There's nothing like a thick, snuggly blanket to make everything better. And, there's nothing easier than our blanket tutorial. A handsome binding in alternating fabrics is set against a field of soft, double-sided fleece. We personalized our project with a name embroidered in one corner. Even if you're brand new to sewing, you can create this blanket in just a couple hours. As we move into the holiday season, it makes our list of the best fast and easy gift ideas. We show the blanket above along with one of our popular Neck Pillows.
Our blanket sample finished at 58" x 90", which were the exact dimensions of the fleece we purchased (2½ yards of 58" wide fabric). So, the trim fabric is calculated for this size as well. If your fleece is slightly larger or smaller, you may need sightly more or less of the two trim fabrics.
There are full steps below showing how to create the nice, wide binding with faux mitered corners.
Alternating two fabrics for the binding makes the border more fun. You could add a third or fouth fabric for an even more colorful result.
When looking for fleece, watch for the term "no-pill." This indicates a high-quality fabric that will look better, longer – especially after laundering. You also want a double-sided fleece. We found a nice selection from Fabric.com in a variety of color options.
Our embroidered name is appliquéd in place to keep both sides of the blanket as smooth as possible. If you don't have an embroidery machine, another idea would be to create initials from the same fabric used for the binding, appliqué these to a patch of fleece, and then stitch the patch in place as we did.
If you are considering adding an embroidery model to your sewing space, take a look at the brand new Skyline S9. It combines sewing and embroidery along with many of your other favorite features – all at a very affordable price. Take it our for test-stitch spin at your local Janome Dealer.
Our blanket finished at 58" x 90" with a 3½" wide binding all around.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- For the embroidery option, we used our Janome Memory Craft 9900
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful when working with thicker fabrics like fleece
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2½ yards of 58"+ wide soft fleece; we recommend a high-quality, double-sided fleece
- 1 yard EACH of TWO coordinating 44"+ wide quilting weight cottons for binding
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric pencil, pen or chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Lay out the 58" x 90" fleece fabric. Trim as needed to make sure your edges are straight and true so the corners of the binding will form pretty 90˚angles.
- Cut FOUR 8" x 40" strips from EACH of the two binding fabrics. That's a total of EIGHT 8" x 40" strips.
NOTE: Why not just cut full 44-45" width of fabric (WOF) strips? Because we are alternating the two binding fabrics and want the pieces to be as even as possible all around the border. Our blanket has a 300" perimeter (60" x 90"); the EIGHT 8" x 40" strips will seam together into one 313" length, allowing enough extra fabric to create each corner fold as well as enough for a clean finish, but keeping each strip very close to the same size all the way around the border.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Optional Personalized Embroidery
- We personalized our blanket with an embroidered name in the top left corner.
- Our embroidered name was stitched onto a smaller piece of matching fleece then appliquéd to the blanket's corner. You could also hoop the corner of the fleece itself and embroider. We preferred the "appliquéd patch" option because then the back of the blanket remains completely soft and smooth rather than showing the back of the embroidery.
- To clear the corner binding, the top left corner of the first letter of the name should be positioned approximately 4.5" down from the top and 5" in from the left side.
- We used the Janome Memory Craft 9900 to create Nicolas' name. To find out more about this machine as well as the brand new Skyline S9 sewing and embroidery machine, visit Janome's website.
- Collect all EIGHT 8" x 40" binding strips.
- Pin and then seam the binding strips end to end in an alternating pattern to create one long, continuous strip. To do this, match one to the next, right sides together along the 8" sides. Pin in place, then stitch, using a ½" seam allowance. Eight strips, seven seams.
- Press all the seam allowances open and flat.
- Fold in each long raw edge ½" and press well.
- Fold the binding in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together and aligning the two folded edges. Press well.
- You should now have a 313" nicely folded and pressed binding strip of alternating fabrics.
- Starting in the middle of one side of the blanket, unfold your binding and slip it over the raw edge.
- Be very careful that the crease line sits right against the raw edge of the fleece, and make sure your binding is even on both sides.
- Pin from your starting point to the first corner.
- Bring the project to your machine, and starting in the middle (where you started pining), stitch the binding to the project, staying as close to the edge of the binding as you can. Go slowly and make sure you catch both sides of the binding in this one seam.
NOTE: Because your will be sewing with two very different fabric types and have a very wide binding, we suggest switching to a Walking or Even Feed foot keep the layers from shifting. We also increased the stitch length. You can use a straight stitch or a zig zag stitch to attach the binding. If available on your machine, you could even choose a decorative stitch. We decided on a zig zag.
- Sew to the corner and stop. Lock your seam.
- Remove the project from under the needle and clip your threads, but do not cut your binding.
- Fold a pleat in the corner to make a 45˚ angle. Pin. Encase the new side's raw edge with the binding, working your way to the next corner. Pin in place.
- Return to your machine, and matching your first line of stitching, edgestitch around the corner and down the side to the next corner. Stop at that corner and lock your stitch.
NOTE: By "around the cornerr," we mean you should drop your needle in at the end of your original line of stitching, stitch into the corner, pivot, and then stitch down the new edge. This way, your line of stitching around each corner will appear uninterrupted.
- Repeat these same steps at each corner.
- When you return to your starting point, tuck under the raw edge of the binding, match the bottom edges and match your stitching line to finish. Pin in place and stitch the final distance from ending point to starting point to finish the binding's seam. Press.
IMPORTANT: Avoid ironing onto the polar; concentrate on pressing just the binding fabric. If you must iron the fleece, use the lowest heat setting and place a pressing cloth over the fleece.
- Because the binding is quite wide, we went to the extra step of hand-stitching the diagonal corner folds in place on both the front and back. Using an invisible ladder stitch makes them extra tidy.
Hints and Tips
Warning: If you have a cat in the house, it will spend the entire time you are working on this project trying to sit on it!
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever