Simple Flannel Baby Blankets

I made some baby blankets about a year ago for a friend’s shower and I debated with myself over what parameters make a good baby blanket. Having no personal experience with this I was somewhat out of luck so I did what I usually do in these situations, I called my Mom. With some basic guidelines I made up this simple blanket approach. These blankets are quick to make and seem to get a lot of use by the recipients. One little girl in particular poses with them in many photos! Her dad suggested that the key characteristic of the blankets is their size and stiffness. I guess there is an important role in baby accessories for structural wrapping items useful for containing limbs. If you have even minimal sewing skills you can tackle this project and wow your expecting friends (or yourself) with handmade gifts.

This is my entry to the June Whiplash “competition” – Introduce Yourself. Its my first post to Whiplash!

This will describe the steps to make one blanket even though two are pictured.
You will need:
One yard each of two flannel fabrics
Fabric cutting devices (scissors, rotary cutter)
round object like a bowl
sewing machine
thread etc.

Step 1: Purchase and Wash
Acquire 2 yards of flannel fabric, one yard in each print. I purchased mine from a fabric store (amazing!). I was particularly enamored with the Sock Monkey print. Im also a fan of non-pastel baby items so I go for dark, rich colors. I usually choose a patterned fabric for one side and a solid for the other. For the Sock Monkeys I chose a matching “Sock” print for the solid. Its all personal preference though! The solid colors are often double sided (i.e. fuzzy on both sides) while the printed flannels are usually single sided. The double sided stuff will make a stiffer and slightly heavier blanket.

Now wash the fabric (just in the washer with your clothes) and iron it flat.

Step 2: Square the Edges
You need to make your fabric into matching sized rectangles. Inevitably the edges will be un-square when they cut the fabric at the store so you will have to fix it. I use my gridded ruler and rotary cutter but you can do it with scissors too. I square one of the pieces first and then with *right sides together* I make the second piece match the first. I use scissors for trimming the second piece.

Step 3: Round the Edges
One of my favorite touches on this blanket is the rounded corners. I did this by taking a round object (the pictured bowl) and simply cutting away some fabric in a round shape. I just traced around the bowl, then cut away the excess.

Step 4: Sew, right sides together.
Now, with your rectangles right sides together sew around the perimeter with a 5/8ths inch seam allowance. Stop sewing when you get about 6 inches from where you started, i.e. leave a gap (you can see the gap in the spotted blanket in the background).
Trim the corners like this:

Step 5: Turn right side out and press
This one is fairly self explanatory. Turn the blanket right side out through the gap you left in the stitching. Using an iron on cotton setting press around the edge. Use your fingers to help the fabric expand all the way out. The notches you cut at the corner should help in the curves.

Step 6: Top Stitch
Pick a thread color that goes with each of your fabrics. It can be matching or contrasting, the same on top and bottom or different–you choose. Now using a 1/4th inch seam allowance sew around the entire edge of the blanket. You may wish to pin the section where the gap is but I find I dont need to since the flannel is adheres pretty well to itself.

Press the blanket one more time if you like and you are done!

Here they are in the sunlight:

And some I made a year ago:

11 Responses to “Simple Flannel Baby Blankets”

  1. 1 Jodie June 27, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    Great idea – super quick for baby gifts too and i adore sock monkeys and sock monkey fabrics….must get onto that whiplash challenge……

  2. 2 Princess of Everything (and then some) June 29, 2007 at 3:10 am

    Such a good tut!! Thank you so much!

  3. 3 Joanna Butchart June 29, 2007 at 8:59 am

    I love that so easy but effective. half of my friends seem to be pregnant at the moment and i wanted to make them something but was unsure what to make. Now I know. Thanks

  4. 4 mama k June 30, 2007 at 2:31 am

    I’ve made taggie-style blankets with a similar approach. I can say from experience that you don’t want the blankets too thick, too stiff or too small if you are going to be using them for swaddling. I got so many crocheted, plush, thick blankets at my baby shower. Nice, but not too practical.
    I wound up swiping two thin flannel receiving blankets from the hospital and they got the most use.

    (found you via whipup)

  5. 5 Jelly Wares June 30, 2007 at 11:36 am

    I got your link through whip-up. Great tutorial. These blankets are just too easy with your instructions. Well done!!


  6. 6 kt July 2, 2007 at 3:52 am

    Also found you throught whip-up–these are great! Good instructions; I feel ready to go, even as a novice with a sewing machine! Thanks for sharing!

  7. 7 Anonymous July 14, 2007 at 12:28 am

    Your idea appears very simple but unless I have a pattern, I am lost. I am one of the people who cannot just follow directions. Do you have a pattern out?

  8. 8 abmatic July 14, 2007 at 3:01 am

    I dont have a pattern out, sorry! If there were a pattern it would consist of a ~45″ by 36″ rectangle with rounded corners. Does that help?

  9. 9 Carol August 2, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    I am sewing a baby blanket today. Thanks for your help!

  10. 10 Anonymous November 11, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    I don’t see your instructions for closing the gap – I’m a beginner . . . I assume I do that part by hand before I press a final time?

  11. 11 abmatic November 11, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    you can close the gap by hand, but you can also just sew it shut when you do the top stitching. The flannel sticks to itself pretty well so it isnt hard to do that short section without it being sewn together.

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