Tuesday, March 16, 2010

tutorial - retro baby blanket

a few weeks back, i jumped at the chance to do a tutorial for ruby jane's retro fabrics and totally tutorials.  she offered up the fabric in exchange for a fun how to project!  i got my rockabye fabric the other day, and have changed my mind a bunch about what i wanted to make!  it's so adorable, and it lends itself to a number of fun projects.

my first thought was baby blocks.  the 4 inch animal squares are a great size for this, and a half yard would make several.  but that was too easy.  i kept brainstorming. 

i considered a cloth baby book.  maybe little log cabin style blocks, with some appliqued letters spelling out each animals name on the opposite page?  there are nine different squares in all.  two cats and two elephants, and also a squirrel, a chick, a bluebird, a bear, and a bunny.  then i changed my mind again.  that's ok though, because you can head to craft gossip for another sweet book idea!

i've been on a baby blanket making mission lately, so i schemed out a quilt top layout.  you could make the entire quilt with fabrics from the rockabye line,  or there are so many colors in these prints you could use something from your stash for sure.  i am adding in some dots, because i ♥ polka dots.  there is a coordinating dot fabric in the line.

ok.  i promised you guys a tutorial.  so, without further ado, may i present:

craftytammie's retro baby blanket tutorial

supplies needed:

1/2 yard Avelyn Rockabye fabric, multi squares
1/2 yard Avelyn Rockabye fabric, diaper pins
1/2 yard sashing (i'm using blue-grey dots)
1 yard backing (pink dots)
1 yard batting (warm & natural)

thread, sewing machine, pins, etc...

i also think a rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat are essential for this project.  heck, for any sewing project.  but if you have to, you could cut the blocks by hand with scissors.  *shudder*

depending on where in the pattern your fabric was cut - it may not layout exactly as mine does - but you should be able to get 10 8" "blocks" consisting of 4 animal squares each.  (if you start with more fabric, say, 3/4 yard or more, you could get more variety in the layout too.  or cut them larger to include the diaper pin borders)

i am using this as a cheater fabric, giving the appearance of 4 blocks sewn together into one.  cut these out, taking care to divide the border in half.

from your sashing material, cut strips 2 1/2" x WOF.  cut these into 12 strips, 8 1/2" long. stitch the sashing to the block.  i used the borders that i cut the blocks on to line up my seam allowance.  i stitched right along the edge of the borders.  look at the photo below to see what i mean.  join 3 blocks to each other, making one horizontal row.  don't forget sashing strips on the outside edges!  trim the block edges even.

repeat, making three rows total.  each row will go like this: sashing, block, sashing, block, sashing, block, sashing.

next, add strips of sashing to join the rows together.  look at that - wouldn't that make a cute crib bumper?  again, don't forget the sashing for the outside edges.

once it's all joined, i chose to trim my edges to 2" wide.  that way i knew i had nice straight edges.  i laid my ruler out, lining up against the inside edge of sashing.  look, here's a spot that isn't exact - but guess what?  it's ok!

tada!  the top is complete! 

ok, time to make a quilt sandwich.  lay out your backing, right side down.  then, your batting.  pin the top to these layers.  if you need some help with this step, here's a good tutorial.

quilt as desired.   i chose to do some (sort of) straight line quilting, using the edge of my presser foot to line up with the sashing.  i also stitched through the middle of each animal block - outlining the yellow and green borders within the design.

let's put the binding on now.  i cut 4 strips, 3" x WOF from the diaper pin fabric, stitched them together, and ironed them in half.  if you have never done binding before, this tutorial is my favorite.  i'm not going to give a detailed how-to for it, since she did such a nice job, but if you follow her directions you will be fine!  once you've made your binding, line your raw edges up with the edges of the quilt top,  and sew them (following her wonderful tutorial) around the quilt.  press.  wrap the binding around to the back side, and pin.

now, curl up with the lastest episode of LOST or whatever your guilty pleasure is (DWTS starts soon!) and hand stitch that binding down.  admire your work - you just made a quilt!  i like to wash and dry mine right away, so i can see it get all puckery.  now go make some balls, blocks, and books with your leftover fabrics!

thanks again to ruby jane's retro fabric and totally tutorials for giving me the chance to make this blanket!  hope you enjoyed it as much as i have!


Tammy Muscato said...

How ADORABLE! Love the quilting and the polka dots :) but LOVE the Diaper Pin material you used for the binding!! I need some (lots) of that lol. Great tutorial, thanks for sharing! Can't wait for DWTS either lol

Maureen T said...

Love the way you cut, then quilted as it makes it look like you did more piecing than you did. Love the fabric too. I know it is year ago, but I am going to try and source some of that fabric...gotta have it. One of the best tutorials too. I am teaching someone to sew and think this would be a satisfying project to teach a newbie control and accuracy of their stitching and give them confidence.


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