Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TUTORIAL: gauzey swaddle blankets

With each baby addition to our family, new products pop up on the market. And 4 years ago when Owen was born I'd never seen gauze swaddle blankets. But by the time he was done swaddling, all my friends were using these really cool blankets. And they're genius!--lightweight (which is great in a hot climate), a bit stretchy, and they wrap so nicely around a baby. So with Clara coming, I knew I wanted to make my own.
You can buy gauze swaddle blankets in a 3 or 4 pack at Target and other retail stores. But I didn't care for their prints and wanted to make them more bright and cheery.
Like any receiving blanket these are easy to do. We're just sewing/finishing off the sides of a 45x45 inch square piece of fabric (that's 1 1/4 yards of fabric).

But I'm sure your big question is---where do you find colorful gauze fabric?

You've got a few options:
• Joann and other large fabric stores carry a few colors and they always have white.
• You can dye the white fabric to a fun color (check out my easy fabric dyeing tutorial here). If you plan to dye fabric (rather than a onesie) however, make sure you have a very large bowl with enough water for the fabric to swim freely and get the fabric wet before dunking it in the dye. I would also cut the fabric down blanket size before dyeing so it's easier to swish around in the dye bath.
• If you live in LA area....I bought these fun colors (along with teal and dark blue) at Michael Levine in the LA Fabric District. They had lots of great options.
Okay, let's get started...
• Cut a 45 x 45 inch square of fabric (42x42 or less will work fine too).
Now, you've got a few options for sewing the edges under. You can always just serge the edges and fold them under but I wanted a more polished look. So...
• Option 1: Cut the raw edges into a fairly straight line (you can leave the selvage edges as-is). Iron the edges under about 1/4 inch, which isn't the easiest to do since gauze can be a bit wonky and stretchy. Then fold the ironed edge under another 1/4 inch and sew it down. Free-hand hold the edge as you sew (rather than pinning) and keep going. However, I found that it was hard to keep the edge as straight as I wanted. So I went with option 2 (easier for me)...
• Option 2: Cut the raw edges as above but don't bother with ironing. Just fold the edge under 1/4 inch, then fold it under another 1/4 inch and start pinning periodically around the blanket. Don't go crazy with the pinning; just enough to keep it all in-line as you sew. Sew down the edges And you've got a pretty little blanket!

NOTE: When you get to the corners, just fold one edge over the other. Don't both with mitered edges or anything fancy.
• Option 3: Add hearts or other simple applique to the top.
Cut hearts from scraps of knit fabric. I went with gold and white and just free-hand cut them by folding the fabric in half. Then fold the corners of the blanket under (as you would when swaddling a baby) so you don't place any hearts where their head might be which could be uncomfortable.
Then place your hearts around, pin them in place, and sew them on.
Go slowly around the curved areas and don't tug the fabric as you go. Lift your presser foot periodically, allowing the fabric to relax and pop back in place.
Three blankets done!
When giving as a gift, roll each blanket and tie them together with a fabric scrap ribbon and gift tag.
Easy baby shower gift.
Everyone will love them.
Sweet dreams baby.
Check out the Celebrate BABY archives HERE.

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