Cuddle up with this snuggly set: a cozy, Hand-tied blanket and a matching closed-end pillowcase. Great for Nap/rest time at school or preschool, a quick trip to grandma’s for the day, or make a set to keep at your own home for any sleepy time house guests.
Both elements are beginner friendly, and the techniques you’ll learn (if new) can be used down the road, like how to Hand-tie and how to create the overlapping ends of a pillowcase.
You can use any machine to complete this set. We selected the Janome Loft 100, a newer, entry level model we really like. It has a built-in, one-Hand Needle threader, which is super useful when switching Thread colors, which we always recommend when your main fabric and accent fabric are quite different – as they are on our pillowcase. This little powerhouse also speeds along at up to 820 spm and have 100 built-in stitches!
If you’re a S4H regular, you know we’re a Janome exclusive studio, which means we get to sew with the best machines on the market. It’s also one of the main reasons the samples you see here turn out so beautifully professional – from quick and easy projects, like this one, to dimensional wonders, like our popular duffles and backpacks. Our thanks to Janome for the machines and for their sponsorship that allow us to offer the instructions free to you!
The cozy blanket is made up of just two layers: a lovely printed quilting cotton and a lush faux sherpa fleece. The deep pile of the sherpa eliminates the need for additional Batting, although you can always choose to add a layer if desired.
The layers are Hand-tied with pretty yarn bows. This is not only an adorable Finish, it’s also what keeps the layers from shifting during Nap time as well as in the laundry.
We added 40 yarn bows in two colors at the center points of our fabric’s sunburst motif. The number ties you’ll need will depend on your fabric and what looks best to you. You can, of course, choose to use a single color or even more than two colors. A rainbow could be cute!
The pillowcase is made from standard quilting cottons, one for the main panels and a second for the overlapping ends. If you’re new to making a closed-end case, after this project, it may just become your go-to favorite. A wide “pocket” slips over the pillow itself, holding the pillow in place and hiding it from view. We have a second overlapping-ends pillowcase with an added accent flange you can review here and a jumbo body pillow version here.
The Blanket finishes at approximately 42” x 48”. The Pillowcase is sized to fit a standard pillow (20” x 26”).
Our thanks again to Janome America for their support of this project and many of the other most popular projects across the S4H site. To understand first-Hand why we are a Janome Exclusive studio, we invite you to visit a local Janome dealer for an in-person test stitch on the machines we consider to be the best in the industry. If you are just starting out or teaching someone to sew, the Janome Loft 100 is a great first machine to consider. To find out more, visit the Janome website and follow them on social media.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1½ yards of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the front of the blanket; we used Lil Sunpatch in Peony from the Lil Fabric collection by Kimberly Kight for Ruby Star Society
- 1¼ yards of 50”+ faux sherpa fleece or similar in a solid color to coordinate with your chosen quilting cotton; use used a faux sherpa fleece in natural
NOTE: As mentioned above, the blanket finishes at approximately 42” x 48”, but getting a full 1½ yards of the cotton allows a bit extra to Fussy cut your motif so it is centered side to side and top to bottom. The faux sherpa fleece is traditionally sold in wide widths, and as a solid, does not need fussy cutting. It can be cut WOF (width of fabric) at 49” x 43” with just the specified 1¼ yards.
- ONE skein of yarn in one or two colors for Hand tying; we used two colors to coordinate with our print fabric: pale pink and warm tan
- Large eye, sharp yarn Needle for threading the yarn through the layers
- Hand sewing Needle
- Seam sealant; optional for sealing the ends of the yarn bows
- ¾ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton for the main front and back panels; we used Lil Calico Apples in Kiss from the Lil Fabric collection by Kimberly Kight for Ruby Star Society
- ½ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton for the end panels; we used Lil Ribbon Strip in Peony from the Lil Fabric collection by Kimberly Kight for Ruby Star Society
NOTE: Fabric amounts shown are for a fabric with a random motif. If you choose a fabric with a strong directional motif, you may need additional fabric: 1¼ yards of the main fabric will allow a horizontal cut, and ⅝ yard of the accent fabric will allow a vertical cut.
FOR BOTH ITEMS:
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From the cotton print, Fussy cut ONE 43” x 49” panel.
NOTE: If working with a stripe-like motif, as we did, make sure your motif is running straight and true side to side and top to bottom. With a 44-45” width fabric, you’ll be trimming off just a thin strip.
- From the faux sherpa, cut ONE 49” x 43” panel.
NOTE: The dimensions are shown differently here because with the wider with of fleece products, it is better to cut the 49” side WOF (width of fabric).
- From the fabric for the main front and back panels, cut TWO 21” x 24” rectangles;
NOTE: We cut our rectangles side by side at 21” wide x 24” high, which worked great for our motif. If you have a horizontally directional motif, it may be better to cut 24” wide x 21” high, for which you would need 1¼ yards.
- From the fabric for the overlapping end panels, cut the following:
ONE 21” x 13” rectangle for bottom A
ONE 21” x 9” rectangle for bottom B
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Layer and stitch
- Place the cotton and sherpa layers right sides together. All four raw edges should be flush.
- Pin around all four sides, leaving an approximate 6” opening along one side for turning Right side out.
- Using a ½” Seam allowance, stitch all four sides. Remember to sharply pivot at each corner and to lock your Seam at either side of the opening.
- Trim all four corners.
- Turn the blanket Right side out through the opening you left in one side.
- Gently push out each corner. It won’t be a sharp point because of the loft of the sherpa, but push it out as best you can. A blunt knitting Needle, chopstick or point turn all work well for this step.
- Smooth together the layers and then add some Pins to hold that smoothness; the cotton likes to cling to the sherpa.
Tie together and close up the opening
- Find your one or two colors of yarn and the large-eye/sharp point yarn Needle.
- Follow our pattern or pick plan your own tying plan. Our fabric’s motif ran in rows, so that was an easy design to follow. We tied every other row and alternated the colors, pulling them through at the center point of each sunburst.
- Cut a length of yarn about 10-12″ and Thread it through the yarn Needle.
NOTE: This will be more than enough, but it’s always better to start with more than not enough, especially when making a bow. You can then simply Trim away the excess.
- Bring the thread down and then back up through the center of your chosen motif (we used our fabric’s sunbursts). Make sure you are going down and back through BOTH layers; these ties are what help hold the layers together.
- Remove the yarn from the needle and tie a tight knot.
- Tie a pretty little bow.
- Trim the ends to best match the size of your bow and add a dot of Seam sealant to keep the ends from raveling. You could also tie a tiny knot in each tail prior to trimming to Finish the ends and skip the Seam sealant.
- Repeat to tie a bow at all your other planned points.
- Re-Thread a standard Needle with Thread to best match your cotton print.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening you’d left for turning so the folded-in edges align with the sewn Seam. Pin closed.
- Hand stitch closed. We recommend a tiny ladder stitch for the best Finish.
Hem the bottom accent panels
- Find the two bottom accent panels: one at 21” x 13” and one at 21” x 9”.
- On the 21” x 9” panel, create a 4½” double fold hem. To do this, fold back one 21” raw edge ½” and press.
- Then, fold back an additional 4” and press again. This will bring the fold of the Hem to within ½” of the opposite 21” raw edge. Pin in place.
- Thread the machine with Thread to best match the accent fabric in the top and Bobbin.
- Stitch in place close to the inner fold.
- On the 21” x 13” panel, create a ½” double fold hem. To do this, fold back one 21” raw edge ¼” and press.
- Then, fold back an additional ¼” and press again.
- Stitch in place close to the inner fold.
- Set aside the two hemmed bottom panels.
Stitch the end panels to the main panels
- Place an end panel right sides together with the top of each main panel. Remember, one end panel is longer than the other. The longer end panel will become the bottom overlap, so if you have a specific front and back to your main panels, pin the longer end panel to the back main panel and the shorter end panel to the front main panel.
NOTE: If you are working with a directional print, make sure you are pinning together the top of the main panel with the bottom of the end panel.
- Pin in place across the 21” width of each layered panel.
- For the shorter end panel, there will be just a narrow raw edge. This is correct.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together. The longer end panel is shown below.
- On the shorter end panel, you will be stitching right along, but not on, the wider hem.
- Finish each seam allowance with your favorite method. We used an Overcast stitch.
NOTE: If you are brand new to finishing seams, we have a multi-part tutorial series you can review prior to starting.
- Press each seam allowance down towards the main panel.
- If necessary, re-Thread the machine with Thread to best match the main panel in the top and Bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Stitch across each panel, running the Seam just to the left of the main panel/end panel Seam within the main panel. You are stitching through the main panel itself as well as through the Seam allowance with you should have pressed down towards the main panel. This edgestitching secures the Seam allowance in its down position.
Layer to create the end panel overlap
- Place the longer panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Orient the panel so the end panel is positioned at the top of your work surface. This makes it easier to fold and pin.
- Place the shorter panel right side down on top of the longer panel. In other words, the two panels are now right sides together.
- Align the raw side edges of the panels as well as raw bottom edges. Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
- Make sure you align the horizontal end panel seams along both sides.
- When pinned, the hemmed edged of the longer panel should extend beyond the hemmed edge of the shorter panel by approximately 8”. This is correct and is what allows for the envelope-style closure.
- Fold the longer panel down over the shorter panel. Your upper fold should hit right along the top hemmed edge of the shorter panel. Pin along each side.
- We nested the end panel seam allowances for the flattest finish.
- It is this overlapping fold that creates the envelope-style opening at the bottom of the pillowcase.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch down both sides of the pillowcase and across the bottom. Remember to sharply pivot at each corner.
- NOTE: At the top, you are stitching along both sides up to the folded edge; do not stitch horizontally across the fold. The top end is simply a fold.
- As you did above, Finish the seam allowance with your favorite method. We again used an overcast stitch.
- Here’s a view prior to turning Right side out, showing the side seams (no horizontal stitching across that top fold!) and the Seam allowance finishing stitches.
- And one final view prior to turning Right side out, showing the two differently sized “hems” – a smaller one folded and stitched, a larger one that forms a pocket.
- Turn the pillowcase right side out through the end opening. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. As above with the blanket, a long blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this. Press well.
- Position the cover so what was the longer panel (the folded over panel with the smaller hem) is on the bottom. Insert the pillow into the cover.
- Pull open the bottom “overlap” – it’s like a little pocket. Slip the overlap over the end of the pillow.
- Adjust so this overlap sits flat against the pillow.
- Let the top panel fall down into place.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild