The ultimate softness of luxury plush fabric originally hit the scene as the ideal choice for bundling up babies. Which means no Cuddle blanket series would be complete without a baby blanket! We doubled the cozy quotient of ours by mixing the Cuddle with an extra soft flannel. You'll love this blanket's easy binding. It's formed by wrapping the larger flannel backing square around to the front and over the Cuddle square to create a wide, continuous border. We also show you a clever way to stitch the rick rack in place for a perfect reveal along each edge and into the corners. Our thanks to Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics for helping us bring this week's Cuddle series to you with three blankets, a full tutorial that contains all the best tips for working with plush fabric, and a Great Giveaway.
We initially shared this clever binding method on our Pleated Squares Table Runner. This runner featured a narrow border so we used a true mitered corner to construct a full open frame. For our baby blanket, we adapted the steps to make it even easier, showing you how some simple folding, pressing, and cutting can result in perfect diagonal corner points.
The center of our blanket is a classic Embossed Cuddle Dimple, which comes in a rainbow of colors from Shannon Fabrics. This is one of the most popular embossed patterns; it's simple, subtle, and feels wonderful when you run your hand across it. Since little baby fingers love to explore textures, we recommend using an Embossed Cuddle as your center square. If you want to break from the "classics," no worries. Shannon has Embossed Cuddle with stars, paisleys, hearts, chevrons, geometrics, and more. We also love the silky softness of their Rose Cuddle, which also comes in dozens of colors and has a ultra plush texture.
Fabric Depot is a long-time Sew4Home sponsor and supporter and was our top choice to bring all these these super soft fabrics right to your shopping cart. They have a wonderful selection of Cuddle online and ready to ship, as well as other adorable flannel prints. A few alternate pairings we liked are shown below: Cuddle Dimple in Coral with Endearing Elephants Flannel in Cloud, and Spa Cuddle in Ivory with Tiger Tikes Flannel in Sky.
The Fabric Depot retail location is one of the best there is! Sewers and quilters travel around the world to shop-'til-they-drop in over 40,000 square feet of floor space – literally an acre of fabric and notions. If you're ever in the Portland, Oregon are, it needs to be on your must-visit list (right up there with Powell's Books and Voodoo Doughnuts).
Luxury plush is not a difficult fabric to sew with, but to create optimum results, it helps to know the best practices to follow. For the top hints and tricks, check out our Sewing with Plush Fabric tutorial.
Our blanket finished at approximately 36" x 36".
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot (we used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system on the Janome Skyline S7)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1⅛ yards of 45"+ wide Embossed Cuddle plush fabric or similar in a solid color; we used 60/62" Cuddle Dimple in Taupe from Fabric Depot
NOTE: Your cut is exactly a yard; we recommend a bit of additional yardage to ensure you can make a precise cut to center and square the embossed pattern as needed.
- 1½ yards of 43"+ wide soft flannel in a coordinating print; we used 43" Bunny Cuddle Flannel in Pink from Fabric Depot (it is a coincidence that this fabric has cuddle in the name; it is just a flannel not a plush fabric... but it does have a motif of a momma bunny cuddling baby bunny.)
NOTE: Flannel can shrink quite a bit when pre-washed, which is why we suggest starting with a larger cut.
- 1¼ yards of 45"+ wide low loft batting; we used Warm & Plush by Warm Company, available by the yard from Fabric Depot
- 4½ yards of large rick rack in a coordinating solid; we used 1¼" Serpentine Rick Rack in White from Fabric Depot
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- All purpose thread in a contrasting color for hand basting
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins or clips
- Gripper sewing gloves; optional but helpful for stabilizing the layers as you sew
- Hand sewing needle
- Pre-wash the flannel and press flat prior to cutting. Cuddle does not shrink, but the flannel does, so we recommend pre-washing any fabric used in combination with Cuddle so your finished project does not warp when laundered.
- From the Flannel, cut ONE 41" x 41" square.
- From the Embossed Cuddle, cut ONE 36" x 36" square.
- From the batting, cut ONE 36" x 36" square.
- Leave the rick rack as one length; it will be cut to size below.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Prepare the wraparound back and add the rick rack
- If you haven't yet pressed your pre-washed Flannel, do that now.
- Fold back and press ½" along each of the four sides of the Flannel. We used our Clover Hot Hemmer.
- Fold back and press an additional 2" along each of the four sides.
- With both folds, press firmly to set a visible crease.
- Unfold the second fold (the 2" fold) at one corner so you can see the crease lines.
- Fold in the point of the corner at a diagonal, matching the crease lines along the sides. Press the diagonal fold to set a new crease line. This diagonal crease will be your guideline for the aligning the final folds of the corner.
- Fold down one side...
- .... and fold down the other side so they meet in the center at a pretty point.
- Press well again to firmly set all the folds.
- Unfold the second fold (the 2" fold) all around. Leave the first fold (the ½" fold) intact.
- Find the rick rack. Cut one end at a diagonal. Place this diagonal cut end along the diagonal crease line at one corner. Pin in place so the folded edge of the fabric is running along the center of of the rick rack.
- Continue pinning to the next corner, keeping the rick rack balanced along the fold. Trim away the rick rack at a diagonal so it aligns with the diagonal crease line of this new corner.
- Fold in the flannel at the corner to test that it covers the raw edge of the rick rack prior to trimming.
- Continue to pin a separate length of rick rack along each side. The ends should always be cut on the diagonal and always aligning the corner's diagonal crease line. Our rick rack lengths measured approximately 33" each, but it is much safer to keep the trim as one continuous length, cutting each side as you pin it in place.
- Machine baste the rick rack in place along each side, running the seam close to the folded in raw edge of the flannel.
- Stop the basting at the end of the rick rack; don't continue onto the flannel.
Layering the center and quilting
- Find the 36" x 36" batting square and the 36" x 36" Embossed Cuddle square. Layer the Embossed Cuddle right side up on the batting. All the edges should be flush and both the layers should be smooth and flat.
- Lightly pin together the layers. Using a hand sewing needle and contrasting thread, baste together these two layers. Work from the top to the bottom and back up again. You don't need dense basting, just enough to help secure the layers.
- Gently fold up the layers to move them to the work surface.
- This is a big project. You need a large, clean surface on which to work. A clean floor (hard surface, not carpet) is often the best option.
- Unfold the Flannel (with its rick rack stitched in place) wrong side up on your work surface. The second fold of the flannel (the 2" fold) should still be unfolded all around and the rick rack should already be stitched in place.
- Bring the center layers over and place the folded bundle on the Flannel.
- Gently unfold the basted layers, Embossed Cuddle side up. Align the edges of the layers with the 2" crease lines of the Flannel on all sides, being particularly careful to get the corners set in straight.
- Pin through all the layers (the basted layers and the flannel).
- Mark for the three rows of quilting. First measure 9" in from the left side and mark with a row of pins or a drawn line.
- Next measure 9" from the right raw edges of the basted layers and mark with a row of pins or a drawn line. Finally, measure 9" from this line and mark a third line, which should land in the center of the blanket. These measurements can be adjusted slightly if need be to best alilgn with the embossed motif.
- Attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine's fabric feeding system. Thread the machine with thread to best match the Embossed Cuddle in the top and to match the Flannel in the bobbin. Lengthen the stitch to 4mm. And, as an added help, put on quilting gloves to help move the layers through the machine.
- Stitch along each of the three marked lines, starting and stopping at the edge of the basted layers, which is the 2" fold line of the flannel.
- Go slowly, keeping the layers as flat as possible. As with any quilting, always stitch in the same direction for each line to minimize shifting.
- We moved across the blanket as we stitched, which allowed us to roll up the blanket from one side to conserve space.
- This rolled edge can more easily nestle against the machine's bed as you stitch.
Wrapping the binding to finish
- With the three layers quilted together, lay the blanket right side up (Embossed Cuddle side up) on your work surface.
- At each corner, fold back the Embossed Cuddle to reveal the batting. Measure 2" back from the corner point and draw a diagonal line.
- Cut away the batting along the drawn line.
- Fold the Embossed Cuddle back down into position.
- At the corner point of the Flannel, trim away a similar triangle, but only about 1", creating a straight line
- Fold in this straight edge of the Flannel corner to meet the corner point of the Embossed Cuddle.
- Fold in the corner again. The still-visible crease lines on the Flannel should align with each side of the Embossed Cuddle.
- Fold at the corner point of the Flannel to bring down one side...
- .... and then the other so they meet in the center at a pretty point just as they did when you first pressed the folds. Pin in place.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the Flannel in both the top and bobbin.
- Keep the increased stitch length of 4mm. And, continue to use the quilting gloves as an additional aid.
- We recommend continuing to use a Walking or Even Feed foot. We used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system on our Janome Skyline S7.
- Edgestitch around all four sides, pivoting at the corners. You are stitching very close to the folded edge, which means this final seam should be to the left of your original rick rack basting seam.
- Press the corners flat, taking care to not use heat on the Embossed Cuddle.
- We hand stitched the corner folds for a neat finish.
- Remove the basting threads.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild