Simple swaddling blankets

I know there's been a lot of baby gift making lately, but it's new baby season in my circle, and these projects are just so much fun to share! There are so many great choices for fabrics and baby items are typically pretty easy to make.

Today I'm sharing some simple swaddling blankets I made for a new arrival. These flannel blankets are made with serged edges and take very little prep work - a stack can easily be completed in under an hour.

I bought one-yard cuts of flannel fabric, and pre-washed them. Begin by folding one yard in half one way, and then in half the other way (this would technically be called 'folding in quarters', but I want to be clear that it gets folded one way and then the other.)

In the photo above, the folded sides of the fabric are on the right side and the bottom. All of the selvedges (the edges with copyright and printing information) are now on the left hand side, and the raw edges are on the top. Now we'll trim the selvedges off - don't worry about the top/raw edges just yet.

Now we'll round the corners of the blanket. This gives it a nice, soft feel - and makes the sewing process much easier! I used a rounded plate as a guide for my corners. Your trimming doesn't have to be perfect...the serger is going to clean it up nicely for you. Just be sure you are trimming the upper left-hand corner - the one without folds. If you cut through your folds, you're going to be sad.

That's it for prep - you're ready to serge! Start in the middle of one side, in the straight area. This will be much easier and more secure than starting with one of the rounded corners. You don't need to factor in any seam allowance - just run your fabric right along the edge of the knife blade. It will trim away any wonky strings, but you don't need it to really remove any of the fabric.

Take the corners slowly, just following the curve you cut.

When you get close to the beginning of your stitching, lift the presser foot and tuck your thread tail under the needle. This will lock that thread tail into the seam and keep it from breaking loose with repeated use and washing of the blanket.

Once your stitching is overlapping where you started, just sew off the edge of the blanket. This will leave a thread tail that needs to be tucked in.

Using a large needle, tuck that thread tail into the stitching to secure.

Now trim the tails and you're done! You've made a blanket (or more likely, a whole mess of blankets) that are perfect for swaddling and tummy time. Babies everywhere will adore you, and so will their parents.

Quilting in circles

One of my favorite things about making a quilt is deciding how to quilt it...what sort of pattern or texture will bring out the best in the quilt top. I recently tried quilting a spiral and loved how it worked with the star shape of the quilt design. I also loved how easy it was to do on my home sewing machine. I used it again for a star-based design and am sharing the results with you today.

I used this great tutorial from verrykerryberry when learning how to quilt a spiral. You start by stitching along a small paper template of the spiral and then work your way out. I printed out her template and pinned it to the center of my quilt.

I used a short stitch length to begin with so that the paper would be easy to tear away, and a walking foot is a must - moving a decent sized quilt in a tight circle like that is no joke, but it does get easier the further you get from the center.

After I got the first few rounds out of the way, I increased my stitch length and added the guide bar to my walking foot. I aligned it with the spiral I had just stitched so that I could keep even spacing between the rounds as I went.

From there, it was just a matter of keeping the guide aligned as I went. The larger the spiral, the easier it was to spin the quilt around and I made pretty good time!

All told, this 40" x 40" baby quilt took about 20 minutes to quilt. It's a dense enough stitching pattern that I know the quilt will hold up well to the wear and tear of a small kid and I think the spiral really complements the quilt design.

Even the back looks good! And yes...that IS minky backing. (Thanks, walking foot...I couldn't have done it without you)

Quick and easy baby gifts

Today I'm revisiting the most popular post from my old blog. I've been making lots of baby gifts this month, and I simply have to share these easy flannel burp cloths - quick to sew up and always sure to please!

These flannel burp cloths make a wonderful baby gift. They’re easy to make, and while they are a practical item they are a lot of fun when sewn up in unique flannel prints – the possibilities are endless! The curved shape helps them stay on your shoulder during burping, and also allows them to wrap around baby’s neck to act as a bib. I’ve made these for lots of new mothers, and they get rave reviews every time.

In addition to your usual sewing notions and thread, to make these burp cloths you will need:

Flannel – You can get 2 complete burp cloths out of a half yard of flannel if you’re using the same fabric for front and back. I like to use different fabrics for the front and back, so a half yard each of two fabrics will yield 4 burp cloths.

Batting – I like to use Warm & Natural cotton batting. Whatever batting you choose, you want something lightweight and low-loft for best results. You can buy specifically for this project or just use scraps. You will need a piece of batting about 8.75″ x 19″ for each burp cloth.

Pattern – You can download my pattern piece here.

Cut out one piece of flannel for the front and one for the back. The pattern is designed to be cut on the fold. You can layer up and cut out two at a time, but cutting flannel is hard on your hands – some times less is more. You will also need to cut out one piece of batting in the same fashion.

Sandwich the pieces like so – batting followed by flannel pieces right sides together on top. Pin around the edge, leaving a gap along the inside curve. We’ll use this opening to flip the burp cloths right side out once we’ve sewn the sandwich together. Sew with a .25″ seam allowance around the edge, leaving the opening at the inside curve unsewn.

Clip the seam allowance to 1/8″, leaving the seam allowance as-is around the inside curve. We’ll be turning this allowance in to sew the opening closed. Turn the burp cloth right side out. You can press it with an iron at this stage, but I actually find that finger pressing produces fewer puckers when top-stitching than pressing with an iron.

Fold the .25″ seam allowance inside the burp cloth along the inside curve and pin. Top-stitch all around the burp cloth using an 1/8″ seam allowance.

And that’s it – doesn’t take much to make a beautiful and useful baby gift!