Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chenille Baby Blanket Finally Completed

So I finally finished the baby blanket I wanted to make for my niece before her baby shower.  It was a very enjoyable and rewarding project and I am definitely going to make more.  My grandchildren, who saw this during the process, are requesting Grandma to make them one also.  I decided I would sew each of them one the size of a throw since they like to snuggle in a blanket while watching TV.  I hope they'll treasure it forever because, of course, lots of love is going into sewing these.  :)

I am going to attempt to post my tutorial and not-so-professional photos of the blanket during each of the stages.    I want to say thank you to Anneliese of and Rachel of  I received my inspiration and direction from Anneliese and additional advice for novice sewing from Rachel.  The two combined helped me to create this blanket.  And don't let me forget to mention Julie of who encouraged me to start a blog.

The final product is pictured below:

I chose the fabric "Celestial Dreams" by Laurel Burch which I felt was gender neutral since she decided not to find out the sex of the baby until she gives birth.  It's a beautiful fabric up close but my photography is lacking. Anyway, to continue with this tutorial I will say that you need the following:

1 -1/4 yards of 100% cotton fabric (preferably a heavier weight fabric)
1-1/4 yards each of 100% cotton flannel fabric (3 coordinating colors)
2" Satin Blanket Binding - 180"
Thread of a coordinating color (I used Mettler 100% cotton silk finish thread - 547 yards) 
Olfa Chenille Cutter or a very sharp pair of scissors

You can see the fabrics I chose above, the flannel colors to match the primary fabric print.  I decided to also choose a flannel print as did Anneliese and Rachel because I thought it would add something special to the color palette and I was happy with the result.  I bought my primary fabric at Fat Quarters Shop online and the flannel and blanket binding at Hancock Fabrics locally.

I layered the flannel right side up on top of the primary fabric which was facing right side down.  

My lovely granddaughter kept me company as I pinned all the layers together.  She was so helpful in handing the pins to me as I needed them.  She also enjoyed playing in my sewing kit.  :)

I also used a fabric marker (in hindsight I would have used fabric chalk) to draw a diagonal line from one corner of the blanket to the opposite corner as this line will be the first quilting line that is a guide for the remainder of the quilting lines.  These lines create little channels in the material for creating the chenille.  Please stitch on the bias as this produces a better looking product.  I decided to take the advice of the blogs I read and I'm glad that I did.  (I forgot to take a picture of this step).  :(

Now the fun begins.....stitch the main line from corner to corner using the line you drew as a guide.  Try to stitch as straight as possible but if it is not perfectly straight I wouldn't fret too much.  The end product is so beautiful that you don't really notice the imperfections.  Use the first stitched line as a guide to sew each additional line approximately 1/2 inch apart.  This part is probably the most time consuming but for me was very relaxing and enjoyable.  This took approximately 4 hours.  My grandchildren were impatient.  :)  They couldn't wait for me to finish it.  I did have an obstacle or two.  In the beginning the tension on my machine was off but when I figured out what was wrong (that's a whole 'nother story) I was on a roll to completion.  (Little tip:  Make sure you have a few bobbins already wound with your thread in advance.  It makes switching out bobbins easier).

As you can see above, three of my grandangels couldn't wait to give it a quick snuggle.  This is the blanket after all the stitching was completed and without the blanket binding.  ;)

Now take the chenille cutter or a pair of sharp scissors and cut through each of the stitched channels only cutting the three layers of flannel.  Be careful not to cut the primary printed cotton.  This part was scary to me because I was so worried I would cut the main fabric.  I didn't own a chenille cutter and both times I went to purchase it the store was completely out so I used scissors.  It wasn't difficult but it was probably more time consuming without it.  The picture above is after I made all the cuts.  Sorry the picture isn't so good.  At this point it is still quite a pretty product but it's still not done.  Also, this is the time when you want to trim up all the edges since the layers tend to shift while sewing.  Don't be afraid to trim the edges and square it up.  I especially needed to do this since two of the pieces of fabric I bought at the local shop weren't really cut properly.  

I used a cereal bowl as a template to create the rounded corner (see above) and used my fabric marker and then cut the first corner.

The first rounded corner was used as a guide to cut the remaining corners (see above).  :)  The rounded corners really make this quilt so pretty and gives it that extra special something.  

Next I used 2" satin blanket binding to create a 1" border around the blanket.  This only required one package of blanket binding.  I opened up the binding and used the iron to make a seam down the middle of the entire length of the binding.  The next step is to place the edges of the blanket into the binding and pin onto the blanket.  Stitch the binding onto your blanket staying as close to the edge as possible but not missing the binding on the other side of the quilt.  The corners are a bit tricky and I am certain I didn't do the most professional job but it was still pretty.  I'll have to learn to perfect that part and if a more experienced seamstress can give me a tip I would gladly accept it.

Now the final step...I washed the blanket in warm, rinsed in cold and put it in the dryer on permanent press. Upon removal from the dryer, delightful fluffy little rows of chenille seem to magically appear and the fragrance from washing it seemed to emanate from the flannel.  This was a gratifying and enjoyable project!  It makes a wonderful gift for someone special.  


  1. They absolutely love the blanket and I know it will be a keepsake. Danielle already said that. It turned out beautiful and it is unique!

  2. I'm so glad that I was able to help you make this! It looks great, and I hope your niece loves it!

  3. Thanks, Rachel, the additional information you posted on your site really helped. :)