Sunday, 11 March 2012

Minkee Baby Blanket

I recently found out that one of my friends, Mel, is expecting her first child, gender currently unknown. She is due at the beginning of June. This will be the second baby born to my group of close girlfriends, the first being Elijah, who was born in July of last year to my friend Tara (also her first child).

So, because I am me, I immediately begin looking on line for ideas of baby items to create for her. On a Canadian website, Hamel’s Fabrics, I find the perfect blanket kit. The kit includes 2 coordinating pieces precut of minkee fabric and the instructions on how to make the blanket. I loved the monkeys, and had to get this kit. I bought one in blue, for Elijah, and one in green for the unknown baby.

Now, I had never actually worked with minkee and was unaware of how incredibly annoying that it can be to work with. Because I was having so many issues just pinning the two pieces of fabric together (I always ended up with one piece that was much longer than the other, even though they matched up perfectly when I laid them together), I sewed the first edge together with a basting stitch, which is much wider than a normal stitch, and therefore much easier to take out when your seam is all wrong (I know this really well through experience).

Once I had taken out the first seam, I searched the internet for tips on how to sew with minkee and end up with a half decent finished product. I found these sites:
            1) Corner House
            2) Sew Much Ado
            3) Prudent Baby

All of these sites said to pin the fabric together in 1 – 1 ½” increments. First, lay the two fabrics together on a flat surface, right sides together. To pin, pin the four corners, then place a pin in the middle between two pins, and continue to add pins to the middle of the space between to pins until the pins are closely grouped, about 1 – 1 ½” apart.

When you start to sew the sides together, take lots of time and go slowly, very, very slowly. Also, be sure to not sew over top of your pins, as this may cause your needle to bend or break.

Make sure that you leave a section of one side open, you will use the opening to turn the fabric inside out.

Once your sides are all sewn, except the opening, turn your blanket inside out and push out the corners (if your corners are not as square as you would like, trim some of the seam allowance around the corner on the inside of the blanket). Using a blind stitch, sew the opening closed.

Sew a ½" seam around the edges of your blanket, to give it a nice, clean and finished look. I used two different colours of thread because of the different fabrics used, Brown thread in the bobbin for the dotted side, and green thread for the monkey side.

For the blue blanket, I decided to try a binding for the edges. I purchased a wide ribbon in a matching blue. Because I was going to be covering the edges in ribbon, I just machine sewed the opening close, rather than hand stitching it closed. 

I folded over ½” at the beginning of the ribbon and started pinning it to the edge of the blanket, making sure that the amount of ribbon on the back was just slightly longer than the part at the front, so that I would know whiling sewing the binding on that I was definitely also attaching the back without having to constantly stop and check. (same concept as used for bias tape).

I love these clips, they do not create a bump in the fabric like pins do and it is much easier to hold many layers of fabric with the clip then it is to try and force a pin through all the layers. I got mine at Hamel's Fabrics, but you could also use alligator clips or binder clips.

This is the first time I have ever put a binding on a blanket before, so I was unsure of how to do the corners, and I’m sure if you look online, you can find a way better way.

I decided to sew one side at a time. Sew the side right up to the edge of the blanket.

Then, fold the ribbon in on it’s self to create a mitered corner. Pin the ribbon to the next side, and, starting at the mitered corner, sew along the side right to the edge of the blanket. Continue this until you end up at the start of the ribbon. Cut the ribbon so that it overlaps the beginning by an inch, fold under ½” and sew the end of ribbon down.

If you don’t want little fingers to get into the spaces at the corners and the end of the ribbon, hand stitch the openings closed using a blind stitch.

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