A chenille blanket is soft and cozy for a toddler. This DIY toddler gift can be made to match nursery décor. Our toddler grandson loves crocodiles right now so I wanted to make him a special blanket to use when he naps in the pack ‘n play. Tip: we waited to introduce a blanket until after our little buddy had grown out of his wearable blankets.
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To make this chenille blanket you will need a chenille cutter, a cute “top” fabric, 3 flannel fabrics, and a cutting mat ruler.
- For the “top” of the blanket: a woven fabric piece an inch larger on each side than the finished dimensions (cotton or cotton/poly blend). You will find many directions on the Web that suggest making the blanket square. You can still deal with the bias part of this project with a rectangle. I measured our pack ‘n play, which was 27 inches wide by 37 inches long. Tip: think carefully when buying the fabric and study the direction of the print. If you really want the print to be up-and-down with the length of the pack ‘n play, you may have to buy a 42 inch length of fabric (about 1 ¼ yards).
- For the “back” of the blanket: a piece of flannel fabric a ½ inch larger on each side than the finished dimensions. I found one with a cute print that coordinated with my crocodile/alligator fabric.
- For the inner blanket: two pieces of flannel fabric, ½ inch larger on each side than the finished dimensions. I spent a lot of time finding two more coordinating fabrics to go with the top, only to have them not really show. The two inside flannels can be solid coordinating colors.
- For the bias quilt binding: coordinating fabric to make a 2 1/4 inch bias strip to go around all sides of the chenille blanket. I used the same fabric as the top, but you could use a woven solid fabric or print, satin blanket binding, or premade double fold bias tape quilt binding. For my project, I needed a 17-inch square.
- Chenille cutter
- Size 18 sewing machine needle
- I used a zig zag foot, but you may have a walking foot
- matching thread
- sewing marking pen (or chalk)
- cutting mat ruler
Instructions for chenille blanket
- Wash and dry all the fabrics and press.
- First, make the bias tape for the piping. (See directions with photos here! ) Take your 17-inch square and cut it in half along the diagonal. Follow the directions to make a parallelogram. Measure 2.25 inches down from the top edge and draw a straight line across with the sewing marking pen. Continue marking lines 2.25 inches apart. After you’ve made the tube, cut along the markings to make one long strip about 130 inches long.
- The best directions for the blanket I’ve found are inside the chenille cutter package. My cutter came with 24 blade edges. Be prepared to use most of these on this project. You may want to purchase a replacement blade for back up.
- After cutting the top fabric to size, fold a top corner down to touch the bottom edge to find the bias. Use a ruler and sewing marking pen or chalk to draw along this bias line. Continue marking lines ½ inch apart.
- Lay the top fabric piece face down. It should be larger on all sides than your flannel pieces. Stack the three flannel fabrics on this piece, all face up. The uppermost on the stack should be the flannel you want to show the most. Starting in the center, pin or hand-baste the stack together.
- Use 8 stitches/inch or 3 mm. With the stack top-side up, stitch on the lines through all layers, starting in the center. Tip: this part takes much longer than you would guess. Alternate the lines stitched so that you are stitching from the center out. It would be difficult to make a blanket larger than this size. You will have to roll up the blanket to fit it under the sewing machine arm. Next time I make one, I’m going to check with our local quilting store to see if I can pay them to stitch the straight lines on their big quilting machine.
- Lay the blanket flannel side up and prepare the chenille cutter for using the ½ inch channel guide. Carefully slide the guide into a sewn channel above the top fabric – the blade should only be cutting the flannels. I found that some of my channels weren’t perfectly straight, I could still cut with a smaller channel guide or use scissors to get through. Tip: don’t kill your hand trying to use one blade. As soon as cutting gets difficult, turn the dial on the cutter to get a new blade. You also may want to wear nitrile gloves or spread this cutting out over time.
- Trim the edges of the chenille blanket so that all sides are even. Use a curve or bowl to draw a curve on the corners and trim.
- At one end of the bias tape, press in one short side ½ inch. Starting on the center bottom of the blanket, pin the bias tape to the top side, right sides together. Stitch with 10 stitches/inch or 2 mm. Overlap the ends. Cut any excess.
- Flip the bias tape over to the back. Fold in the raw edge of the bias tape. Pin from the front, catching the edge of the bias tape. Stitch on the front side, in the “ditch” formed by the first stitching. This should catch all the bias tape on the back. (If you prefer, you can whip stitch the bias tape on the back by hand.)
- Wash and dry the chenille blanket. The chenille effect should get softer as you wash, use, and rub the blanket.
- Tip: this project makes a lot of fuzz! Get out your sewing machine user’s manual, a sewing machine brush, screw driver, and sewing machine oil. Go through every area of your machine to brush away the lint and put a drop of oil in the recommended places. I couldn’t believe how much lint I gathered up to throw away!
- Bias strips – single and continuous from University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
- Heirloom cut chenille baby blanket from Aesthetic Nest
- Quilt binding in 6 easy steps from the Nancy Zieman blog
- Our favorite crocodile song: Cocodrilo se metió by CantaJuego