My recent fabric project is a little more than playing this week. (no nail guns, I promise, just real sewing equipment) I’m working on baby gifts for my husband’s pharmacy technician who is about to have her baby pretty much any minute now.  These are very simple projects, easy for beginners, great for shower gifts, and end up appearing much more difficult than what they are.  They simply allow the fabric to be the main event.

I chose a few prints from Monaluna’s Free Range organic collection for Birch Fabrics.  Dana loved them and they will be perfect for her farm theme baby boy room.

free range monaluna

For this project, I’m making a baby blanket/play mat.  One side is organic cotton and the other is soft minky dimple dot.  The measurements should end up about 30″x 36″.  It will be great either for a stroller blanket or a play mat for a floor.

*note to start…NEVER iron the minky dot directly, it will likely melt.  You can iron the fabric once attached, but you tend to flatten the dimples a little*

I cut each of the 4 fabrics 10″ by 31″.  This allows for a half inch seam allowance everywhere.

10 by 31

I wanted to figure out the best arrangement for these four.  It was an easy decision to separate the tractors and the barns far from each other since they are such small and repetitive prints.  Then I played with the placement until I decided upon the following.

arrangement

Time to collect my favorite trusty amateur tool and get to work.

tools

I don’t use pins when I sew strips of fabric, I just keep an eye to make sure they stay lined up.

sewing

Once all the strips are sewn together, it’s time to iron them nice and flat.

ironing

I like to iron my seams open for this one.  It’s because when I do top sewing for added detail on BOTH sides of the seam, there’s some fabric there to sew together.

ironing seams open

I used the seam going down the middle and lined it up with the inside edge of the presser foot.  I like to be very exact with measurements, haha, if there’s a line on the machine, that’s my measurement!  Then repeated for the other side.

top stitch

This is how it ends up. It’s probably not necessary, but I like the detail.

top stitch result

All top stitching and blanket top complete.

top layer done

Next I cut the dimple dot fabric.  I find the most difficulty with this part because of the extra wide width, the stretchy knit material, and the close to impossibility to keep it all lined up.  I do find working on the hardwood floor the best because instead of bunching it slides.

dimple dot

The dimple dot fabric was cut a little larger than the blanket top for a little give, if needed (and I usually need it).  Lay them right side together.

lining it up

Next comes the pinning.  The lots and lots and lots of pinning.  More pins means less stretching.  Take your time.  Take it seriously.  I start by pinning the seams on both sides.

pin seams

Then the middle of the seams.

pin middle of seams

And then every couple of inches or so.

pin all around

Then it’s time to sew and pull out all those pins as you go.  Sew slowly, with the minky dot down.  Leave just enough space to get your hand into so that you can pull it right side out.

leave a gap

Then trim all the extra minky dot, but leave it a little longer at the opening.

cut excess

Trim the corners.

trim corners

Then turn right sides out.

turn right side out

Use your finger or a poking device to sharpen corners.  Mind the opening in the blanket.

pinch closed

That opening is the side I begin to iron first, starting at the edge so that I have a good idea of how to keep it nice and even.

iron beginning at the side where the opening is

Then I tuck in and fold the excess at the gap so that it closes evenly.

opening

And then iron it straight.

iron opening

Time to go back to the machine.  You could pin that opening closed, but I never do. I decided for the first time to do a zig zag stitch just to make the edge look fancy.

zigzag

I liked that better than the usual straight top stitch I’ve done in the past.

zigzag2

Doesn’t the contrast between the saturated colors of the prints and the white dimple dot minky look so pretty.

both sides

And here it is!

blanket finished

Next I just have to make the burp cloths and bag! But I’ll save that for next week.

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  2. […] make a baby blanket as a baby gift for my husband’s coworker, taking step by step photos which I then edited and uploaded and wrote about for my fabric blog […]