i’m not the sewing guru, or the “stitches” part of this blogging duo…that would be ashlee. i’ve always wanted to be able to sew and quilt with the best of them, but it takes a little more effort for me to run with the big girls. ok, who am i trying to kid? it takes A LOT more effort, lol. but when i saw this adorable “quilt” on pinterest, i just knew i had to have it…or something close at least…
i am IN LOVE with that color scheme, and also that large, retro, floral print. unfortunately i was not as pleased with the selection of fabric at my local joann’s. first, i was rudely told that IU does not allow them to sell any IU fabric, and that i wouldn’t find any down in bloomington either, so not to bother. i was just about to settle on a fabric i wasn’t completely thrilled with, but on the way to the cutting counting the grace of god helped me stumble upon a fabric i could work with. i think i will work a little backwards in the post, if that’s ok with you all of course. here is my finished blanket:
as always, please excuse the horrible lighting in my house/quality of my photos. i don’t know if you can tell, but the fabric is a greyish-blue, with tiffany’s blue and goldenrod teardrops on it. the stripes are a little darker. the “chenille” backside of the blanket is teal, neon orange, and beige. for a first attempt, i think it turned out lovely, i was very pleased. it fits me perfectly, and brian even stole it to nap with already 🙂 it does have a few snafu’s, but if you have to search for them, then they don’t count, lol. i showed my brother and sister, and they have already put in their requests, so i think i will be busy for quite awhile. and trust me, once you see the process, you’ll know exactly why…
as i mentioned earlier, i am sewing challenged; therefore, i had to recruit a little help from my friend darcie. i first met her because her husband works, and plays video games with brian. i heard she was a quilter, then i found out she is a fellow nanowrimo winner, and i knew it was in the stars for us to be friends. she was more than patient with me…and if you know me and my perfectionist worrisome ways, you know that’s not easy. i think we took about 4ish sessions to complete my blankie. if anything, darcie learned about the amazing cookies at paradise bakery out of the deal. 🙂 i also supplied her with starburst jelly beans and cherry 7up (her two faves) to keep morale high, lol. you can find her blanket making process (and other amazing quilting projects) in two posts, on her blog, here:
now that i know how to make this wonderfully soft and super cute blanket, i am definitely going to explore more with it. the first one
i’m going to make going to attempt to make on my own, is for my future “nephew” aka my best friend’s soon to be son. jenny has a jungle theme, but like i said, joann’s had an unimpressive selection. i was able to find this cute pastel brown, blue, and green baby boy themed fabric. to make this blanket, you need a piece of patterned cotton, and 3 pieces of corresponding flannel. try to make the flannel pieces light, medium, and dark in color.
there wasn’t much of the patterned fabric left, so i tried to cut some off the side, and add it to the bottom. see how there are squares in an alternating pattern? yeah, when i tried to add strips to the bottom, i screwed it all up, so i was left with a pretty small piece of fabric. i think it may cover my nephew for all of a week before he outgrows it. 😦 and even though i wanted it to be a surprise for jenny, i didn’t want to waste my time with a stupid gift. i quickly texted her and asked something along the lines of, “is it dumb to have a blanket that doesn’t exactly cover a baby, but one he can just snuggle with or carry around?” she quickly replied, “oh! a jiggy! i loved mine and kept it for a long time!” a what?! jenny has a way of making up really cute names for people and things…i had for sure never heard of a baby blanket being called a jiggy before, but now it gave me the justification i needed to proceed with the process. not to mention a clever title for this post 😉
ok, back to business. cut the 4 pieces roughly the same size. you can be better than i am and google standard blanket sizes for whatever occasion you are making your quilt for, or you can just go with the flow like i am, lol. usually fabric from the bolt isn’t very long, so you may have to trim from the side and add to the bottom like i was supposed to. stack the three flannel pieces, and then put the cotton piece on top, patterned side face out. no need to pin really, because the flannel sticks pretty well. draw a line from one corner to the other and sew down it.
i must admit, i messed up quite a few times, but all part of process over product huh? darcie told me to sew down the patterned front, and not the flannel back, but i forgot for awhile. you can’t tell the difference too much, unless you are specifically looking for it, but it is “prettier” if you stitch on the front.
you will need a special attachment for your sewing foot called a “quilting bar.” i was able to find one at a specialty sewing machine shop for $5! what a deal. while i was there he also tested my machine out and fixed something on it for me for free so i was good to go. the purpose of the bar is to use it as a guide to make sure you sew all of your lines the same distance apart. in this case, we used 1/2 inch increments. if i ever buy smaller fabric scissors, i will try smaller rows, so the “chenille” will fill up more of the back, without leaving big empty spaces between.
remember, i’m no sewing or quilting expert, so excuse me if you already know some of this stuff…but also in this picture is something else new that darcie taught me…you should always start sewing into fabric, so have a scrap handy. 🙂
even though this is a small blanket, it still did get pretty thick and bulky. you’ll have to roll up the side of the blanket you are not currently working on for it to fit in between the machine and foot. you’ll also have to hold the fabric taut, so it doesn’t bunch or bubble. darcie already warned me that working with flannel that frays around the edges easily, sometimes causes tangles and troubles with the bobbin. i was getting super frustrated while working on this because i had to stop and rethread everything after every row it seemed like. it was too late to text darcie, so i texted ashlee instead. i told her i was about ready to throw my machine out the window. she told me to slow down on my speed (i do have a heavy foot) and to adjust my stitch length. presto! my friends are so smart.
when you are done with all of your diagonal lines, your front and back should look like so
when darcie helped me with my first blanket, we did this in a little bit of a different order. the next step i did was to even up all the sides. i put the patterned side down, because i was easily distracted by the pattern. i tried to use it to help me, but in fact it hindered my measurements. once i turned to the plain green side it was much easier to cut.
you must be VERY CAREFUL with this next step, because on my first blanket i made a big boo boo. you use the beautiful rows you have just created as cutting paths. but you ONLY cut the three flannel layers, and not the cotton.
something else new i tried, was rounding the corners like the original one i saw and liked. darcie had to help me make beautiful pointed corners on my blanket, so i figured it would be easier to do round ones on my own. i just used an empty country crock butter container to trace.
now the exciting part, washing! wash alone, in cold water. darcie suggested using a color catcher. i really needed it with the dark teal and grey of my first blanket. not so much for the pastels of this one, but i used it anyway. the real magic happens in the dryer. tumble dry on low heat and the cut flannel with fray and become oh so soft and cool looking. i really like these colors a lot.
not gonna lie, i had a lot of trouble with the binding. i already prewarned jenny that nugget’s jiggy has a lot of rough patches (especially around the edges) but that it was made with love. hopefully practice will make perfect. now i have to resist the urge to go to the expensive fabric shops and make a ton of these things. they are so fun and addicting. here’s the final product
ps: the reason i kept putting quilt in quotes, is because this is what’s called a “chenille” effect. the fraying and fluffiness of the flannel creates a faux chenille. it isn’t traditional “quilting” in the sense of piecing together a patchwork front, and layering batting between two pieces.