A plush baby blanket with a lush satin ruffle – it just doesn’t get any cozier than this! We combined two adorable Cuddle minky prints from Shannon Fabrics: Dream Big in Banana from their Sweet Melody Designs collection with Alotta Dots in Graphite. Around the edge is a deep ruffle in a Silky Satin Solid, also by Shannon Fabrics. It’s an absolutely beautiful blend of soft and smooth textures. In fact, I’m a little tempted to request my own softee security blanket; there’s not a time limit on those, right?
This type of fleece can be a bit slippery on the back; so with wrong sides together, we knew there could be a problem with the layers shifting. However, we didn’t want to add any quilting stitches to hold the layers together as we felt it would take away from the smooth look of the finished blanket.
Instead, we came up with a clever solution: there’s a secret layer of flannel in between the two layers of Cuddle. The double-napped flannel (brushed on both sides) keeps the two layers from shifting and adds a little extra oomph and insulation as well.
Make sure you pre-wash your flannel. Otherwise, it could shrink up more than the Cuddle and cause your lovely blankie to twist and turn after laundering.
As baby shower gifts go, there really is no such thing as too many blankets. Before babies are completely mobile, you always need something to cover a surface and make a soft, safe area for playing, napping or eating. The more blankets the merrier, and when it’s as cute as this one, you know yours will be the one Mom and Dad reach for time and again.
Shannon’s Dream Big print comes in the light banana yellow we used as well as a sweet blush pink and classic baby blue.
Even with our clever layering trick, you will still be sewing through a number of somewhat slippery layers. Make sure you have a machine with a good feeding system, like the AcuFeed™ Flex Layered Fabric Feeding System, built into the Janome Skyline S7 we used for our sample.
The blanket finishes at approximately 34” x 34” with a 2½” ruffle all around.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but a good idea if you don’t have a built-in feeding system; we used the AucFeed™ Flex built-in feeding system on our Skyline S7
- Ruffler attachment; optional, but a super-cool time saver
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide fabric for the blanket front: we used 58/60” Dream Big Cuddle in Banana from the Sweet Melody Designs collection by Shannon Fabrics
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide fabric for the blanket back: we used 58/60” Alotta Dots Cuddle in Graphite from Shannon Fabrics
- 1¼ yard of 44”+ wide double-napped flannel for the interior blanket layer: we used yellow but white or any light color of Double Napped Flannel would work
NOTE: As mentioned above, flannel is prone to shrinking. This is why we have suggested getting more than a yard to start with. Prewash the flannel then press flat prior to cutting your final 35” square.
- 1 yard of 60″ wide satin for the blanket ruffle: we used 60” Silky Satin in Off White from Shannon Fabrics
NOTE: If your satin is narrower, you’ll need more fabric. See the math note below to figure out the amount.
- All-purpose sewing thread to match fabric
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric pencil or pen
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth for ironing the Cuddle
- From the front fabric cut ONE 35″ x 35″ square.
- From the back fabric cut ONE 35″ x 35″ square.
- From the cotton flannel fabric, cut ONE 35″ x 35″ square.
- Layer the panels: back panel wrong side up, flannel, front panel right side up.
- Using a small glass or cup as a template, draw in a matching curve at each corner.
- Cut out the curve through all the layers.
- From the ruffle fabric, cut SIX strips 6″ x width of fabric (WOF).
NOTE: We used the rule of thumb that says your ruffle needs to be approximately 2½ times the length of the edge to which you’re applying the ruffle. Since our blanket will be approximately 34″ square when finished, we multiplied 34″ by 4 to get 136″. Then we multiplied 136″ by 2.5″ to get 340″. Finally, we divided this new total length by the width of fabric (WOF) to get the number of strips we’d need. In our sample, that meant dividing 340″ by 60″. This equaled 5.66, which we rounded up to 6. We wanted a 2½” finished ruffle, so we knew our ruffle strips would need to be 6″ to account for folding the strip in half plus a ½” seam allowance (6 strips at 6” used up our one yard of satin). After all this math-noodlin’, we cut our SIX 6″ x WOF strips. Sewn together, this gave us approximately 357½” of ruffle fabric to work with. If you are new to this technique, you can check out our tutorial on machine gathering.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the ruffle
- Sew all the 6″ strips together end to end. To do this, place two strips right sides together and stitch along the 6″ edge, using a ½” seam allowance. Repeat to create one long strip. Press all seam allowances open and flat.
- Fold and press this long ruffle piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
- Hem one end of ruffle. To do this, turn one end under ¼” and press, turn under another ¼” and press again, then sew in place close to the folded edge.
- Starting just past the narrow hem, ruffle the entire folded strip. Remember, your goal is to gather the strip to the approximate length of the four sides of the blanket (136″). Leave some extra length for overlapping to finish the ends. No need to have an exact measurement, just give yourself plenty to work with.
NOTE: This is a LOT o’ ruffling, which is why we opted to use the Ruffler attachment for our Janome machine. These contraptions look intimidating but are easy to use. Most machine manufacturers offer something similar to what we show, and the Janome version is actually made to fit both Janome machines as well as machines from other manufacturers. We have a short technique article on using this accessory. If you don’t have a ruffler attachment, you can ruffle the traditional way with two lines of machine basting. With this much length, it’s a good idea to do the machine basting in easy-to-work-with sections of about 18″ or so. Again, you can take a look at our tutorial on machine gathering.
- If you are using a Ruffler attachment, note that satin fabric can be slippery. It’s best to pin the raw edges with the head of the pin facing to the raw edge side of the ruffle, and with a pin set about every 3-4″. This will help keep the satin fabric from twisting as it is fed into the ruffler. Be sure to remove pins as you feed the satin fabric into the ruffler!
- Find the front panel, removing it from the flannel and the back panel layers. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Starting with the hemmed end, and with the back of that hem against the right side of the blanket (right side to right side), pin the ruffle to the right side of the front panel. Align the raw edges of the ruffle with the raw edge of the fabric.
- When you have about six inches remaining before the beginning and the end meet, lay out the end of the ruffle so it overlaps the beginning by about 2½”.
- Cut off the excess ruffle, then fold a hem into this end in the same manner as the hem at the head of the ruffle.
- Stitch the hem in place. If you’ve used a Ruffler attachment, you’ll need to switch back to your regular presser foot.
- Overlap the two finished ends so the ruffle lays flat and finish pinning.
- Machine baste the ruffle in place around all four sides.
NOTE: We engaged our AcuFeed™ Flex feeding system. Working with a built-in feeding system or a Walking or Even Feed foot is best for the remainder of the construction.
Assemble the layers
- Find the back panel and the flannel. Layer the flannel against the wrong side of the back panel. The raw edges of both layers should be flush all around.
- Machine baste the flannel square to the wrong side of the back blanket panel, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Carefully pin the extra ruffle fabric away from the corners so it does not get caught up in the stitching when the front and back are sewn together,
- Layer the flannel/back fabric panel and the ruffle/front fabric panel right sides together. The ruffle is now sandwiched between the layers.
- Pin in place, using plenty of pins. Leave a 3-4″ opening along one side for turning.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch through all layers around all four sides, remembering to leave that 3-4″ opening for turning. Stitch slowly, smoothing the layers as you go; this will help insure your ruffle stays flat. As mentioned above, we are still using our built-in AcuFeed™ Flex feeding system.
- Clip all four corner curves. Then, trim the flannel/back fabric close to the seam, but be careful not to cut into your stitching. Don’t trim the ruffle/front fabric.
- Turn blanket right side out through the opening.
- Pull out the ruffle into position, and press from each side. Use a pressing cloth/towel and low heat as the Cuddle does NOT react well to direct or high heat from an iron. It will ruin the nap and any embossing in the fabric.
- Use a long, blunt-end tool to round out the corner curves; a long knitting needle or chopstick works well.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Finger press. Pin in place.
- Hand stitch the opening closed. Cuddle is great for hiding hand stitching; it simply disappears into the nap.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild