Strip piecing is a fast and easy mainstay in the quilting cotton world, and it has become just as popular for other substates. We’ve used the technique for these bundle-y Cuddle® blankets. But rather than using only one-directional strips, we added our own S4H spin by mixing horizontal insets within the main vertical strips. Then, because Shannon Fabrics Cuddle comes in so many colors, textures, and naps, we kicked up the concept another notch by combining smooth and embossed Cuddle® fabrics so the blankets have a unique mixture of textures that make them extra cozy.
Our blanket design uses seven different fabrics for the top construction. We used Shannon Fabrics’ new pre-cut Sweet Strips. Each Sweet Strip is WOF (width of fabric) x 10”. Since most Cuddle® yardage is 58-60” in width, that’s a lot of softness with which to work. If you choose not to use Sweet Strips, no worries, you can use ⅓ yard cuts of your favorite Cuddle®.
There are dozens and dozens… and dozens of great choices in Shannon Cuddle® so it’s easy to choose a set of fabrics in colors and prints to delight your blanket’s recipient. You can see that one of our samples was done in a kid-friendly combo and the other is made up of luxury florals and textures.
The back of the blanket is a coordinating Cuddle solid. We used both a traditional smooth napped Cuddle 3® and a dense napped Luxe Cuddle®. Both work wonderfully, the main difference is in the finished weight and drape of the blanket. The Luxe Cuddle will create a heavier blanket.
Weighted blankets are known not only for their warming ability but also for their inherent “calming” effect. According to various studies, a heavy blanket can provide a calming experience by releasing serotonin and decreasing the activity in the nervous system. In layman’s terms, that equates to the “ahhhhhhhhhhh” sense of relaxation you feel when wrapped in a wonderfully weighted blanket.
If you are brand new to working with luxury plush fabrics, especially cutting and piecing them as you’ll be doing here, we recommend starting with the traditional Cuddle 3®. Your backing layer will be lighter to maneuver and the lower nap can make piecing easier as well.
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.
We created the pretty binding around each blanket with a stitch and wrap method that allows the backing panel to become the binding. No need to struggle to apply a separate binding strip around such a large blanket. Download our free corner template to correctly trim each corner, then stitch and flip. The corners almost finish themselves.
Shannon Cuddle® is simply the softest! And the selection of colors and prints: fabulous! You can find Shannon Cuddle in prints as well as classic and embossed solids at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere. We discovered wonderful selections at Fabric Depot, Fabric.com, Fat Quarter Shop, and Missouri Star Quilt Co.
Our thanks to Shannon Fabrics for sponsoring this blanket project. They are our good friends, and better even than that… they are an industry leader in all things soft. Not only do they bring us super soft Cuddle, they also have beautiful Embrace Double Gauze, fabulous faux furs, terry cloth, and silky satin. Check out all of softness online, including their fun Cuddle Kits – a must-see if you love this project.
Our Texture Bump Blankets finish at approximately 53½” x 62”.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful for the thickness of the multiple layers of Cuddle® – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system – we used the built-in AucFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system on our Janome machine
Fabric and Other Supplies
- SEVEN cuts of super soft 58-60” wide Shannon Cuddle® plush fabric in SEVEN different colors and textures; we used Cuddle Sweet Strips, which are WOF x 10” (width of fabric x 10”) pre-cuts available at your favorite in-store or online Shannon Fabrics retailer. We chose two prints and four solids for each of our blanket tops, making sure at least two of the solids had a distinct texture. The drawings below show you our selections. Click to enlarge the image.
NOTE: Should you decide not to use Cuddle® Sweet Strips, you will need ⅓ yard cuts of SEVEN different Cuddle® plush fabrics.
- 2 yards of 58-60”wide Shannon Cuddle® plush fabric in a coordinating solid for the backing; we used both a Cuddle 3® Solid in Nude (a traditional flatter nap) and a Luxe Cuddle® Luna in Black (a deeper, denser nap)
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
Getting Started & Pattern Download
- Download and print out the backing Corner Template.
IMPORTANT: This template page is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out the template along the solid line.
NOTE: Our instructions are based on the WOF x 10” Cuddle® Sweet Strips. If not using pre-cuts, first trim down your yardage so you have SEVEN WOF x 10” strips.
- As shown in the drawing above, the blanket top consists of NINE vertical strips, five wide and five narrow, plus ELEVEN horizontal inset strips, all of these horizontal insets cut from the same fabric.
- From the fabric for wide strips #3 and #7, the print strips in our samples, first fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, aligning the selvedges.
- Aligning the folded strip on your cutting mat’s grid lines, trim off just the selvedges so you have even edges. This is just a narrow trim, about ½”.
- From each trimmed strip, sub-cut the following:
TWO 18½” lengths
ONE 17” length
- From the fabric for the outer wide strips, #1 and #9 in the diagram above (as mentioned, we recommend one of these outer strips be a texture), trim away the selvedge as above, then from each trimmed strip, cut the following:
TWO 8½” lengths
ONE 37” length
- From the fabric for the center wide strip, #5 in the diagram above, trim away the selvedge as above, then from the trimmed strip, cut the following:
TWO 8½” lengths
TWO 17” lengths
- From the fabric for all the narrow strips, #2, #4, #6, and #8 in the diagram above, trim away the selvedge as above, then from the trimmed strip, cut FOUR WOF x 2½” strips.
- From the fabric for all the horizontal insets, we suggest a deeply textured fabric for these insets, trim away the selvedge as above, then from the trimmed strip, cut ELEVEN 5” wide segments; if possible, we recommend fussy cutting the segments to best center the textured motif within that 5”. As you can see in the photo below, we carefully centered the Luxe Cuddle in Ziggy Snow to be able to center the embossed chevron.
NOTE: If using our exact fabric recommendations, you will need TWO Sweet Strips to fussy cut all eleven segments. With a different texture, all eleven 5″ x 10″ segments (55″ total) could be easily cut across the 58-60″ Cuddle® WOF.
- Keep the backing Cuddle® as-is; it will be cut using the finished blanket top as a guide.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Add the horizontal insets to each wide vertical strip
- Each of the vertical strips has either two or three vertical inset strips (see the drawings above).
- Working strip by strip in order (we suggest working from vertical row #1 to #9), arrange a single strip on the work surface with the horizontal texture strips alternating between the lengths of that strip. Make sure the direction of the texture in each segment is facing the same direction.
- Pin the inset strip right sides together with the main strip along one raw edge.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together.
- Steam the seam allowance open and flat.
NOTE: Remember, Cuddle® does not like the direct heat of an iron. Cover your ironing board with a thick bath towel. Hold your iron above the fabric and blast with steam, then finger press the seam allowance open. If you don’t have a steam iron, you can use a pressing cloth to press open the seam allowance.
- Repeat for the remaining raw edge of this first inset, and for the remaining inset(s) within that vertical strip.
- Then, repeat for each strip.
Stitch the vertical strips together in order
- Stack the wide vertical strips, which should now each have the horizontal insets stitching in place, in order (as above we suggest working from vertical row #1 to #9). When stacking, make sure the nap of the fabric is running in the same direction on each strip.
- Find the four 2½” narrow strips. They too should all have the nap of the fabric running in the same direction on each strip.
- Pin a narrow strip in between each of the wide strips, working your way across the blanket top, using a ½” seam allowance for each seam.
Cut and prepare the backing with the folded corners
- Measure the width and length of the completed blanket top. Ours measured 51½” x 60”.
- Find the backing fabric. The backing fabric should be cut 6” larger (both width and length) than the blanket top, which means 3” larger along each side edge. This will allow you to wrap the backing around to the front to create the 1½” binding reveal all around. For our sample, that meant cutting the backing 57½” x 66”.
- Place the backing panel (cut to size) wrong side up and flat on a clean flat surface. Depending on your sewing space, this may mean working on the floor in order to completely flatten the panel.
- Find the corner template.
- Pin the corner template in place at each corner of the backing panel and trim away the triangle.
- You should now have a backing panel with four corners trimmed at a diagonal.
- At each corner measure ½” out from the cut corner along each side and insert a marking pin.
- Fold each corner right sides together, aligning the two marking pins and creating a folded point opposite them.
- Pin the fold in place.
- Starting at the aligned marking pins, use a ½” seam allowance to stitch a short seam to the outer folded edge.
- Repeat at all four corners. Steam and finger press all four short seam allowances open and flat.
- Flip the backing panel right side up and place it flat on your work surface.
- Find the completed top panel. Place a pin ½” in each side at each corner of the top panel. These pins denote the starting and stoping point of your seam.
- Place the top panel right side down on top on the backing panel. In other words, the top panel and backing panel are now right sides together.
- Working with one side at a time, pin the raw edge of the top panel right sides together with the raw edge of the backing panel.
- Align each corner pin point of the top panel with a corner seam of the backing panel. Pin across.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across from marking pin to marking pin. In other words, starting and stopping your seam ½” in from the raw edge of the top panel.
- Repeat to pin and stitch each side of the top panel to the back panel in the same manner. We recommend stitching the top raw edges, then the bottom raw edges, then each side raw edges.
- Along the last side, leave a 6-8” opening for turning. Remember to lock the seam at either side of this opening.
Pin the binding and stitch in the ditch to secure
- When all the seams are complete, turn the blanket right side out through the opening. Thanks to the clever corners you created above, the backing will naturally fold around to the front with neat miter at each corner.
- Reach in through the opening and push out each corner so it is nice a sharp. A chopstick, long knitting needle or point turner works well for this.
- The raw edges of the opening should naturally turn in so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Lightly steam the blanket edges to flatten.
- Thread the hand sewing needle with thread to best match the backing. Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Place the blanket top side up and flat on your clean, flat surface. Smooth the blanket layers.
- Measure and pin the border so it is an even 1½” reveal along each side.
- Make sure the machine is threaded with thread to best match the backing fabric in the top and bottom.
NOTE: We used our built-in Janome AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system throughout all steps of the construction, but it is especially important for these final stitch-in-the-ditch seams. If you do not have a built-in system, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot if possible. The feed dog control from both the top and the bottom is crucial to keeping the layers from shifting or twisting for the final seams.
- Stitch in the ditch (stitch along the previous seam line) around all four sides of the blanket.
- If necessary, re-thread with thread to best match the narrow strips fabric in the top and to best match the backing fabric in the bobbin.
- Place the blanket back down on your clean, flat surface once more and again smooth the top and bottom layers.
- Pin through both layers along the each side of each of the narrow strips.
- Stitch in the ditch along each side of each narrow strip through all the layers.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Michele Mishler