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Molly's Sketchbook: Swaddling Blankets

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 42-inch square blankets in either pink or blue:


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

Reader Comments (17)

Cute! I used swaddling blankets all the time with my son, and know what a great gift they are for new parents. Yours are the prettiest ones I've seen.

Echino Spring is double gauze, right? It might be helpful to mention that in your pattern.
August 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennie
I just ordered a bunch of fabric to make some baby blankets, and had been wondering what size to make them. This is perfect! I plan to back mine with a fleece since I intend it to be a crib/stroller blanket.

On another note, I've been wondering how I can embroider the blankets with the baby's name. My embroidery skills are rudimentary... any tips or tools I can use?
August 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNancy
Hi Nancy-
We have a couple of iron-on embroidery alphabet patterns available here:
I like the "Mode Mod" alphabet the best for a baby pattern.

Otherwise you could use an iron on transfer pen or an erasable marker. We have them available here:

I also did a post all about different fabric marking options which might be helpful. You can see it here:

Thank you so much for your comment!

- Molly
August 13, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks for the tutorial! So sweet!
August 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl
these are SO pretty!
August 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlealou
Beautiful and easy, I love it! Thank you for the tutorial.
August 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdel
You brought up pointy corners. I have been make lined aprons. Any secrets for getting those points pointy and the pressed edge sharp? I know aprons and baby blankets are worlds apart, but the concept is similar. Thanks.
August 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpeggy
These are absolutely beautiful. As a mother, I know baby items can be so expensive, and this is such a great alternative. I especially love the ease of making them. What a great shower gift for new moms-to-be, especially because I can incorporate colors and patterns that are original and I know they'll love. Thanks for sharing!
August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLily Evans
Lovely! Any tips for warmer swaddling blankets? I am expecting in February and love the idea of making my own - many commercially made blankets aren't big enough to swaddle a child properly, and it gives me an excuse to go fabric shopping!
August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTonya
These are gorgeous. Tonya, I've been making baby blankets (due end of Oct.) using Flannel as my back end fabric, Purl has some fantastic flannel solids.

I have a picture of one of my finished blankets on my blog, using David Walker's Oh Boy line, vehicles fabric and red flannel.
August 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKnwill
The blankets are lovely. What is "shot cotton"? That's a fabric I don't know. Thanks!
September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary
This is almost identical to what I want to do for a friends baby shower. I am using a lighter weight cotton (I think) material... not quite like the receiving blankets you see in the store... maybe more pillow like material. *sigh* I can admit that it may be the absolutely incorrect fabric. Notwithstanding... any thoughts about using 'Fusible Interfacing' so that the fabric doesn't stretch? Also, if you are putting 2 pieces together, inevitably the middles could separate... thoughts about stitching them together? Either quilt like or with small cross stitches?
September 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessi
I am so excited to make this blanket. I got an invitation in the mail for a friends baby shower so i had an excuse. I just adore this project. I went out to the local Joann's here and purchased patterned flannel also100% cotton and then a baby soft pattern fabric which is 100% cotton as well. I just love the idea of making swaddling blankets. Such a quick yet luxurious gift. Swaddle it full of goodies and you have a WIKED SWEET shower gift. :)

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
Molly, I just made my first two blankets (thanks so much for the tutorial. I am running the hand stitch around the border. I can't seem to figure out a way to add new thread in a neat way. I would love any suggestions you might have. Thanks. Sarah
November 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Grimes_Emmons
Hi Sarah-

Here is a neat way to hide the ends:

It's from a previous project. Hope it helps.Thanks so much for your comment. - Molly
November 2, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks so much Molly!! I have done a few of your projects and they are always wonderful (and the directions are wonderfully easy to follow). I just finished a blanket for my cousin (also Molly) and her brand new little girl. Thanks again!!
November 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney
I popped on over from One Pretty Thing's daily DIY roundup and wanted to say that your first paragraph brought tears to my eyes. As a mother who receives (and makes for others) handmade gifts for my baby, the gifts mean as much to me as they do to the person making them. And I always wondered if anyone else felt the same way as they made them. So thank you for putting that into such beautiful words.
September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

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