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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Faux Chenille Baby Blanket

Hello! I hope you've been having a relaxing holiday! I've been home visiting my family so I've been laying low. I'll have more fun ideas up for you soon! 

I'm pretty proud of this little blanket. I've never made a blanket or quilt before now and I've been feeling quite accomplished. Ha. It is NOWHERE close to perfect, but that's okay. It was a great learning experience and I'll know what to do better next time. Any mistakes are not too noticeable to an untrained eye anyway and I'm sure Matt's 15 month old niece won't care a bit. 
I cannot claim the genius behind this gorgeous faux chenille idea. The tutorial I followed is on Aesthetic Nest, here, and I also read Dana's tutorial for additional tips on Made, here. If you've never seen any of these faux chenille blankets before, you've got to go read the tutorials. It really is amazing how they're made and the result is just so beautiful. Basically you stack several layers of fabric, sew. then cut all the layers except the bottom layer. When you put it in the washer and dryer, the cut fabric frays up and creates the wavy fluffy appearance you see. Crazy and awesome. 
 Aren't those waves of chenille just beautiful?! I'm not going to lie to you and say it was super easy or fast, because it wasn't. And, of course, I made changes to the tutorial to make it more difficult on myself. I always do that. 
However, if you are wanting to make a beautiful blanket for a loved one, this one really is a show stopper. 
Just in case you want to make one, here's what I did that was different from the tutorial I used:
Annette Tatum Bohemian Ikat Diamond Pink Fabric (front of blanket)
High Loft Batting (crib size) (the kind of batting used for a fluffy blanket appearance)*
White fabric with a little print
4 various coordinating colors of cotton flannel
1/2 inch satin binding (made by me from 2 inch satin binding-directions on how here)

*In hind sight, this may not be the best kind to use. :)

And this awesome tool, the Olfa Chenille Cutter, was a lifesaver. Seriously. Cutting all those layers takes time and concentrated effort and lots of time. In my experience, it was well worth having one.

So when I made my sample square, the backing fabric that I did not cut (the printed fabric) seemed thinner and floppier than I had anticipated. I'm sure it would have been fine, but I wanted it to be a little thicker so I decided to add in some layers of flannel so the chenille would be even fluffier, and to also make that back layer thicker. My plan worked except it was much more difficult to sew. It was heavy and stiff, during the sewing process so it did not just glide through the machine-I did a lot of tugging and pulling and moving the fabric around. The end product was great, but getting there was tough. I think a thinner batting would do the trick just fine and it may make it a little easier to sew. 

So instead of layering just 1 layer of back printed fabric, I stacked that fabric (printed side down) first, then the layer of batting, then the all white fabric (it had a little print on it which helped in the cutting process since I could easily tell which layers to cut) then the 4 layers of cotton flannel on top. I safety pinned all layers and sewed as directed in the tutorial. When cutting I used the  Olfa Chenille Cutter to cut only the flannel layers (as directed in the tutorial) so the back layer was actually 3 layers (the printed fabric, the batting, and the white fabric). 

If you make one and add in all these layers, know that it will feel crazy stiff when you sew it, but it will fluff up and be really nice when you cut it up and wash and dry it. 

When binding, I followed the directions on the tutorial, but it was very difficult to fit all those layers into 1/2 inch binding even with LOTS of pinning. I did it, but I can't say it was the prettiest result. A wider binding would have been just as pretty and easier to sew.

Obviously this is not a complete tutorial. You'll need to read this tutorial to see a complete guide. The only thing I did different really was add the layers! 

Just thought I'd share my findings and tips! I hope they help if you make one, too!
I used some of the extra binding as a ribbon to tie around it. You don't even need a gift bag! 
I'd love to see yours if you make one or hear how it went if you add the layers like I did!
Thanks for reading! 


Tina said...

Happy new year!

Mommy Evolution said...

Just adorable! Please share your projects at www.creativecraftsthursday.blogspot.com each and every week and check out what other creative divas are up to.

Kerry @ Made For Real said...

So sweet - beautiful : )

Jen @ de Jong Dream House said...

So cute! Almost makes me want to have a new baby!

Mandy Beyeler said...

Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - you were featured today!
--Mandy, www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

Kelli Fannin Quilts said...

I love it Allie! I've never made one of these, and they look like lots of fun. I popped over from Six Sister's Stuff. I linked up a quilt this week, too. Happy Thursday! :)

jennifer said...

Did you sew your lines less than 1/2" apart? I've made several of these blankets using the Aesthetic Nest tutorial. But your lines look 'tighter' than mine, and I like it!

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