The bigger they are, the colder they get. That may not be exactly how the saying goes, but it explains how we feel about skimpy blankets. When you're feeling a chill, you want soft, snuggly warmth from your shoulders right down to your toes. Our Soft Elegance blanket is two thick layers of Cuddle: a rich Embossed Ribbon Cuddle on top with a thick Sherpa Cuddle on the back. We took full advantage of the wide width of the Cuddle plush fabric, making our blanket a tall and toasty 59" x 68". A huge thanks to our friends at Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics for providing the fabric for this project and our entire week of super softness: three blankets, a full tutorial with all the best tips for working with plush fabric, and a Great Giveaway.
When you're working with fabric this large and heavy, it's best to keep the construction as straightforward as possible. We went for two simple layers bound with an accent cotton.
The secret in the middle is a layer of double-sided flannel. Because the back of Cuddle is smooth and rather slick, when two layers are wrong sides together, as they are for this type of blanket, they'll want to shift against each other. We added three lines of quilting plus a bound edge, yet even so, with a blanket this large, unless you add lots of lines of quilting, the two layers can sometimes still droop or slide between the lines of quilting. The "grippyness" of the flannel helps keep the layers stable and the blanket flat, which makes it more wrapupable (I love coming up with new words, don't you?).
For more hints and tricks about working with plush fabric, make sure you check out our Sewing with Plush Fabric tutorial. It's not a difficult fabric to sew with, but to create optimum results, it helps to know the best practices to follow.
Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics have partnered as co-sponsors for this series, and it's a perfect match. Shannon Fabrics is the premier resource for the softest substrates to sew with, and Fabric Depot brings it all right to your shopping cart.
At FabricDepot.com, it's easy to browse by fabric type, collection, color, designer or dozens of other selects. Plus, they have some of the best promotions and sales in the industry. There's something new almost every day!
If you're lucky enough to live nearby or are planning a visit to the Portland, Oregon area, you'll definitely want to stop by the Fabric Depot retail location: it's an acre of fabric, notions, and more!
Have fun browsing the options at Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics to create your own combination. Below are a few alternatives we liked that might strike your fancy and best fit your décor: Sherpa Cuddle Ivory with Embossed Chevron Cuddle in Red, or Marquise Embossed Cuddle in Aruba, or Cuddle Foxy Boxy in Watermelon/Topaz.
Our blanket finished at approximately 59" x 68".
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
- 2 yards of 60"+ wide Sherpa Cuddle plush fabric or similar in a solid color; we used 58/60" Sherpa Cuddle in Ivory from Fabric Depot
- 2 yards of 60"+ wide Embossed Cuddle plush fabric or similar in a coordinating solid; we used Embossed Ribbon Cuddle in Black from Fabric Depot
- 2 yards of 60"+ wide double-brushed flannel in white; we used 108" Extra Wide Quilt Flannel in White from Fabric Depot
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide standard weight cotton for the binding; we used 44" Four Corners Weave in White Sparkle by Riley Blake Fabrics from Fabric Depot
NOTE: Yardage listed above for the binding includes a bit extra for the precise fussy cut of our chosen motif. If your fabric has a more random pattern, you can get away with ⅝ to ¾ of a yard.
- 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 binding cotton and flannel and press flat prior to cutting. Cuddle does not shrink, but the cotton and flannel can. We recommend pre-washing any fabric used in combination with Cuddle so your finished project does not warp when laundered.
- From EACH of the three main fabrics (the Embossed Ribbon Cuddle, the Sherpa Cuddle, and the Flannel in our sample), cut ONE 59" wide x 68" high rectangle.
- From the binding fabric (Four Corners Weave in our sample), fussy cut SEVEN 3" x WOF (width of fabric or 44" in this case) strips.
- The image below shows how we planned our fussy cut to isolate a single pretty motif along our binding.
- A rotary cutter was the best cutting choice for all the fabrics.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Layering and quilting
- This is a big project with a lot of layering. You need a large, clean surface on which to work. A clean floor (hard surface, not carpet) is often the best option.
- Place the Sherpa Cuddle down first, right side down.
- Place the Flannel on top of the Sherpa Cuddle.
- Place the Embossed Cuddle right side up on top of the Flannel.
- All the edges of all the layers should be aligned and each layer should be as flat and wrinkle-free as possible. Pin lightly across the entire "sandwich" through all the layers. About every 10" - 12" is fine.
- Find the center of the layered pieces, which should be 29½" in from each side edge. Using a hand sewing needle and contrasting thread, baste the three layers together along this vertical center line.
- When the center basting line is done, measure for two additional lines of basting – one approximately 14½" in from the right raw edges and one approximately 14½" in from the left raw edges. We say approximately, because you can adjust slightly if necessary to best match the fabric. The pretty embossed ribbons of our Cuddle made it particularly easy to keep our stitching straight.
- When the middle basting lines are done, hand baste through all the layers about ½" in from the raw edges all around.
- Attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine's fabric feeding system.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the blanket in the top and bobbin. Because our front and back fabric colors were so different, we made sure to use black in the top and ivory in the bobbin.
- Lengthen the stitch to 4mm.
- We also used quilting gloves to help move the layers through the machine. With this blanket, we put a glove on just the left hand, leaving the right hand free to remove pins.
- Stitch along each basting line. Again, the embossed lines on the Cuddle made it easy to keep our stitching straight.
- You can also add a final line of machine basting around the perimeter if desired. We did not opt for this since we had already hand basted around the edge. If you are new to adding a binding, this second line of machine basting will help keep the layers flat as you stitch and wrap the binding.
NOTE: The steps below summarize a standard blanket binding method. If you are new to this technique, you may find it helpful to review one of both of our full step-by-step binding tutorials: A Complete Step-by-Step For Binding Quilts & Throws and Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, Attaching.
- Find the seven binding strips.
- Place the ends of two strips together at a 90˚ angle.
- Draw a diagonal line corner to corner across the overlapped ends. Pin along the drawn diagonal line.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Stitch along the drawn line.
- Trim the seam allowance to ¼".
- Press open the seam allowance.
- Repeat to add each additional strip until you have one continuous length.
- Fold the completed strip in half wrong sides together and press well to set a center crease.
- Un-fold wrong side up. Fold back one long raw edge ½" and press well the length of the binding. We used our Clover Hot Hemmer.
- Place the layered and quilted blanket back side up (Sherpa Cuddle side up in our sample) and flat on your work surface.
- Unfold the binding wrong side up so both the center crease line and the ½" crease line are visible.
- Fold back one end of the binding 1".
- Starting at what will be the center of the bottom edge of the blanket, pin the binding to the back of the blanket, aligning the raw edge (the non-folded edge) of the binding with the raw edges of the layered blanket.
- Continue pinning to the first corner, stopping ½" before you reach the exact corner point.
- Carefully take the blanket to your machine. You are working with a LOT of fabric. It helps to sew with your machine on a table or counter with extra flat surface to the left and back to support the blanket.
- 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.
- Re-set the stitch length from normal back to a lengthened stitch. We used 4.0mm. We also continued to wear quilting gloves for additional stability.
- Start sewing at the folded end, locking your stitch. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch up toward the first corner.
- Stop the seam where your pins stop: ½" before the exact corner point. Lock the seam and carefully remove the blanket from under the presser foot.
- To create the miter at the corner, bring the binding up, making a diagonal fold at the corner. Keeping that diagonal fold in place, bring the binding straight down, so there is a straight fold even with the top raw edge and the raw edge of the binding is even with the raw edge on the next side of the quilt. Pin in place.
- Replace the project under the needle and continue sewing, starting ½" from that top folded edge – in other words, where the previous seam ended.
- Repeat these same steps at each corner.
- When you get back to the head of the binding, continue sewing, overlapping the head with the tail by about 2". Lock your stitch.
- Trim away the excess binding, leaving about 1" free at the tail.
- Fold the binding around to front of the blanket and pin in place. You may want to grade the excess fabric layers at an angle to reduce the bulk, especially at the corners.
- As you fold over the binding at the corners, a pretty diagonal miter automatically wants to form on the front of your project.
- To create a miter on the back, fold the binding in on one side, making sure you are covering your stitching line.
- To finish our end, we simply turned back the free end on the tail about ½" so the overlap matched the stitched-in-place binding.
NOTE: Remember to refer to the two binding tutorials listed and linked above if you are new to binding a blanket and are having trouble following our summarized steps.
- Edgestitch the binding in place around the entire perimeter, staying close to the folded edge and pivoting at the corners.
- As above, we recommend continuing to use a Walking or Even Feed foot and a lengthened stitch. We used 3.5mm. The machine should still be threaded with thread to best match the binding in the top and bobbin.
- We hand stitched the finished overlap for extra security.
- Remove any remaining visible basting threads.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild