Saturday, June 4, 2011

Faux Chenille Baby Blanket

I mentioned in my last post that I recently made a baby blanket for Selah. Honestly, I never thought I'd be able to sew her a blanket, but I knew I had to when I saw this tutorial on Dana's blog: MADE: Faux Chenille Baby Blanket Tutorial 

My faux chenille blanket in all it's glorious splendor

There were a few obstacles in my way... Mainly, that I had NEVER sewn anything by myself in my entire life. This was closely followed by the minor detail that I didn't have a sewing machine. Never one to let practical details spoil my dreaming, I borrowed a sewing machine from my mom and watched some YouTube videos on how to thread a sewing machine and load a bobbin. There a tons of videos available, just search 'how to..' for your particular machine brand.
 
Selah loves her blanket!

  
You have to start somewhere, so why not make it fabulous?
 Before you are scared away, let me say this project is a great beginner project for several reasons:
  1. It's almost all STRAIGHT LINES. This makes things easy for fumbly bumbly new sewers like myself.
  2. It's on a large scale, so it's easy to fix mistakes.
  3. It's not technically difficult, but it looks complicated.
  4. It's an easy(ish) project with a big WOW factor.

An itty-bitty Selah watching me sew.

Choosing Fabric
I chose to use fabric designer Alexander Henry's Masai Swirl Blue for the top side of Selah's blanket. I fell in love with the motion of the pattern and the vivid colors. It was girly, without being overwhelmingly so. I purchased mine at City Craft Modern Fabrics, a virtual wonderland of hip fabrics. If you are near Dallas, TX it's worth a visit to drool in person over the amazing fabrics. If not, you can also buy fabric from them on their website.


For the back of the blanket I choose a cream, rust, peacock blue, and plum 100% cotton.  This is a close-up of the layers after one wash and dry. The layers will continue to 'ruffle' and soften, just like chenille, as the blanket is loved.


Learn from my Mistakes: Tips I Gained Along the Way 
Although I followed Dana's tutorial very closely, I messed up learned a few things along the way!
  • Check the alignment of your stitching every 4-5 rows or so. About that far in, my STRAIGHT LINES were not so, umm STRAIGHT anymore. Take the time to carefully re-draw another correct line with a fabric marker before your line goes seriously wonky.
  • After cutting between one row of stitching with scissors, I quickly went to my local sewing store and picked up a chenille cutter. It will save you hours upon hours, and you can use it for all the blankets you make for your friends!
  • Be diligent to backstitch the beginning and end of each row, and slash the layers BEFORE you trim the blanket to a square. I didn't do either of these, and then when I cut the layers on the back of the blanket, my careful stitching was pulled out at the ends of several of the rows. Gah!
  •  I double-stitched the binding just to make it extra durable; plus I liked the added detail.

Just be patient with yourself and take your time :) I'd love to answer any questions you have and see the blankets that you have made!

-Lindsey

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