Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reverse Applique Naptime Blankets

Before you start asking, no, I don't have any children (unless small furry ones count...I think they somewhat do. Especially when they wake you up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and sing the song of their people at your bedroom door at 6am...)

However, these cute little blankets come together so quickly that, based on my knowledge of average naptimes (I do have two young nephews), you could whip up a few in no time! If you're pressed for time, you could even skip the reverse applique and still have a cute little blanket. And they're so much fun to make! Once you learn reverse applique, there's no going back--no special machine required! 

To make the blanket, you will need at least a yard of flannel, depending on how large you want your blanket. I made these as baby blankets for friends, so one yard was a good amount. You might want more yardage for older children. Joann's has an incredibly cute flannel selection if you've never checked it out, and if you watch for it, they will often mark their flannel 50% off!

You will also need a contrasting flannel for the applique, at least 1/8 of a yard, depending on your applique, matching thread,  and a serger to do the rolled hem. Though, you could use bias tape or some other type of binding if you don't have access to a serger, or even create a lined blanket with another yard of flannel. But that's another tutorial for another time! 

Lastly, find the template for your applique. All you're really needing is an outline, so you can pull from all sorts of places or draw your own! Online, coloring books, pictures...just make sure it's the size you want. I would recommend keeping the design simple because you will be outlining it with your machine. 

Now, the steps! 

Wash you flannel. I know, you're ready to dive in, but flannel has been known to shrink. Better safe than sorry.

Lay out your freshly-laundered flannel onto a cutting mat. Use a rotary cutter or scissors and a ruler to cut the selvage.

Fold the fabric so that all four corners meet. Make sure everything is smoothed flat, then find something round to use as your corner template. I used a plate, but you can use a bowl, a CD, or whatever is nearby, as long as it gives you a nice, rounded corner when you trim around it.

Once your corner is how you want it, use your serger to create a rolled hem around the blanket. If you aren't sure how, there are tons of great tutorials online. It's just a matter of adjusting a couple of settings on your machine. The rolled hem does wonders for creating a finished look! 

You can stop here and still have a beautifully simple and adorable blanket, or you can continue on to the applique. Ready? Onward, brave sewists! 

Pick which corner of the blanket you'd like for your applique. I put mine on the bottom right, but it's just a matter of preference. Place your template on top of the fabric where you want your design, and place your small piece of contrasting flannel underneath the fabric. Make sure everything is lined up, and pin both the template and the contrasting flannel so it won't shift. 

Outline your design with your sewing machine, keeping about 1/8-1/4" from the template. I used a simple straight-stich here, but you can also use a zig-zag for added strength. Just make sure to lessen your stitch length and width so your design doesn't get too crazy. You can also play around with decorative stitches, but I would definitely recommend practicing on a scrap piece to make sure it looks how you want it before trying it on the blanket.

Check and make sure you caught the bottom piece of flannel all the way around. Unpin your template, and you should have a nice stitched outline left on your fabric. Using a pair of embroidery scissors (or any small, sharp scissors...or big scissors if you're careful), carefully cut away the fabric inside the outline to reveal the contrasting fabric underneath. Leave a 1/8-1/4" buffer zone around the stitching to make sure you don't nick it. 

Trim off the excess around the piece underneath, using the same parameters as before, and you're done! Step back and bask in the glory of your awesomeness!

Can't you tell I love making these? :)

Happy sewing!

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