Monday, February 27, 2012

Perfect present: Baby tag blanket...

I am in baby present heaven right now! My bestie is due any day now, and another good friend is due only a few days later. So I've had two showers in the last few weeks -- I love baby showers! Making baby gifts are some of my favorite things to make. And that's good, because I have three sisters-in-law, my Vegas bestie, a cousin-in-law and another Okie friend that are all having babies this summer, all due in July except for one!

Today I'm sharing a tutorial for one of the easiest baby gifts to make: A tag blankie. Seriously, if you've got an hour, you've got a baby present (maybe even less time if you're speedy and don't have any interruptions)!

Another great thing about this? It's very beginner friendly, and you can make it pretty inexpensive. You can make these any size you like, in any shape you like. And the great place to pick up materials for this project is in the remnant bin.

I used black minky that I found in the remnant bin, and then, because I wanted a really specific fleece, I had to order the soccer fabric online (why don't the fabric stores have any soccer fleece right now????). You could also use soft, baby flannel for a lightweight blankie, but I love the fleece and minky combination. Then you need ribbon, but you can make them all different or do a pattern like I did. This is a great time to dig into your scraps.

Cut out one each of your front and back in the desired shape/size you want. I made mine 20" by 20" because that's how wide my minky was, plus I thought it was a nice size (just big enough to put the baby on for some floor time or to cuddle with in the car seat without being a full blanket). I used a 1/2" seam allowance, so my finished size was 19" by 19".

Next, you'll determine how many ribbons you want. I had six picked out, but ended up using only five just for looks.

I cut my ribbons to 5" each. They'll be folded in half (2.5") and you'll lose 1/2" with the seam allowance, so this makes the ribbons 2" when finished.

Now you'll lay out your ribbons on top of your bottom piece to get a general idea for how you want to arrange them. I ended up with this pattern.

Once I figured out where I wanted my ribbons, I folded them in half -- right sides out -- and pinned them in place (make sure you're pinning them to the right side of the bottom). For this size, I put the middle ribbon at the 10" line, then put the others 3 inches apart. So I had a ribbon at the 4" line, 7" line, 10" line, 13" line and 16" line. I like to put them a little further in from the corners, so this worked out perfectly!

Now before you put the top on, you'll do something that will make finishing the project much easier. Pick one of your middle ribbons and stitch it down, just less than your seam allowance. I used my blue ribbon...

My seam allowance is 1/2 inch, so I stitched at about 3/8 inch from the edge; I sewed the ribbon down, backstitched across it and sewed it down again.

Now you'll put your top piece of fabric face down, so the bottom and top are right sides together with the ribbons sandwiched between. Transfer the pins holding the ribbons to the outside of your fabric sandwich, making sure to pin the ribbons securely again, and add a pin to hold the corners in place.

Next you'll stitch the whole thing together, using your 1/2-inch seam allowance.

You'll start sewing just before the ribbon just south of the ribbon you stitched down (bottom arrow in picture below); the ribbon you stitched down will be in the middle of the opening you use to turn the blankie inside-out. Make sure to backstitch well. Sew all the way around and finish just after the ribbon to the north of the ribbon you stitched down (top arrow in picture below), again with a good backstitch. The opening is between the arrows.

Next, you'll clip your corners; get close to your stitching but make sure not to cut into it. This reduces your bulk and gives you nice, pointy corners.

Reach in through your opening and grab one of your opposite corners and pull it out. Continue to pull the fabric until it's right-side out.

Grab a pencil or crochet hook and put your hand back through the hole. Use you pencil or hook to push out your corners. (I've got a crochet hook in there...)

The last step is to hand-stitch your opening closed. Line your blanket edges up with 1/2" folded under, matching up with the stitched edges.

Pin it in place, then using this stitch to hide your thread, stitch the opening closed. I also went back and forth a little over the ribbon to make sure I stitched it down well since baby boy will probably be tugging on them.

Done! Great gift to keep those little fingers entertained with something soft to cuddle. Happy sewing!

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