Baby Blankets…Let’s Sew Some!

Ok, I know this isn’t an alteration, but I just have to tell you about these blankets that I make for every baby shower that I go to! I love to add a homemade touch to the registry items that are asked for.

I know the new thinking surrounding baby blankets. Many new moms don’t think they are safe to put in the crib with their baby. However, there are so many other great uses for them. They can cover their baby’s stroller and car seat with them. They can put them flat on the floor for the infant to lay on. They are a good protector for any floor they have when they travel or go somewhere on a play date. Then, when the child is old enough, they can snuggle with them when they fall asleep on the couch or in their big beds.

Baby blankets…let’s make some!

They are so simple and fast, you can whip up two or three in an hour.

I first got the idea when my mother-in-law came to the hospital after the birth of our first daughter, 24 years ago, with this blanket:

baby blanket from Jerry, #1031

Aren’t the ducks cute?

We all thought I was having a boy, hence the blue and yellow.

I absolutely loved the blanket and knew that I had to make some for everyone I knew!

But, see how she went to all the trouble of turning down the edge of the blanket and hemming it?

hem from Jerry's baby blanket, #1030

I figured out a much easier way to make them.

I can’t tell you how many people still come up to me today and tell me how wonderful the blankets were and how their kids dragged them around until they fell apart.

That’s a sign of a good gift.

I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking you can just go out and buy some just like these, right?


These are way better.

Everything is better: the thickness, weight, pliability, durability and softness.

You couldn’t ask for more.

So, let’s take a closer look at the process and some tips along the way.

I love to make them out of flannel, but you could make them out of all sorts of other cottons and linens. I’ve even made them out of Minky and other soft fabrics.

I wait until there’s a really great sale on flannel and I buy a bunch of it.

I select some fabric suitable for boys, and some for girls.

I buy 2 1/2 yards for each blanket.

The flannel is usually 45″ wide, so I purchase 1 1/4 yards (or 45″) for each side of the blanket, because I like them to be a square shape when they are finished.

Don’t worry if your measurements are not a perfect square.

Go with what you have. In other words, if the fabric you chose is only 42″ wide, cut your length 42″ long. This will give you the same amount in both directions to include the seam allowances.

A square shape makes them easier to fold and these dimensions are a perfect size for baby.

First, prewash and dry your fabric because flannel is usually made of 100% cotton and it almost always shrinks some.

Next, take that 2 1/2 yard piece and cut it in half across the width. Now, you have two pieces that should measure the same. In this case, both pieces are 45″ wide and 45″ long.

cut baby blanket fabric across the width, 1028

Then, open up the 2 pieces of fabric and lay them right sides together on top of each other like this:

full piece of fabric for baby blanket, 1027

Smooth out the fabric.

Trim the edges where they don’t line up well.

Stick at least a few pins in on every side of the fabric.

You may want to put more pins in than that, but I figure you need a few so that when you lift it up off the ground or table, it doesn’t shift on you.

pinning edges for baby blanket, 1026

Always put those pins in perpendicular to the edge, that way they’ll be easier to remove as you sew along. And you’ll be less likely to jam your needle if you forget to remove one.

(Most of you already know that, but I do have many readers who are just learning to sew.)

Don’t start stitching at a corner, start sewing on some area along a side. It is much easier to turn the fabric later if your opening is not right on a corner.

start sewing along a side of the baby blanket, 1025

It doesn’t matter what amount of seam allowance you use, but I would suggest at least 3/8″ or wider.

Sew around all the edges, pivoting at the corners, and leave about 8 inches open on one side. I will explain how to pivot below.

sew around the edges leaving an opening, baby blanket, 1024

Trim the corners so that you’ll have less bulk in that area when you turn the blanket right side out.

trim corners of baby blanket, 1023

Press the seam allowances back at the opening like this:

press back opening of baby blanket, 1022

Press both sides of the opening:

press both sides of opening, baby blanket, 1020

I press these edges now because it will be easier than pressing them in a later step.

Next, take an item you have around the house, like this small screwdriver….

screwdriver to poke the edges out, baby blanket, 1029

and stick it inside the blanket and use it to pop out the corners of the blanket:

corners popped out on baby blanket, 1019

Turn the blanket right side out and press the edges nicely:

press the edges of baby blanket, 1018

Next, topstitch around the edges of the blanket.

Whatever seam allowance you used, make sure your topstitching is done using a narrower seam allowance so that when you go over the 8″ opening, the machine stitching will close it in and you won’t have to hand stitch anywhere.

In other words, if you used a 1/2″ seam allowance on the blanket, topstitch 3/8″ away from the edge.

Again, begin topstitching in the middle of a side, not at a corner because it looks nicer to not have the thread tails at a corner.

stitch to close the opening, baby blanket, 1017

Now, let me show you how to pivot.

When you get to a corner, be sure and stop before you get to it.

If you are topstitching a half inch from the edge, then stop a half inch from the upcoming edge.

Keep the needle down in the fabric:

topstitch the edges of baby blanket, 1016

Lift the presser foot and turn the fabric 90 degrees toward the next side you want to topstitch.

Put the presser foot down and continue sewing.

continue topstitching baby blanket, 1015

When you’re all finished, backstitch at the end of the topstitching.

Your corners should look like this:

when you're finished, your corners will look great, baby blanket, 1014

Your blanket is finished. You might need to press it if it got wrinkled in the process.

That’s it! That’s all there is to it!

Whip up several this afternoon and keep some on hand:

four baby blankets folded up and finished, 1032

You’ll make baby and Mama so happy.