I love making handmade presents in anticipation of a new baby. I will always remember knitting my soon-to-be niece a baby blanket while I was on a road trip through Europe many years ago. As I looked out the window and watched the fields and mountains pass by I thought about what she was going to be like with every stitch. What would they name her? Who would she look like? Would she like me? I felt like my good wishes for her were being knitted psychically into the blanket. Ever since then I've tried to make something special for each of the new babies that have come into my life.
In addition to heartfelt, I also try to make my handmade gifts practical. There isn't much point in putting so much care and effort into something if it won't be used. So lately, my go-to baby gift has been a set of Swaddling Blankets with a hand-finished edge. They strike a good balance between usefulness and homemade detail. They are the right size to swaddle a baby (42-inches square), but they work perfectly well as a burp cloth or stroller blanket too.
I actually made my first set of Swaddling Blankets a few years ago as a project for the Purl Bee. Now I'm giving the original pattern a fresh look with this season's fabrics. I designed two sets of two blankets each, one set in pretty pink:
and one in crisp blue:
I used the graphic Nani Iro double gauze stripes as the outsides and bright, lightweight Shot Cotton for the lining. These two fabrics together make a wonderful blanket, so airy and soft.
To make two blankets in either pink or blue:
- 2 1/2-yards of Nani Iro Spring Double Gauze in pink for the pink set and blue for the blue set. (This particular fabric is no longer available, but please check out all of our Japanese fabric for some great alternatives!)
- Two 1 1/4-yards of Shot Cotton in Clementine and Apricot for the pink set or Blueberry and Lemon for the blue set.
- One hank of DMC embroidery floss in color 151 for the pink set or blanco for the blue set.
- 100% cotton thread in color 1040
Cut the gauze and one of the shot cottons into neat 43-inch squares. The easiest way to do this is to cut them together at the same time. That way both pieces are exactly the same size.
Pin the cut pieces right sides together around all four sides.
Sewing and Turning it Out
Sew around the edge of the pinned pieces with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave a 3-inch gap in the middle of one of the sides, and make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
Snip off the corners and turn the piece right side out.
Iron the piece right side out, making sure the corners are nice and pointy. Also make sure to iron the gap closed, with the 1/2-inch raw seams tucked in.
Using your embroidery thread sew a small running stitch a 1/4-inch from the edge, all around the piece. By doing this you will close the 3-inch gap.
Repeat for the second blanket and enjoy! --Molly