Wednesday, July 11, 2012

reversible flannel receiving blankets with decorative stitching...

I decided to start my baby sewing with some simple flannel receiving blankets.  

They sell receiving blankets in the store for pretty cheap, but I found that most of them weren't very soft.  Plus, I like to buy flannel when it's on sale, so I already had a couple of cute prints on hand.

This is a REALLY easy project, too--perfect for beginners.  And you get to use some of those decorative stitches on your machine!  (I always want to play around with them, but never have a reason to...)

To make one of these little blankets, you will need:

1 yard of flannel for the front
1 yard of co-ordinating flannel for the back
thread (preferably in a fun, contrasting color)
rotary cutter or scissors
sewing machine
small round bowl or plate

I started by pre-washing my fabric.  Some people do it, others don't.  You decide.  I like to get the shrinkage out of the way.  

Next, cut your fabrics into squares.  Since your flannel is 44" wide and 36" (1 yard) long, ideally you would end up with 36 x 36" cuts...but oftentimes you'll find they cut your yardage very crooked at the cut counter.  And if you pre-washed, you'll have some shrinkage.  So once I squared up my fabrics, each of my blankets were more like 32 x 32"--some a little smaller, some a little bigger.  (You can really make these whatever size or shape you want.  I just read online that 34-36" squares are good for swaddling, so I kind of went that route.)

Okay--so you should have 2 squares of flannel cut to the same size.  Make sure they are right-sides together.  Take your little bowl or plate and place it in the corner...

Now use your rotary cutter to trace around the bowl and round off the edge.  If you don't have a rotary cutter, just trace the curve with a marker and trim it off with your scissors.  Repeat for each corner.

Pin your two layers together, then head to your sewing machine and straight stitch all the way around using 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a 5" gap for turning.

Clip all of your curved corners to reduce bulk.

Reach through your 5" gap, turn the fabrics right-side out, and poke out the corners. Use your iron to press the seams nice and flat, making sure the edges of your gap are pressed evenly with the rest of the seam allowance.

Now we'll top stitch around the entire perimeter to close that gap and finish off the blanket.  You could just straight stitch...but that's boring!  Like I said, how often do you get to use those cute decorative stitches that come with so many sewing machines?  Choose a zig zag, scallop, or other fun pattern just to add a little interest.  (If you're unsure about what decorative stitches your machine can do, bust out your machine manual!)

And if you are going to go to all the trouble of a decorative stitch, make sure you use a contrasting color of thread so the pattern really pops.

Now you can make a whole slew of cute little reversible blankets for a baby on-the-way.  Plus, you could use your flannel scraps to embellish a burp cloth and make a gift set for a baby shower!

** P.S. Don't forget to enter the Ivy Lane Accessories giveaway HERE. **  
There will be TWO winners...and the odds are looking good!  Ends 7/13/12.
(And the shop owner just added some cute new styles...including chevron!)

Fabric sources:
Monkey print--Joann
Orange dots--Walmart
Aqua circles/dots--Joann
Turquoise dots--Walmart
Elephant print--Joann
Brown lattice--Joann
Bike (Michael Miller)
Gray (Robert Kauffman)


  1. Very cute. I especially like the bike fabric. The most expensive fabric like Robert Kaufman is so nice to cut and sew with too, isn't it? Sadly my machine is very utilitarian and doesn't have many decorative stitches, but you have inspired me to fiddle around with it a bit more and see what I can do. I have a baby blanket to make for my neighbor's new granddaughter!

  2. What beautiful prints! I've been making some double-sided fleece blankets for a customer. My machine is a little older and doesn't have the cutesy stitches, but I had fun using a new one. Now, I think I may need another trip to the fabric store. :-)

    *stopping by from tatertots&jello*

  3. This is such a great tutorial!! :) I love the fabrics and the decorative stitching really finishes them off! Thanks so much for linking up - I featured you today!

  4. thanks so much for the inspiration, i never thought of trying out all the random stitches on my sewing machine! pics of my attempts are here -

  5. Thank you so much for the great tutorial!! I made a couple of these for my sister-in-law and she loved them! I wrote about my endeavor (and linked back to your post) at:

    Thanks again!

  6. Just made 3 of them! So cute. My first time using the fancy stitches. I am more of a beginner and mine turned out great. Thank you so much!

  7. Love these! The use of great coordinating fabrics on the back is perfect. Thanks for the tutorial!

    I have one question for you: I received a baby blanket when my first child was born that was flannel on one side and satin on the other. It had just been sewn around the edges, as this blanket is. I loved it, but noticed that once I started washing it, the fabrics wouldn't stay ... "stuck" together. Does that make sense? Because there were no quilting stitches throughout the main part of the blanket, it would poof out a ton, and became hard to fold and use. I'm guessing that's because one of the fabrics was the slick satin. Do these blankets "stick" to each well after washing without doing stitches throughout the blanket and not just around the edge?

    Thank you so much! :)

    1. Even flannel will come apart with nothing tacking it. I suggest hand tacking several places to hold them together. I have found that hand tacking makes for a "softer" blanket overall then sewing a pattern or lines all over the blanket.

    2. I have been using these for well over a year with no tacking and separation hasn't been a problem. I even made a slightly larger one with flannel on one side and fleece on the other and it works great.

    3. And if nothing else, a nice stitch corner to corner through the middle like an X would work nicely.

  8. I've been making what I call bunny rugs which are the same as your blankets but it never occurred to me to use a contrasting flannelette for the reverse side. I had also always used a square corner which could cause difficulties when using fancy stitches to finish edges so I love your rounded corner idea. I made them for my kids and am now making then for my Grandkids.

  9. I just received a sewing machine for Christmas. I am not an experienced sewer by any means, and have new grandbaby on the way so I am going to try these blankets today to see how my new machine ( and the fancy stitches ) work. Thanks for this. It looks easy enough.

  10. So glad I found this tutorial. Thank you!! I volunteered to make receiving blankets for baby baskets for my church. Again, thank you!

  11. Just made 2 of these for my new niece -- they came out great!!!

  12. Thank you for this idea. I teach a sewing class on Friday afternoons with a group of homeschool girls. I have been looking for a project for them to make for our local pregnancy center. The director of the center said they could make soft blankets. This is perfect!

  13. I'm newly pregnant and am looking into learning how to sew to help me pass the months. I'm finding so many cute baby projects and these definitely are going on my list!

  14. These a just them. Your work is beautiful.

  15. Do these blankets ever come apart in the center because they aren't quilted?

  16. Thank you my first one turned out great going to make more

  17. Very Cute! When you topstitch around the perimeter did you use a 1/4 or 1/2 inch seam allowance? Love the idea of using the decorative stitches too.

  18. Someone made me one when my daughter was born. I use 1.25 yards of fabric, cut off the bias and then square up. I also have added a ribbon to look like a Taggie blanket.


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