Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Charlotte Threads of Love - NICU Blanket Tutorial

As many of you know, I make items for Charlotte Threads of Love which is our local chapter of a wonderful national organization that provides items to the local Neonatal Intensive Care Units in our area.  While there are several items that we make, one of the most widely used items is the blanket.  Some of my students are interested in helping to make these little blankets so I wanted to post a tutorial on how they are made.

First of all, the chapter provides the fabric and labels for these little blankets.  Volunteers just provide the thread and love. =)  So if you are local to Charlotte and would also like to help make blankets, please let me know and I will provide you with pre-cut blanket packets.  If you already have fabric and would like to make these blankets, the cut dimensions are approx. 18" long by 22" wide (a fat quarter size). Blankets are made up of one piece of a cotton print and one piece of flannel for softness.  Please read on for other requirements that go into the blanket.

Threads of Love - Blanket Tutorial

Here is a PDF file with the instructions if you prefer: Blanket Tutorial

First of all, I apologize that there will be two different blankets used in this tutorial.  When I was taking the pictures, I was making several blankets at the same time and I lost track of the blanket that I started with!

**When making items for these special babies, please keep all supplies and finished items in a sealed Ziploc bag to keep it free from pet hair, dust and dirt. 

Let's get started.....

1.  Take the two pieces of fabric (one is a printed cotton and the other is flannel) and lay them on top of each other with the right sides (pretty sides) facing each other.  Pin the two pieces together.

 To leave an opening where the blanket will be turned right side out after sewing, make two marks 4"apart with a fabric pencil along one of the long sides of the blanket OR you can use two pins as in the picture below.  You will NOT sew between your marks.

2.  Starting at the opening, sew around the blanket using 3/8" seam allowance.  Make sure to reverse stitch where the opening is.

3.  Before turning the blanket right side out, trim off the excess fabric at the corners.  This will help in turning it right side out.  Turn the blanket right side out.

4.  Iron the blanket flat making sure that the seam does not tuck itself in.  Also tuck in the fabric at the opening while ironing. 

5.  Next topstitch 1/4" away from the edge of the blanket all the way around it.  You can use a straight stitch, zig zag or a decorative stitch here.  You will also close the opening in this step so make sure you sew close enough to the edge.  You could also trim the blanket with ric rac if you have extra.  I used a decorative stitch on my example below.

Here is the stitching on the flannel side:

6.  Lastly, sew on a Threads of Love ribbon label near where the opening was (along one of the long sides).  You can use a straight stitch to sew around the perimeter of the label or a zig zag stitch.

And you are done!  Now that was easy, wasn't it?  And now just imagine the happiness you will bring to a parent when they walk into the NICU and see their little one with a sweet, little blanket. =)  Take it from me, it will make their day.  We still have all of ours from our girl's stay in the NICU.  They still make me smile too.

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