Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pre-bound Tied Baby Blanket Tutorial - Part 1

I thought it would be good to start out with a tutorial for something I make often. I have a huge family (over 40 nephews and nieces) and live in an area where there are many babies born. It would not be possible or affordable to make them each a quilt, so I now make them a tied baby blanket. Here is how I do it.

  • Two pieces of flannel about the same size.  (I like to use 1.5 yards, but you can use any where from one yard to 1 2/3 yards or even two fat quarters for a doll quilt.)
  • Low to medium loft polyester batting slightly larger than your flannel. (You can use a higher loft batting for a puffier quit, but I don't because I once heard that it was more of a suffocation hazard for babies. )
  • Matching crochet thread.  I use weight 10.
  • Basic sewing supplies
Note: Throughout this tutorial you can click on any picture to see it larger. 

Trimming and Pinning:
Cut your flannel so they are about the same length. Square up the edges if they are really wonky.  Iron the wrinkles and center fold out of them both.
Using a large cutting mat on a table away from the wall lay your batting down. My cutting mat has a grid that is 28 x 56 inches. Before I had a cutting mat this large I put two smaller ones side by side, taped together on the bottom. I have also done this on the kitchen table and the kitchen counter.
Lay one piece of flannel with the right side up on the batting. This should be the bigger fabric if one is wider than the other. I like to have it turned so that the salvages are on the right and left. With the raw edge away from me, but still within reach.  Then lay your next piece of flannel right side down. 

It should look like this.  (The right sides are together.)  I put the gingham on top because it has a wider selvage which will need to be trimmed off. 
Smooth out the flannel so it lays flat on the batting with no ripples.  Using a longer ruler (mine is 24 inches), cut off the salvages on both sides for the part laying on the table. I use my big fat rotary cutter because it is really thick cutting through all three layers. 
Pin through all three layers with good strong pins on the edges. I use my flower pins, because they are flat.

To square up the top edge I use two rulers. My longer ruler is close to the edge I need to cut. I use this one with the rotary cutter. I use a large square ruler on the side I just cut the salvages off to get a good 90 degree angle. Please note that I am ignoring the grid on my cutting mat and am just using the rulers to keep it square. 
Cut as far as you can with the long ruler.  Slide both rulers to the other corner keeping it as straight on top as you can.  Use the square ruler to get your 90 degree angle again.

Pin the edges and carefully slide the fabric and batting up so you can access more of the salvage edges. Let the end dangle over the back of the cutting table.
Repeat the previous step until you completely trim off the selvages on both sides.  Don't nick your blade of the rotary cutter with the pins. 
Remember smooth out the layers and pin as you go. 
 Use the two rulers again to get good square corners. First one corner...
And then the last corner. 
 On one side I place double pins about 10" apart to remember to leave it open for turning.
Sewing and Turning:
Bring this pinned piece over to your sewing machine. The flatter and larger the surface your machine sits on, the easier the sewing will be. My sewing machine sits down in a cabinet and I love it. This creates less drag and supports the weight of the blanket. I have also done this on the kitchen table.
Set your machine up so you can sew with a half inch seam allowance. I like to use tape. I switch to my walking foot because of how thick this is. I also make sure my machine is cleaned and oiled with a new needle.
Sew using your half inch seam mark.   I like to keep the batting down and the flannel on top.
Sew three sides of the blanket, back stitching about 3/4 of an inch at each corner. 
When you sew the last side stop when you come to the double pins. I do not back stitch here. I realize that the stitches can come undone when turning it right side out creating a larger space to hand sew closed. Speaking from experience...I would rather my stitches rip than my fabric if I am not careful enough.
Once I take out the two pins, I fold back the top fabric and use a quarter inch seam to keep the batting attached to the bottom piece of flannel. (This step will make it easier when closing up the opening.)
When I come to the second set of double pins I continue sewing all three layers with a half inch seam again. At the corner I will back stitch.
Clip the corners, being careful not to cut too close. Make sure there are no pins still in place.

Then turn it right side out.  (I think this is my favorite part.)

I use a bone folder from my card making tools to help push the corners. It has a nice rounded corner.

Use a whip stitch or ladder stitch to sew the opening closed. There is an excellent tutorial for the ladder stitch by Mollie at Wild Olive here
Now you are ready for the top stitching.  Click here for the second part of this tutorial. 


I will be linking this tutorial up to Needles and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 


  1. A great Tutorial...good pics and explanation....both parts. the plastic Tie Grid marker is genius. Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting from Needle and Thread Thursday!
    Sue CollectInTexas Gal

  2. Great tutorial for a cute blanket ....thanks for sharing Marie (

  3. What a great idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

  4. cute little blankie! I'm sure that all of the babies just love cuddling with them!

    Thanks for linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation


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