DIY Patchwork Baby Blanket

As soon as I found out my sister-in-law was expecting, I knew I wanted to make her a blanket. Baby blankets are useful in all situations, whether it’s as a comforter in the cot, for warmth in a pram, or simply as a comfy floor covering whilst baby lounges around. So that’s what I’ve got to share with you today – a patchwork baby blanket!

elephant patchwork baby blanket

Now, I’d like you all to know that I made this blanket before I knew the baby would be a boy. I also made it before I learnt that my sister-in-law was going with a grey and white colour scheme. But when can you make a brightly coloured quilt if not for a little one?!

The fabric I used for my patchwork blanket is from the Remnant House in Harrogate. I bought fat quarters of yellow polka dot cotton,  elephant print cotton, and about 2 metres of green gingham cotton to use for both the patchwork squares and the backing.

patchwork baby blanket

Now it’s time for the maths (thanks to my cat, Barnaby, for helping me measure)! I didn’t follow a pattern to make this blanket – it’s all DIY and common sense. Based on the number of fat quarters I had, I worked out I could make the blanket 8 by 9 squares, 72 in total – 18 yellow, 18 green and 36 elephant. I stitched the squares into rows with a 1cm seam allowance, and then stitched the rows together one by one to form the front of the blanket. Easy!

Next, I attached the patchwork front to a thin layer of 2oz wadding by quilting down the vertical seam lines. Go slowly when you attach the wadding so that it doesn’t get caught in your sewing machine!

baby blanket backing

The back of the blanket is simply a big square of green gingham with a strip of elephant print cotton along the top and bottom edges. To assemble the blanket, I then put the patchwork and backing pieces right sides together and stitched 1cm from the edge all the way round 3 sides. I then turned the blanket the right way out (so the wadding is now in the middle), pressed under the seam allowance on the open edge, and stitched a 1cm border all around the blanket. Oh and I added a little ‘handmade’ tag for good measure.

So do you love it? Do you think it’s suitable for a new baby boy? I hope he loves it too!

 

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6 months + 12€ = 1 finished quilt

And finally, 6 months after purchasing 12€ worth of fabric in Montmartre, Paris, I’m happy (and proud) to say that my patchwork blanket is complete!

The story goes like this: I was au-pairing in Paris from February to April and spent the majority of my free time visiting places around the city. I wrote a blog about everything I did, whether it be sitting in creperies on Easter Monday or shopping for Parisian vintage items in the Marais. My favourite place, however, is Montmartre and the Barbès Rochechouart arrondissements to the North of Paris. Full to capacity with craft shops, fabric markets and little boutiques selling more sequins, feathers and buttons than you can afford, it’s easy to see why I loved it.

On one particular day I invested in a handful of fat quarters in a mixture of pink, green and orange colours. It was spring at the time and the blossom around Paris was more than beautiful, so I assume this is what inspired me. I then spent the following week cutting each piece meticulously into rectangles (168 of them to be precise).

Once I returned home to the UK, I stitched all these rectangles into squares of 4, then rows of 6, and then into one enormous sheet of patchwork. I sewed a thin layer of wadding in the middle and covered the back with a big bit of thick green cotton material. The blanket was finished by hand-sewing the bias-binding all the way around the edge (the binding that I bought in Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville on their huge craft floor). There were 5 metres of edging in total so this bit took quite a lot of time and determination.

Anyway, 6 months, a house move and a new job later my patchwork blanket is done. And just in time for the British winter to begin.

The Technicolor Blanket

Recently, approximately 98% of my time has been dedicated to buying a house with the boy of my dreams. Whilst incredible and very exciting this has, alas, left little time for my sewing projects. Although I’m delighted that in a few weeks I will finally have a home and a sofa for all my handmade soft furnishings (see all my cushions here – warning, there are quite a few), I am a little saddened by the lack of recent craft items to blog about.

Anyway – the couple of Saturdays I’ve had at home alone (when the boy’s been at work and the kitchen table has been available) I’ve set my heart to finishing my picnic blanket. I bought the fabric for this when I was in Paris in April (see here) and spent a bit of time there cutting it all into uncountable rectangles. A couple of weeks ago these all got stitched into rows of four, and then rows of six, and then into an entire blanket. The end result is a picnic blanket big enough for every bear who dares to go down into the woods this summer.

The next step was to buy an enormous piece of wadding and find an even bigger piece of co-ordinating backing fabric. Luckily my Grandma is fantastic and in the huge chest of material she kindly donated to me (see here) I had a big enough piece of spring-onion green fabric that I could use as the base for my blanket. I think the material must have originally been a pair of curtains because it’s quite thick – useless unless I want spring-onion curtains in my new house, but great for the bottom of a picnic blanket that is destined for grass stains and wine spills.

Anyhow, once all the three layers were in place the next step was to quilt them all together – first by sewing vertically down every square and then horizontally. This sounds a lot easier in text format than it actually is. See the picture above. My sewing machine, whilst substantially heavy and good enough to sew skirts and Kindle cases, is not industrial-size. Fitting a piece of material approximately the size and thickness of my duvet cover underneath it is not an easy feat. By the time I got to quilting down the middle I was pretty much wrapped up in the blanket like the Baby Jesus.

This weekend I will finish my picnic blanket (if I’m ever going to use it before the summer’s out). I realise this is a bold statement to make and I realise that the current weather trend is very ‘British summer’ rather than ‘Parisian summer’ that perhaps we are all still hoping for. I need to finish the quilting and then work out how to attach the bias binding all the way around the edge. Perhaps one more weekend won’t be long enough after all…