September 4, 2013

Great use for multi-color hand-dyed fabric--and a tutorial for 2-layer receiving blankets

I found a great way to use the multi-colored hand-dyed pieces that I did a week ago--I can use them for one side of a two-layer receiving blanket (other side is flannel).  I've made these before, but using commercial fabric for both sides.  See this post for a description of the blanket and why it makes a great baby gift.  It's also less time-consuming than making an actual quilt, and using the hand-dyed fabric will still give it a personal touch.

Here are two more; all three of these were made with flannel that I had purchased to go with some commercial fabric I had on hand, but that's now back in my stash.

The next one has some applique patches added, because the fabric (an inexpensive muslin) had some holes in it after the washout.

 Here are instructions for the blanket--very simple!


1-1/4 yd flannel
1-1/4 yd cotton (not flannel) 

1.       Prewash and dry the fabrics.
2.       The flannel:  Cut off the selvages, and then trim the other edges.  You'll end up with something about about 42" square. Anything around this size is fine; no need for the width to be exactly the same as the length.
3.       The cotton:  Cut off the selvages, but leave the rest untrimmed.  (This piece of fabric should be a little larger than the flannel.)  Pin the cotton to a design wall, wrong side of fabric towards the wall.  Smooth it out well, pinning it to the wall at about 6" intervals.
4.       Placing the layers together:  Put the flannel up against the cotton, right sides together.  Stick pins into the two layers all around.  (You can move pins from sticking up the cotton to pierce both layers—but leave 2 or 3 pins across the top edge of the cotton fabric as well.)  Do not try to match the edges of the two fabrics.  Just be sure there is a bit of the cotton fabric sticking out beyond the flannel, all the way around.  (If need be, you can cut down the flannel a bit.)  Then go around pin the two fabrics together, preparing them to be sewn on the machine.  When all is pinned, take the two layers off the wall and bring to the machine.
5.       Sewing the layers:  Sew around the edge of the two layers with a half-inch seam, measuring from the cut edge of the flannel, and leaving an opening large enough for your hand to go through.*
6.       Trim: Put the sewn blanket on the cutting table, flannel side up.  Take your rotary cutter and trim the cotton so that it's even with the flannel—no need for a ruler, you can just do this by eye.  Then trim the corners a bit so there's less bulk when turning.
7.       Turn: Turn the blanket, pushing out the corners carefully—no need to get a sharp point!  Iron the seams flat.  No need to sew the opening closed by hand—it will get closed in the next step.
8.       Topstitch: Topstitch around the edge of the blanket, starting a few inches before the opening.  I top-stitch 5/16" from the edge (this is the measurement of my all-purpose foot).**

*I have rounded the corners on one or two of the blankets I've made, including the one at the top of this post (marking a curved line with a small plate), but I like better the ones I've made with a regular 90-degree corner.

**I have used a decorative stitch for the topstitching a couple of times (photo below), but I prefer the look and feel of a plain straight-stitch, and it's faster too.