Monday, March 8, 2010

Sew Simple

My Sister-In-Law Becky welcomed a new little bambino into their family last week, so of course a baby gift was in order. I have been making these fleece/satin blankets lately for baby gifts, they seem to be well received and are soft, cozy and easy to make. So easy in fact that I'd definitely call them a beginner sewing project (none of my projects go much beyond beginner anyway). So since so many people seem to like them I thought I'd try my hand at a baby blanket tutorial, or taggie tutorial if you will. I'm showing you how I made the little taggie/blanket thing, but you'd follow the exact same steps to make a bigger blanket.

You can use whatever fabric you like for this, but for me lately these have been my choices. I am in LOVE with this flannel backed satin from Jo-Ann's. I've never seen it anywhere else, and because it's backed in flannel it keeps the satin from slipping and sliding and stays nicely while you pin and sew. And I've also found some cute polar fleece that is soft and cuddly. So I used both of these to make a bigger blanket, and always save myself enough fabric to make a taggie for the baby as well. I know I didn't make any of this up, I just wanted to show how I do my version.

First you need a piece of satin that has about a 2 inch (at least 2 inches, on the actual blanket I had more like 4-5 inches, the more you leave the bigger your border can be) border around your fleece.
Put the fabric flannel to flannel with the satin on the bottom.

Then I simply fold the flannel over twice to give myself a nice edge and begin pinning. This picture below is of the first fold, the second fold actually goes up over the lip of the fleece.

I start in the middle and pin to one side, and then the next until an entire side of my rectangular blanket is pinned.

Then I move to the direct opposite side and do the exact same thing.

Do this process again until all four sides have been pinned into place.

Now corners. What I am about to show you is probably as unprofessional as sewing instructions come. Did you know my Mom was a Home Ec teacher before she got married and had a family? So if I would have asked her there would probably be a much better way to do this, but this works for me, I'm not too worried about my methods. I keep meaning to ask her, but just haven't yet, any advice Mom? Maybe I don't really want to know that I've been doing this all wrong :)

So what I do is just tuck the corner back into itself and pin it on a diagonal. I say as long as all four corners look the same then the method doesn't entirely matter.

Keep going until your whole blanket is pinned, now it's time for the "tags."

I picked out some coordinating ribbon for this part, and bought different sizes, colors and textures even. Then you simply cut your ribbon to size, fold in half, and pin them in place.

I "eyeball" everything, but for you I pulled out a tape measure and tried to make it more exact. But basically you just put your ribbons (folded in half) into the border of your blanket, and pin them in place so they stay put until you sew them down.

Now that all of your tags are pinned into place you are ready to sew.

I always start with my corners, making sure to back stitch on the edge of the corner so that your stitches don't come undone.

Then you just continue around your blanket sewing on the very edge of the satin, make sure that the satin is going through the machine though or your blanket won't hold together.

See, sew simple, right? And the results are cute, and not even all that expensive if you use coupons or watch for the fabric to go on sale. I've used flannel for this as well, but kind of like the cushiness of the fleece.

So hopefully this was helpful and fun, and don't be afraid, just get your sewing machine out and give this a try. I didn't figure out how to "sew" until my Mom (a fabulous seamstress) moved to Spain for three years. I found myself in a new house that needed pillows and curtains, and no Mom to help. Lucky for me she had left her sewing machine in my care, and with the encouragement of my friend Betsy I tackled the bobbin, and learned how to fight my sewing fears and try my hand at making a few simple things. I still make simple things, clothes frighten me, but luckily my Mom is no longer in the Canary Islands, so she's here to help if I get stuck. Good luck, let me know if you give this a try!


Mandy said...

I love that you just referred to my mom as your good friend Betsy. I am surprised you didn't call her your BFF like every other female in my family! Very cute blankets by the way- Allie loves a good tag blanket.

Angela said...

So, what are the tags for? Just decoration? They're very cute. Good tutorial.

Nancy said...

Ang- the tags are for the baby to play with, suck on, hold onto, etc. You'll see when Jane gets a little bit bigger.

pam said...

Your blankets and taggies are all cute, and the corners look fine. I am just glad that you are sewing and enjoying it as I couldn't get any of you girls interested when you were young. Keep up the good work. Also, glad you had Betsy and didn't you say Melodie M. to help you while I was gone?

Megan B ♥ said...

Sew simple and sew cute too! Thanks!

Becky said...

Snazzy tutorial, Nancy! I know how much we loved being on the receiving end of that blanket/taggie.

Sarah said...

very cute nancy! you make it look so easy. i have the hardest time squaring up silky fabric. why should that be so hard?

kimber said...

Ummm, did I mention I'm having a girl in May?:) JK, I just need to get a sewing machine and give it a go.

Dave & Mandi said...

Those are adorable!! You are so-o creative, and you make it look very easy...yet for the sewing impaired (like me) that would be just about impossible!

MarySue said...

Would you believe I saw a blanket like this last week (flannel both sides) and I wanted to make one but was stymied by the corners. Wow, Nancy to my rescue. Much thanks.

Jacque said...


all of those are so darling! (i feel like my mom when i use the word "darling.") ;)

i like how you sew the ribbons facing in, too. haven't seen that before!

Steph said...

They are all so cute and you are so talented! Love them all!

I still need a sewing lesson!

Angie - said...

Love it! Come link your cute tute at my party: Thursday's Treasures!!

jenjen said...

What a cute project. I love the ribbons!

Thanks so much for linking up to my party! I really appreciate it!


Alison said...

Just wanted to let you know that I featured this idea on my blog with a roundup of other fun baby ideas, getting ready for Baby Week at Oopsey Daisy. Here is the link:

Thanks for sharing! Have a great day!


brittney said...

Thanks so much for all these great ideas =) Gives me something to keep busy with while my husband is deployed. Very nice blog and I enjoy following it. Thanks again ;) Brittney

Adrienne said...

What does the back of the blanket look like? I was going to make a blanket using silky binding around the edges but like how you do it better. But I just wish I knew what the back looked like.