pin the rest.
5. Scissors: Nice sewing scissors are always nice but you'll at least need something that will cut through the fabric.
6. Something to sew it together: A sewing machine is useful for this part (I steal my mom's all the time). You could use a needle and thread if you want to, but I wouldn't recommend trying to finish the edges of the blanket this way unless you are really bored.
7. Ribbon: (or something for the edge of the blanket) I used 2" wide ribbon. I got 2 rolls of 12 feet each and wasn't left with much extra. You could use something different to make the edge of the blanket prettier. Alternatively, you could save money by skipping the edging and just use a basic hem.
8. Buttons: I didn't add any but you could use a button to create a closure at the top of the blanket pocket or you could use one in the center of the pillow to pull it together (think like buttons on a couch). I know that they have huge needles to do that, but you might be able to get by with a regular one if you wanted to attempt it.
9. Zipper: Another one that I didn't do, you could add a zipper closure on the blanket pocket. You could also use a zipper on the last seam of the pillow - this would allow you to remove the pillow piece to wash the pillowcase.
10. Decorations: You could embroider or applique a design on the outside (like a team logo). Beads, sequins, the possibilities are endless.
Step 2: Sew the Blanket
If you are going to use a store-bought blanket, you can skip this step.
1. I used fabric the exact size of the blanket, so I didn't need to measure or cut anything. If you have bigger fabric, you'll need to determine how big you want your blanket and cut it. Just remember that if you're using the same piece for the pillow, you'll need about 1 yard for the pillow.
Note: If you're not using a decorative edging, you can just use a basic hem. I'm not going to go into detail here, but if that's your plan, the rest of this step can be skipped.
2. Take your ribbon and start near a corner. You probably don't want the edge on a corner because the edge would be more difficult to finish. Make sure the nice edge is facing out and fold the ribbon in half over the edge. It should cover any rough edges. Pin the ribbon down.
3. Pinning the corners: To make a nice looking corner, fold the ribbon straight off the edge and hold close to the corner of the fabric (pin here if you'd like). Fold the ribbon down along the new edge so that the ribbon is perpendicular to the edge and fold it in half. There should be a fold at a 45 degree angle, try to line this up with the inner corner. You may need to do a little maneuvering to get this right.
4. Continue along until you run out of ribbon or pins.
5. Sew: Stitch the ribbon on using a machine. You should try to get as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible but make sure you aren't missing the ribbon on the other side! To be safe, I kept the right edge of the foot lined up with the fold in the ribbon. This way, I got all of the stitching a uniform distance from the edge. There is some loose ribbon but it's ribbon so it looks nice anyways.
6. Stitching Corners: Sew right up to the corner. Make sure that the fold doesn't get moved by the foot (leave the pins in to make sure things don't move). When you get to that 45-degree fold, stop and put the needle in the down position (if your machine has that ability). Then lift the foot and turn the fabric to move in the new direction. Move the needle back up into the regular (up) position and resume stitching.
7. When you get to the end of the ribbon: If you have a long enough piece to go all the way around the blanket, you won't need to worry about transitioning between two pieces.
- First, stitch all the way to the end of the first piece. Don't worry about making it look nice, we'll cover it up.
- Fold over the edge of the new piece. I stitched it but you really don't have to.
- Line up the new ribbon over the first ribbon, so that only nice edges show.
- Pin down the new piece and continue as normal
8. When you get all the way around: Cut the end of the ribbon beyond the start of the first ribbon. Use the method in number 7 to finish the edge. You'll want to stitch the folded edge before you sew this ribbon all the way on.
Now your blanket should be complete!
Step 3: Cut Fabric for the Pillow Case
1. Lay the corner of the fabric on a flat surface. Put the pillow form on the corner, almost aligned with the corner
2. You want a little bit extra over the edge for sewing the seam. Cut around the pillow leaving room for a seam (make sure you lift the fabric up to the existing seam of the pillow and then add seam allowance.
3. Lay this piece on top of the fabric and cut another the same size.
Step 4: Pin the Pillow Case
1. Put the cut pieces on either side of the pillow form.
2. Pin 3 sides as close to the pillow as you can. Be careful not to pin the pillow form (you're going to take it out!)
3. Leave the last side open so that you can remove the pillow and so that you can turn it right-side-out after sewing.
Step 5: Cut and Pin the Pocket
1. Fold up the blanket to the size of the pillow. Lay it on top of the pillow.
2. Lay the fabric on top of the blanket. Line it up with one or two sides and let the rest hang off.
3. Go around the already-pinned pillowcase and line up the new fabric with the edge. Take out the pins as you hold it all in place and replace the pins so that they go through all 3 layers.
4. Continue all around the 3 sides that you have pinned. Try to keep it somewhat tight. You'll want it to compress the blanket a little to make the whole thing smaller but you don't want it so tight that you can't get the blanket in and out.
5. Cut off the extra from this last piece of fabric.
6. Try to make the corners look nice. I had to fold it over since my blanket was so thick, but if your blanket is smaller it might be different.
Step 6: Sew the Pillow Case Together
1. Remove the pillow and blanket.
2. Stitch along where the pins are and remove the pins.
3. Clip the extra fabric close to the seam.
4. If you'd like, you can finish this seam with a zigzag stitch.
5. Turn the pillow case right-side-out. The bigger piece (where the blanket goes) should be on the outside. The seam will be in this pocket.
6. Put the pillow in the pillow pocket. Fold up the blanket and put it in the pocket just to double-check the size.
Step 7: Make Handles
You can skip this step if you don't want handles. Or you could do something different for handles.
1. Cut two pieces for handles. Mine were about 10" long by a couple inches wide.
2. Fold each in half and stitch along the edge.
3. Turn each handle right-side-out. It helps if you use a pencil eraser to push the fabric through.
Step 8: Finish the Open Edge
1. Fold over the open edge of the blanket pocket twice to form a hem. Pin in place.
2. Pin the open edge of the pillow case so that each edge folds in towards each other (see second picture). *Note: This seam could also be done by hand, I decided to do it with the machine. You could also insert a zipper here so that the pillow could be removed.
3. Put the edges of the handles into each seam so that the end is hidden.
4. Stitch all of the way around to finish the hem and the seam. I had to move the pillow all over the place to get this to work, but I did it. If you're having problems with this, it could always be done by hand.
Step 9: Keep Warm!
Now cuddle up with some cocoa, lean on your pillow, and cover up with your blanket. When you're done, pack it all back up!