Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Easy, No Fuss, Fleece Blanket

I love to wrap blankets around me when I'm chilly. The problem is that most blankets that are large enough to go around me, are so long that I trip over them when I walk from room to room. Because after I'm snuggled up with my drink is when I realize that I left my book in the other room. Many blankets are also to heavy to be dragging around. 
I solved the weight issue by getting fleece blankets. They are soft and warm without being to heavy, but I still had the problem that standard sizes weren't working for my 5'2" and "curvy" figure. The solution to the blanket size problem was to make it myself. But this lead to other problems.
Fleece can be hard to work with. When sewing straight fleece you need a Serger, or at least a special needle for your sewing machine to keep from snagging the fabric. It's also a stretchy material so it's real easy to accidentally pull it and end up with weird seams.
After some trial and error I have found an easy way to get around those problems so that anyone can make a simple, fleece blanket without needing special equipment, or doing a lot of maths. In my example I made a 90" by 60" blanket. It's slightly smaller than a queen size blanket (102" x 116"), but still large enough to wrap around myself. I can also stay wrapped up and walk without tripping. 


This project took me about 2 hours from first cut to final product. 

Here is what you will need: 

  • Fleece -  I used 2 and a half yards of 60 inch wide fleece. Pick a pattern or color you like. The one pictured is a dinosaur pattern.
  • Blanket binding - Pick a color that coordinates with your fleece. I purchased two - 4 yard packages of the binding. Tim picked hunter green
  • Thread - Pick a color that either matches your binding (to hide the stitches) or that coordinates with your fleece (if you want to show off the stitches). We went with dark green to "hide" the stitches. 
  • Scissors - Standard large scissors work best
  • Straight Pins - These are also called "Sewing Pins". 
  • Sewing machine - You could do this by hand but it takes forever and it's just neater with the machine. No special needle needed because we are only sewing through the binding, not directly through the fleece. 
Now that we have everything gathered it's time to sew. 

Assembly Instructions:

1. Thread the sewing machine. If needed make a bobbin 

2. If your fleece has a salvage edge, then you will want to trim that off. The salvage edge is the white stripe along one side that contains the information needed to print the pattern. Be careful to only cut the salvage and not the actual blanket. 

3. Lay out the fabric, if it's not already laid out from trimming the edge, and line up the blanket binding with the long edge of the fabric. The binding is folded in half. Open the binding and lay the fabric along one half, as shown. 

4. Fold the binding over the other side of the fabric so that the fabric is between the two halves of the binding. Pin it in place. Continue down the entire length of the fabric, pinning it at every few inches. When you get to the end of the fabric, trim the binding (you will have left over binding, set it aside.)

5. Start at one end and sew a zig zag stitch. I lined up the edge of the sewing foot with the raw edge of the blanket binding and used that as a guide. Make sure that you are sewing through all 3 layers. (Binding, Fleece, Binding). Pull out the pins as you sew to ensure you don't break the needle. Don't worry about the open sides of the binding. We will deal with those later. 

6. Trim the threads and repeat from step 3, on the other long side of the fabric. (if both long sides are done move on to step 7.)

Tip: Open the second package of binding for the second side. There will not be enough leftover binding from the first side to seamlessly sew the second side. Save the extra binding for the shorter sides. 

7. Take a piece of the leftover binding and line it up with short side of the fabric. Allow for 1/4 to 1/2 inch of binding to stick out past the end of the fabric. Fold the overhang in so that the binding is flush with the already sewn edge of the blanket. 

Note: You do not have to fold over the binding. You could simply sew it as in step 8. However, binding does tend to fray on the cut edge so you will want to use something to stop the fraying. I find most of these products dry very hard, which will give the blanket a "hard corner". 

8. Keeping the binding edge folded, fold the binding in half over the fabric, as in step 4. Pin as you fold. When you get to the end of the blanket, trim the excess binding leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch past the end of the fabric. Fold the binding in, like in step 7 and secure with a pin. 

9. Starting at the corner of the blanket, sew down the folded binding to the edge. Follow the edge of the binding, turning 90 degrees, and continue sewing as in Step 5. When you come to the end of the binding, turn another 90 degrees to sew down the folded to the edge of the blanket. 

10. Repeat from step 7 on the other short side. Once both short sides are done, you will have a finished blanket. 


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