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Big and Soft Sweatshirt Knit Blanket

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There's nothing quite like grabbing a delicious catnap in a swinging hammock to finish off sunny day. But this time of year, a regular blanket can feel a bit too heavy. Why not whip up a summer-weight blanket in an incredibly soft, organic cotton sweatshirt knit? In fact, is there a certain someone you know who loves the nappin' life? Father's Day will be here soon, and a soothing, wrap-him-up blanket might be just the ticket. Our fast and easy project takes just a couple hours... he could be dozin' before you know it. We also show you how to make the personalized fabric tag shown in the bottom corner that tells Dad (or whomever is lucky enough to get the blanket) he's priceless.

This bold blanket is designed to match our Jumbo Lounge Pillow with the same wide strips and the same cute personalized fabric tag. Because, really... the full-on napping experience requires both a blanket and a pillow!

We used a preppy color palette of super-soft organic knits from Fabric.com. Not only are these exact colors available, there are other options from which to choose.

Flat felled seams finish each of the horizontal panels so the blanket is soft and smooth front to back.

The blanket finishes at approximately 56" x 84".

For great general tips and techniques, check out our handy Sewing with Knits tutorial. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: The yardage listed below requires some precise cutting. If you are unsure are your cutting ability, bump the ¾ yard cuts to a full yard and the ½ yard cut to ¾ yard. 
We used and recommend four colors, two stripes each from two of the colors and one stripe each from the other two colors. See the drawing above for our color and width recommendations. Click for our color selections from Fabric.com.

  • ¾ yard of 58"+ wide sweatshirt weight knit fabric for TWO blanket stripes; the White in our sample
  • ¾ yard of 58"+ wide sweatshirt weight knit fabric for TWO blanket stripes; the Navy in our sample
  • ½ yard of 58"+ wide sweatshirt weight knit fabric for ONE blanket stripe; the Red in our sample
  • ¾ yard of 58"+ wide sweatshirt weight knit fabric for ONE blanket stripe; the Teal in our sample
  • All-purpose sewing thread in a contrasting color for regular stitching and topstitching; we used off-white
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • See-through ruler
  • Straight pins (ballpoint)
  • Seam gauge 
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron and ironing board

Supplies for the optional personalized label

Getting Started

The cuts below follow our design shown above and so we call out the fabric by color name.

  1. From the WHITE knit fabric, cut TWO 13" x WOF (Width of Fabric) panels. 
  2. From the NAVY knit fabric, cut the following: 
    ONE 13" x WOF panel
    ONE 13½" x WOF panel
  3. From the RED knit fabric, cut ONE 13½" x WOF panel.
  4. From the TEAL knit fabric, cut ONE 25" x WOF panel.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

NOTE: As mentioned above, we used our machine's built-in fabric feeding system, the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system, throughout the entire project. If you don't have a built-in feeding system, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or similar. It helps keep the knit layers feeding more smoothly.

  1. With knits, sometimes your width of fabric cuts may vary slightly. So, find the narrowest of your six panels. Trim the selvedge from this panel, then trim the remaining five panels to exactly match. By taking the extra time to make sure all your panels are an exact match, you'll have a much easier time with your flat felled seams and hemming. 
  2. Fold each panel in half to find its center point and mark this point with a pin. This gives you a good reference point for accurate matching with the stretchy knit. 
  3. The two 13½" panels are the end panels, the top and the bottom.
  4. Working from top to bottom, and following our diagram above, pin the first panel (red) to the second panel (white), matching the center pin points and the raw edges. 
  5. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance, taking care not to stretch the knit as you sew. As we mentioned above, a Walking or Even Feed foot or engaging your machine's built-in feeding system helps to minimize the stretch. For more general tips and techniques, check out our handy Sewing with Knits tutorial.
  6. Once the seam is sewn, create a flat felled seam to finish, trimming away the color on which you want the topstitching to show (we ran the topstitching within the darker color, avoiding the white since our topstitching thread color was an off-white). 
  7. The knit naturally curls toward the right side; in this case, that helps the fabric to roll in the proper direction to create the flat felled seam. 
  8. Press well with steam. 
  9. Topstitch from the wrong side of the blanket.
  10. Stitching on the wrong side means you will be stitching within the opposite color from what will show on the front. In our sample, for this first set of panels, that meant we stitched in the white panel from the wrong side so it showed up in the red panel from the front. 

    NOTE: If you are new to the flat felled seam technique, we have a detailed tutorial here. By using a flat felled seam, your blanket is soft and smooth on both sides.
  11. Continue in this same manner from top to bottom
  12. Pin the third panel (navy 13") to the remaining raw edge of the second panel (white). Stitch together, then create a flat felled seam to finish.
  13. Pin the extra-wide fourth panel (teal) to the remaining raw edge of the third panel (navy). Stitch together, then create a flat felled seam to finish.
  14. Pin the fifth panel (white) to the remaining raw edge of the fourth panel (teal). Stitch together, then create a flat felled seam to finish.
  15. Pin the sixth panel (navy 13½") to the remaining raw edge of the fifth panel (white). Stitch together, creating a flat felled seam.

Hem

  1. Because the knit doesn't ravel, we used a single fold hem and saved ourselves a little time with a twin needle. 
  2. Fold the side edges to the back ⅝" and pin in place.
  3. Insert a twin ballpoint needle. We used the off-white topstitching thread in both needles. The inner needle should be ½" in from the folded edge.
  4. Working on the right side of the blanket, topstitch down both sides. 
  5. Repeat to create the top and bottom hems, creating a pretty square in each corner (see the close-up photo below).  
    NOTE: If you do not have a twin needle, simply stitch one seam ½" from the folded edge, then stitch a second seam ⅛" from the first. 

Preparing the optional personalized label

  1. Pre-wash your fabric (no fabric softener) to remove any sizing. Cut or tear the fabric into the finished size you want. It should be large enough to leave room for sewing around the actual image area. We used a 3" x 3" square. Press your fabric nice and flat to insure the best possible ink coverage.
  2. Ink your stamp by tapping it lightly a number of times on the ink pad. Don't push hard into the ink pad or you won't end up with a crisp print. Look at the stamp to be certain you have good coverage. Test your impression on a fabric scrap. 
  3. Stamp your fabric, keeping the pressure firm and even. Don't press super hard or your stamp may smear. Your practicing above should give you an idea of the required pressure. Gently pull your stamp off the fabric. Create as many patches as you want. Let the ink dry.
  4. Heat set by pressing between a pressing cloth, we used a paper towel below and on top. Press on high heat with a dry iron, holding your iron in place for a couple of 30-second sessions. 
  5. You can wash and dry stamped images, but let the ink cure for several days before laundering.

Attach the optional personalized label

  1. Place the finished blanket right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Position the label in the bottom right corner, approximately ⅜" in from the inner hem seam lines along the side and bottom edges. Pin in place.
  3. Re-thread the machine with the second contrasting thread (we used red).
  4. Stitch in place around all four sides with a plain or decorative stitch. We used a decorative cross stitch pattern. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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