Monday, July 16, 2012

Hand Cut Chenille Baby Blanket

First off- for the best tutorial you will find for this blanket, please visit AESTHETIC NEST. They really outdid themselves with the pictures and directions. I won't even waste your time by attempting to re-write their perfection.

I will however show you what I did with their amazing tutorial. My wonderful friend Karen is expecting twins so I decided to give this tutorial a try and make a blanket for Baby Boy and Baby Girl. I wanted to use the new Chevron fabric that I recently ordered, since I had a blue colorway and a purple one- perfect. Once I know my color scheme, I went to the fabric store and selected 3 cotton flannel prints for the chenille side of each blanket.

 I laid out my fabrics according to the Aesthetic Nest directions, the Chevron fabric was face down and all 3 flannels were face up. I made a line in the center on the diagonal and stitched from corner to corner. Then I moved the needle position on my machine to the very far right and used the center stitch as my guide, and continued to use the stitch on the left as the guide for each row....104 rows later the whole blanket was quilted on the bias.

image courtesy of Olfa

I did purchase the Olfa Chenille Cutter as suggested by Aesthetic Nest. I had to buy it from a "traditional" quilting store, as my local Joann fabric didn't carry it. The Olfa cutter is kinda like a letter opener and a rotary cutter in one. There's a guide along the bottom to go under the flannel layers, but ABOVE the "backing" and the rotary cutter cuts through the flannel on top. As you cut- the fabric will fray or lint, so you have to clean out the lint each time or else it will not cut. The Olfa cutter also has a turn knob to rotate the blade and give you a sharp edge. I would say the rotary blade needs to be replaced after every 2-3 blankets (as I have since made 3 and my blade is pretty dull). The Olfa cutter is a little pricey- around $29.99 but well worth the investment. It made cutting the chenille side easy-peasy.

After I cut between each row with the chenille cutter, I trimmed down the sides, used a guide for making rounded corners and then made my own double-fold bias tape with my Clover Bias Tape Maker. OH HOW I LOVE THE BIAS TAPE MAKER!!!! If you buy bias tape, or make your own by "folding in 1/2 then folding edges to the middle and ironing" - STOP. Buy a Bias Tape Maker.  I used the blue one for this project. I also use the black one for all of my aprons and handles for tote bags.

image courtesy of Clover USA

After my blanket was cut with the chenille cutter, trimmed down and finished with the bias tape- this is how it looked: Pretty eh?

Now- for the magical part. You throw it in the washer for a quick rinse and spin and then put it in the dryer, and the flannel gets all frayed and soft and snuggly. I will mention this- it's a good idea to add a towel to the load if your blanket is "smallish" (like not a full throw size, or something like that). Mine were about 36" square and the balance of the washer/dryer was off so I needed to add a towel to get it spun out well and dried quickly.

I also made a blanket in the purple Chevron colorway:

And then a week later my amazing friend Jenn (of JennySold Designs) had her baby shower. I  purchased a Jelly Roll of the Moda MoMo Wonderland a few years ago...just holding onto it...staring at it....thinking ONE DAY I'd make something with it.

And so I did- I pieced all my 2.5" strips together and made this amazing blanket for "Nubs" (Jenn's baby). I was thrilled to have enough to make a blanket, Link loop Diaper Bag, Zippered Wet Bag and a Burp Cloth. But the is - BY FAR- the most favorite thing I have ever made. EVER. I just stared at it. It was amazing. I'm not a quilter by any means, but I can follow directions, sew a (fairly) straight line and use the washer and dryer.

I really hope that my friends enjoy their blankets. They were so fulfilling to make and I am just in love with this technique. I have a feeling this is my new "go to" baby shower gift. And for anyone interested in making their own- it's not too hard. It's a little tedious, but I was able to complete each one in a few hours. Now- I'm really fast at sewing, and could make bias tape in my sleep, so allow yourself enough time to not rush trough. And step away if you get tired or frustrated. There's a lot of possibility for error- especially when cutting the chenille side. It's very easy to "mess-up" and cut through the back side, especially if you just use scissors. But I promise- the end result is amazing.


britt said...

i LOVE your chevron fabric! where did you get it?

kc agneta said...

It's Annette Tatum Bohemian Chevron in Lavender and Teal.