Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ruffle Stripes Baby Blankie Tutorial

Ruffle Stripe Baby Blankie
A co-worker of mine just had a new baby, so I wanted to make a blanket for her. One that would be super cute, just like her baby, and that she could save as a keepsake for years to come. The baby blankies, or security blankets, are the best because they can be packed and taken along for car rides, and become doll blankets when the little girls get older.

I found a wonderful tutorial over at 2 Little Hooligans that I really wanted to try. I loved the elegant nature of the ruffles and gathers, and the fun appeal. So, on a rainy Southern Louisiana day... I made sweet baby Meredith her new blankie.

Ruffle Stripes Baby Blanket
Materials needed:
- Eight 3" x 30" inch strips of coordinating fabric. (I used two different fabrics, so four strips of each)
- One 5" x 140" strip for outer ruffle. (I chose a completely different fabric to accent the other two)
- One approximately 21" x 24" (I recommend not cutting until the end, as the ruffles may cause it to be bigger or smaller)
Choose coordinating fabrics
Start by cutting the fabric that will become the eight strips in the blanket to 3" x 30". You can piece smaller pieces together to get the right size, just as long as the are the correct width and length.
Cut fabric into 3" x 30" pieces
Now, you are going to ruffle each of these by sewing down the middle. From 2 Little Hooligans' blog, I learned a little trick. To get the machine to ruffle the fabric for you, just set the tension setting and stitch length setting to the highest that they will go. On my machine it happens to be 9 for tension and 4 for stitch length. **Be sure to lock stitch the pieces as you ruffle them, this will keep the ruffle intact as you piece them together (I learned this the hard way). Continue with all eight pieces.
Ruffle fabric with machine
Next you will want to iron and flattern all eight pieces. This will help keep the ruffles and to help in the sewing process.
Iron fabric for easier sewing
Now we need to sew the pieces together. Lay the eight pieces out in the desired pattern (if you have more than two fabrics). Then pin right sides together for the two pieces that will be next to each other in the blanket. I started from the center out, so that I could make sure that they remained even. Continue with the other three pairs. Change the tension and stitch length on your sewing machine back to normal and sew the 4 pairs together.
Sew two pieces together
Once all 4 pairs are sewn together, open them up and re-iron flat. Now you will want to lay the pieces back down to recheck the pattern. Pin the pairs to the one next to them again, and sew the rest of the pieces together. Reopen and iron again. Your blankie should look like this now:
Layout fabric and iron
At this point, you can rip out the center stitches if you like, shown above, or leave them in. After I ripped the stitches out, I wish I would have left them. The ruffles lost some of their "ruffliness" and flattened out some. The edges around the outside will be a little uneven from sewing, so you will need to take a straight-edge and square them up a bit.
Square up the edges
Once the blanket is all squared, grab a glass from your kitchen to draw a rounded edge on the four corners.
Round the edges
Now, grab your 5" x 150" inch piece. This can also be smaller pieced sewn together in order to get the length that you need. Put the settings on your machine back into the ruffling setting. Place the wrong sides together and sew the long piece with a 1/4" edge. Again, make sure that you lockstitch so that the ruffles do not come undone as you work later.
Ruffle the edge fabric
Once the piece is all sewn, you are going to pin it to the right side of the striped fabric from earlier. I started from the center of my piece and worked about a quarter of the way around and then worked the other side and alternated all of the way around. Be sure to pin the corners down so that you do not risk them getting in the way later. 
Pin ruffle along edges
When you get to the end, trim the excess and overlap the edges folding each edge in and then sewing together to get a clean seam. See below:
Fold over edges into each other to form clean seam.
Now, lay the finished piece on top of the minky fabric with right sides together. Flatten out any bumps and creases, and try to get the minky as square as possible. Pin the minky to the striped piece. Be sure to use enough pins to keep the minky from shifting.
Pin the striped piece to the minky fabric.
Trim off excess fabric around the sides. Sew with a 1/2" seam and leave a 2 inch opening to turn the blanket right side out.
Trim excess fabric around edge.
Once done, remove pins and turn the blanket right side out and flatten out any bunches of fabric and iron one last time. Pin closed the opening and sew a top stitch twice around the outside to hold the pieces in place. Trim any excess stray threads.
Top stitch around edges.
Congratulations! You now have a super soft and cuddly blankie to give the special new one in your life!
Ruffle Stripe Baby Blankie