You will need:
Two - 1 1/4 yard cuts of 45" wide fabrics
Applique - store bought or homemade (optional)
Fabric Marking Pen
Choosing your materials:
Choose your fabrics with great care. Pick appropriate fabrics that will wash well and hopefully still look good after constant use! Think about what colors you think would be appropriate for the baby. You will need a solid colored fabric for the embroidered side and a plaid, printm or floral fabric for the other side which will also be turned over as a border on the solid side. We usually use 100% cotton fabrics.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your fabrics:
1.) Does the recipient's family live in a mostly warm or cold climate? Down here in Texas we make a lot of lightweight blankets because it is often hot and humid! However, if it is nearing fall and winter we might make a warmer blanket. Another thing we often do is to put a warm flannel on one side, and a lightweight plain cotton on the other side, so that the blanket can be used in cold or warm weather. One neat thing about these blankets is that they are reversable!
2.) Is the blanket for a boy or a girl? This is pretty obvious, but it is good think about. You may want to make the blanket ultra-feminine with pink roses or other beautiful flowers. Maybe you want to make a boldly masculine blanket with a rich plaid and strong colors. Pastel plaids with pinks and purples are great for girls and pastel plaids with yellows, blues, and greens are particularly useful for boys. There are all kinds of combinations! Be creative! You are not limited to pastels for babies. :^)
3.) Does the recipient's family have a color preference or a specific decorating theme? You may even be able to match their decor or make a blanket that would be particularly pleasing to their color preferences!
4.) Is the fabric rough or patterned in some way that will be uncomfortable for the baby? You will want to make it very comfortable for the baby!
Choose an embroidery thread that will stand out (most likely a darker color) and that matches or brings out a prominent color in the fabrics that you chose. Think about what you would like to applique or embroider onto the blanket.
Pre-wash your fabrics and dry them. This is done to make sure that the colors don't bleed and that they will not shrink after you have already sewn and embroidered them. Iron the fabric if necessary.
Lay out the patterned fabric with the right side down (facing the surface that it is laid on) and then lay your solid fabric on top of the patterned fabric with it's right side facing up. Your fabrics "wrong sides" will be facing together. Trim the edges if needed until they are square. (If you had your fabric cut in 1 1/4 yard pieces they should already be fairly square.)
Turn the printed edge over approximately 1" and pin it so that there is a border all the way around the blanket. Make sure that you turn it over an even amount all the way around.
This picture shows the border being folded over for the first time. We did something different on this blanket. You will notice that the side that is turned over to make the border is the solid color (a pre-quilted, warmer material in this case) this time and the printed fabric is the side that will be embroidered. In order for the embroidery to show up we put the name on a solid color applique [a picture to demonstrate this will be further down] and then we stitched this to the printed side.
Now turn it over again and re-pin it so that you will not have a raw edge. Be careful to turn over the corners in the same direction each time. If you are using thick fabrics you may want to trim the corners so that they will not be too difficult to sew through.
In this picture the border is being folded over for the second fold which encloses the raw edges.
Next, do the embroidery and add the applique while the blanket is still pinned up. If you will be tracing a design onto the fabric, we suggest using a light table or a lamp. We usually use a small lamp with a piece of clear plastic over it to trace our designs. Clear plastic cutting boards work very well for us. After you have marked (with a fabric marking pen) the area where you want your design to be, remove enough pins from the corner where you will be stitching so that you can stitch with ease. It is very important that you have already drawn a base line or some other measured mark so that you can be sure to center your design. After you have marked the name and/or design, embroider it. If you are adding a store-bought applique, we suggest that you use a matching color of embroidery thread and make small tacking stitches to attach it to the fabric before you iron it on. You want to make sure that the baby will not pick it off or that it will not come off from constant use! (We have seen this happen!) :-) Note: We draw out most of our embroidery designs in Microsoft Publisher.
This picture shows the embroidery we did on the blanket where the solid fabric was the border. We used a straw-colored material to embroider the name, appliqued a scene similar to one in the printed material on to the straw-colored fabric, and then appliqued the whole thing on to the printed material.
Once the embroidery is done, re-pin the blanket. Now you are ready to sew it up! We usually use the left side of the foot on the sewing machine lined up with the inside edge of the blanket's border as our guideline. This is usually a good distance to follow. Start close to the edge on one side, backstitch, and then stitch forwards, removing the pins as you go, until you reach the next edge. Backstitch and clip the threads. Stitching this way will always use straight lines (you will never be turning a corner). Start stitching again on the next edge as you did before until you have completed all of the edges.
Dampen the area that was marked with a fabric marking pen to remove the marks. Let it dry.
The baby blanket is completed!
Here is an example of one blanket for a baby girl. Both of these fabrics are cottons. The embroidery is done using Brock Script and the rose that was appliqued was store-bought.
This was a blanket for a little boy. The plaid and teddy bear fabric is a flannel and the the solid blue fabric is a regular cotton. The embroidery is done using Brock Script and we traced this and the heart onto the fabric after drawing and printing it off of our computer. "Wrapped in His love" is embroidered over the baby's name.
This is also a blanket for a baby boy. The plaid fabric is a regular cotton, and the off-white solid is a flannel. The embroidery is done using a font called "Basil." The embroidery stitches have a tendency to sink in a bit on the flannel fabrics.
Here is another baby boy's blanket. The checkered material on the backside and border is a heavy, more expensive material. The solid material is a thin cotton (in fact, you can see a hint of the other side's design through it). The embroidery is done once again in the font called "Basil," and we used a sailboat applique in a matching blue below the name.
This picture includes two baby blankets (the colors are very washed out). Both are made with a pastel plaid and a coordinating solid out of a thin cotton. In the top blanket, the name was enclosed in an embroidered pattern using a lot of lazy daisies. The second blanket was decorated with appliqued butterflies.
An example of a blanket where the solid color is the border. The embroidery, in order to stand out, is usually best done on the solid fabric, so on this blanket we chose to embroider the name on a solid piece of fabric that could be appliqued on to the printed side.
A close-up of the previous blanket's corner.
This blanket was a blue check on one side with a matching solid on the other side. "Wrapped in His love" was written in a font called "Comic Sans MS."
Here is another picture of the first blanket. This picture shows the colors better.