My sister in law wants to visit us next month and learn how to sew. I’ve been on the lookout for easy patterns that will let her practice basic skills and end up with something beautiful. We’ll start with a couple very simple projects, but I thought we might also try a cut chenille baby blanket. (Anneliese at Aesthetic Nest has a great tutorial with loads of photos.) With this style of blanket, you use a cotton print layered with three or more sheets of flannel. Sew lines diagonally across the fabric about a half inch apart, then cut through the flannel layers to create chenille. This blanket will give Alison a lot of practice time making straight lines, and I’ll be visiting her a couple weeks later if she wants help with the binding. (I plan to have something ready to bind during her visit, but it would be great if I could walk her through that part, too.)
If you decide to make one, I highly recommend investing in a chenille cutter.
This lets you just zip right through all the cutting with no fear of accidentally going through to the cotton fabric on the front which you do NOT want to cut.
And since I bought the cutter, I expect to make at least several more baby blankets to get my money’s worth out of it!
Most of the cut chenille blankets I’ve seen have rounded corners, but I love crisply bound quilt corners. I left mine sharp and bound it like a quilt. I worried about bit about hand sewing the back (chenille) side though, so I reversed my normal binding and machine sewed along the chenille side using a small stitch length. I wanted to be sure to catch as much of those little cut lines as possible.
Here is it is bound but not yet washed:
Isn’t it great how the flannel “squiggles up” and becomes chenille? It also helps hide not-so-straight lines, another reason I think this might be a good beginner project for Alison.
I’d love to make another blanket with a big, bold pattern. Sometimes fabric with a large scale print doesn’t work well for regular quilting, as cutting and piecing the smaller areas loses the overall design. This blanket would make such a feature out of a fabric like that, though.
You could also create this blanket without binding. A tight zigzag stitch along the raw edges would let the ends fluff up chenille style in the wash, too. I think that could be really soft and beautiful, and certainly easier if you’ve never worked with binding. Yet another reason I love this blanket for a beginner!
so cute! i’ve never seen one of these before, thanks for sharing!
I really like how it turned out. It makes a great, cushy blanket, but the cut chenille might even be cool on a tote bag or something. (This really makes a lot of lint in the first washing, by the way!)
I love this. It just may be my first attempt. So am i understanding right…you used the cotton truck pattern, then an orange flannel, then a cream flannel?
Hi Shelli! Yes, cotton trucks, then there are actually three flannels stacked together. I’m making another one right now for a baby girl, I’ll show you soon!
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How did you get your lines to be the same distance apart? Did you draw them on the fabric?
Hi Lauren! I just followed along with the width of my walking foot as a guide, which kept the lines roughly a half and inch apart. The lines aren’t straight and they wander a bit here and there, but it’s a pretty forgiving design and the fluffy chenille helps hide that.
Do you bind after you sew diagonal lines and before you cut or after you cut? How many layers do you recommend? Do all of them except back stack right side up?
Hi Clois! Cut first, then even up the edges and bind. Three layers of flannel are good, enough to fluff up nicely without being overly heavy. (It will be heavier than a regular quilt.) You might be able to see the layers a little better with this one: https://coopcrafts.com/2012/01/24/floral-cut-chenille-baby-blanket/ There are hot pink, purple and teal layers in that one, so you can see how much of each color flannel actually shows up as chenille.
Sarah, Love this blanket! Do you wash the fabric before you sew? Not sure if the cotton fabric would shrink a little. Thanks
Hi Diane! I didn’t wash before — I really avoid that if I can. Cotton does shrink a little but that’s nice, it’s how you get the “crinkle” you want in a quilted item.