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:
And after washing:
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!