What’s up dudes and dudettes? Today I’m going to show you how to make a snuggly soft blanket with quilting cotton on one side and minky on the other. It’s Fall here in Michigan. It’s starting to get chilly at night, so who doesn’t need a super soft blanket to curl up in?
I’m extra excited because I thought I lost this tutorial. I actually made this blanket about a year ago, but I misplaced the photo and video files. I spent hours looking for them and finally gave up. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for them, I accidentally stumbled across the folder they were hiding in!
You’ll notice I have a distinct Halloween theme going on. Of course, you can choose whatever fabrics you want. I think it’d be fun to do a Christmas themed blanket. Maybe even make a bunch of them and give them out as gifts for the holidays. Because who doesn’t want more blankets?
Or skip the holiday theme and just pick a pretty quilting cotton that matches your decor.
If you’re not familiar with minky, it’s a super soft fabric that’s almost like a blend between short pile fur and fleece. It’s very common in baby blankets — which, by the way, is another great use for this blanket. Baby showers!
You can easily switch out the minky for fleece or chenille or sherpa fabric. Anything soft and thick should work as a backing that will make this a nice warm throw blanket.
Check out the video or follow along with the text/photo instructions below.
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Click here to watch the video on Youtube.
MATERIALS AND MEASUREMENTS
I wanted a gigantic behemoth of a blanket I could curl up in when it gets really chilly in the winter time. That’s part of the reason I did the patchwork top with the four different fabrics — I wanted to use the full width of the minky, which is 60″. You won’t find many quilting cottons (at least not cool ones) in that width. But the bonus is also that I got to pick four fabrics instead of one! Ha!
To simplify things, I bought 2 yards of minky and went with that as my overall blanket size — 60″ x 72″. It”s not really a standard blanket size, but so what?
For my top fabrics, I bought 1 yard of each. Further into the tutorial, I will show the proper way to cut each piece of fabric down to a rectangle that measures 31″ x 36″.
If you’re OK with a smaller blanket (especially if you’re making it for a baby or a child) you can absolutely get away with a single quilting cotton on top. It’ll save you a bit of dough AND a bit of time, since you won’t have to piece the top together.
For reference, a receiving blanket is traditionally 40″ x 40″, and since most quilting cottons are 44″ wide, that’s pretty much perfect. A “toddler size” blanket is more like 40″ x 60″ so that would be another good size to go with if you only want a single fabric for the top.
Prewash your fabrics. Wovens tend to unravel in the wash, and you can lose as much as an inch that way. If you don’t care, then by all means, throw your raw edged fabric in and be done with it. Lots of people recommend trimming the raw edges with pinking shears to prevent unraveling. Honestly, I still get a fair amount of unraveling even with that method. And if the threads get all tangled up, it just exacerbates the problem. So I like to serge the raw edges. If you don’t have a serger, you can stitch about 1/4″ or even 1/8″ from the edge and that should keep the unraveling to a minimum.
Once everything is washed and dried, remove the stitches. (I use a rotary cutter, but you can use scissors, or even a seam ripper if you really want to minimize fabric loss.) I was so lazy, I just serged this when it was still folded the way I bought it. That’s how I roll.
Since we’re doing some patchwork, straight edges and perfectly square corners are a must. The way to ensure that is to rip the fabric along the grain. So snip into your fabric about 1/2″ from the edge of the fabric, and then rip it.
RIP IT GOOD!
Something to note here:
Between the prewashing and the ripping, you’ll probably lose an inch or two of fabric. For this reason, if you’re shooting for a very specific sized blanket, it’s a smart idea to buy a few inches extra. That’s easier to do in a store, where you can get odd amounts like one and a 1/4 yard. Not as easy to do online where you might be forced to by in half or full yard increments. So I’m being loose with my measurements. My blanket will turn out roughly 60″ x 72″, and I’m perfectly fine if it’s not spot on.
Rip both raw edges along the grain for all of the woven fabrics.
Note that I said WOVEN FABRICS. Do not try to rip the minky. Not unless you want something like THIS to happen.
See, I didn’t know if you could rip minky. I know you can rip faux fur. Instead of looking it up, I decided to give it a whirl. Because I’m ballsy like that.
Well, this is what being ballsy gets you.
Luckily I had some extra minky leftover from a different project, and I just patched the two together. It’s a different color, but it’ll give my blanket a little extra… accidental detail.
And anyway, we’re going to leave cutting the minky down until we have a finished size for the blanket top. So set the minky aside for now.
Once you’ve got the edges of your quilting cotton squared up, it’s time to press. Yes, I’m being a good little seamstress today and using my iron, as much as I loathe it. Again, we’re pressing the quitling fabric, but not the minky. Minky shouldn’t need pressing, really. It doesn’t seem to wrinkle much.
Now that everything is squared up and pressed flat, we’re going to start cutting the quilting cotton down to size. I’m folding my fabric in half becasue it’s easier to cut that way, especially if you’re using a rotary cutter. I’ll start by trimming off one side of the selvedges and then measuring out 31″ in width.
On your marks! Get set! CUT! Set the scraps aside for some later projects.
Rinse and repeat for the four pieces of quilting cotton.
I generally have this decided beforehand — I spent a LONG time narrowing down these fabrics from about 50 different Halloween fabrics I liked. So I pretty much know what’s going where, but it never hurts to lay things out one last time to decided if that’s how you want it. Maybe you suddenly decide you want the candy next to the jackolanterns… except then the two fabrics with black backgrounds are right on top of one another, and I simply can’t have that. Onward!
Starting with the top two panels, slap them right sides together, line up the corners, and pin.
Make sure the fabrics are oriented how you want, i.e. nothing is upside-down that shouldn’t be.
Sew using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
If you end up with a little uneven-ness at the bottom of the seam, just snip the longer edge with your scissors and rip to even things up.
Press the seam open with your iron.
Repeat this for the bottom two fabrics. Right sides together, pin, sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance, even up the bottom edge if necessary, and press the seam open.
Now we’ll line the two blocks up. The key here is to line that center seam up just right when we’re pinning.
Since we really want that seam line to match up, it’s best to start pinning from the center, and move out to the edges.
So slap these right sides together, and start pinning.
Just like before, stitch a 1/2″ seam allowance.
And then press the seam open.
If we did everything just right, that center seam should match up just about perfectly. Huzzah!
Now it’s time to face the minky. If your minky came with a raggedy-ass edge like this, you’ll need to do a little trim work. Mine has these handy dots, which means I can just follow along one of the dotted lines to keep my cut line straight.
No dotes? Then just fold it in half, selvedge-to-selvedge, and trim it straight. Again, a rotary cutter is always helpful for this kind of thing, because you can get a perfectly straight line at a perfect 90-degree angle from the selvedge.
I’m going to leave the other raw end of the minky as is for now. Mark the center of the CUT edge of the minky, and line this up with the center of the woven blanket top, right sides together. Note that I’m pinning with the minky on the bottom. I find this keeps the minky from shifting/stretching while pinning.
Pin from the center out to the edges.
If we measured right earlier, then our woven top should be exactly lining up with the edges of the minky. Time to pin down both sides, keeping the edges nice and even.
Once we have the top and both sides pinned, I want to make sure all my layers are nice and flat and unwrinkled. If you have somewhere you can lay the whole blanket out flat, that’s the easiest way. But if you’ve got limited space — like maybe you’re working on a table top and taking photos for a tutorial — here’s a little trick. Starting at the top pinned edge, roll the blanket toward the bottom like a jelly roll.
As you roll, make sure everything remains flat and unwrinkled. Smush out any creases.
Once you reach the bottom unpinned edge, really make sure everything is laying flat and even and pin the two layers together. In the photo above, you can see there are a few extra inches of minky hanging out of the bottom. I’m going to pin, sew, and then trim the excess minky from the edge, but you could even up your edges now, if you’d prefer to do that instead.
Sewing something this massive can be quite a chore, so here’s a tip. Remember how we rolled the blanket up? Leave it rolled up. Sew along the bottom edge first, and then, as you sew up one of the sides, unroll as you go. Here’s a shot where you can sort of see the big roll of blanket in front of the machine as I sew.
You’ll still have two edges to sew with a big ol’ mass of blanket hanging out of the side of your machine. Just take your time, stopping now and then to adjust everything to keep it lying flat.
When you get to where you’re sewing up the fourth and final edge, leave a nice 6-7″ gap somewhere towards the middle. This is how you’ll turn the blanket right sides out. Just backstitch, skip over a section of the seam, pick a new starting point, backstitch and finish out your sewing.
Trim off the excess minky.
This next step is me being extra. In other words, it’s totally optional. If you want your blanket to have square edges, then you’ll just clip the corners like so… and then skip to where we turn the blanket out.
But if you want rounded corners, grab something nice and circular — Like the patented WhatTheCraft circle skirt guide! — and use it to trace out some rounded edges. Once you’ve marked the curved lines, pin along the marked lines to keep the fabric from shifting as you sew.
Starting an inch or two back from the curved line, backstitch along the straight seam line and then follow the marked curve. Again, once you get to the end, sew right over the previous seam line and backstitch.
After stitching, trim the excess fabric from the corners.
Now comes my favorite part. Find the gap you left in the seam, reach inside, allll the way down to the opposite end, grab a handful and pull. Keep pulling until the blanket is right sides out.
Once you’ve got the whole blanket turned, make sure the corners are good and turned out.
If you left your corners square this goes double for you. You’ll probably want to give the corners a few pokes with a chopstick or something like that to get ’em nice and sharp.
Now, we press!
Honestly, you can probably get away with finger-pressing, but I’m trying to set a good example for you guys. And pressing before topstitching does tend to give a crisper edge. Start by paying special attention to the gap we used for turning. Make sure the edges are turned in 1/2″ to match the seam allowance, press, and pin.
For the rest of the blanket, we can space the pins farther apart. You might be tempted to skip the pins since it’s just topstitching, and we’ve already sewn everything together. On a small project, I often do skip pinning when I topstitch. But for this big old floppy blanket, the layers can be unruly, and I find the pinning helps me keep all the layers where they should be while I sew.
Once everything is pressed and pinned, we topstitch! I like the look of two rows of topstitching on a blanket. So that’s what I did. I stitched about 1/8″ of an inch from the edge to start, and then I did another row right next to that. I used the edge of my presser foot as the guide, so it’s about 3/16″ of an inch from the first line of topstitching.
That’s it! The blanket is finished and ready for snuggling!