Category Archives: Sewing

Patchwork blanket sewing tutorial – a simple sew for beginners

Patchwork blanket sewing tutorial – a simple sew for beginners

I love blankets. Cotton, quilted, crochet, knitted – I’m not materialist, I just love blankets. I buy lots. I make less but I should make more! And writing this tutorial made me remember how simple they are to sew. 

If you can switch on a machine and sew in a (relatively) straight line, you can make a blanket like this. Definitely. No problem. Just take your time. 

And here’s what you need to do it – 

-Co-ordinating, or crazy random, fabric. 100% cotton is nicest I find but you could use anything or even a mixture! Great for getting rid of any scraps and making them useful. A little note on pre washing fabrics – I didn’t pre wash these as they are all cotton and all a similar colour. Although ‘most poeple’ would advise you to always pre wash. If using fabrics of different materials they could shrink differently when washed for the first time or mixing dark/light colours that could run, pre washing is probably a good idea! Unless you never intend to wash your blanket, that is. 

-Square template. Decide how big you want your squares to be. Mine were 5″ square, with the edge pieces being 2.5″ x 5″ and the corners being 2.5″ square. I just cut mine out of card. 

-Cutting mat and rotary cutter. Ok so this isn’t essential but if you need to cut a lot of squares I do recommend it! If you don’t want to cut your own squares you can buy pre cut, usually coordinated packs called Charm Squares – there are just hundreds to choose from here on Etsy and I have used packs before myself when I haven’t had the fabric I wanted. 

-Soft, cuddly backing fabric. I simply bought a soft, fleece blanket and cut it down to size (this is often cheaper than buying fleece by the metre & I just used a blanket I already had). 

-Thread. I keep it simple and use white on light fabrics and black on dark as they won’t be seen anyway but you can colour match if you wish! 

So let’s make blankets, yay! 

Step 1 – Choose your fabrics. You can pick anything you like, anything! This is your blanket. I chose cool mint greens and creams as I made this for our new impending neutral arrival due in October. You could just choose two and do alternate squares, you could choose 20 and have them all different!  I chose 3 Co-ordinating prints and 2 plains for the boarder. 

Step 2 – Have an approximate idea of the size of the finished blanket in your head. Lap blanket? Baby cot? King sized bed? Cut a few squares and start laying them out so you can get an idea of size and design and see how many of each square you need to cut as you go. Some people like to doodle it out in a notebook but I find that seeing the fabrics together is much more helpful. 

Take a photo! This will help you when you inevitably drop a big pile of squares and forget where you wanted everything. 

Step 3 – Time to start stitching. Start with the top row of your squares and place the first two squares print side together. Stitch together down the edge using the edge of the foot as the seam allowance guide. I’ve folded back the stars fabric so you can see that it is print side facing with the polka dots. 

Take the next square in the row and place it print side facing onto the square you just stitched (so I would place mine onto the stars as I’m working left to right) and stitch together. Continue this along the row until you’ve sewn all the squares together. Then move onto sewing the next row down and so on!

Step 4 – Ironing. Apart from when I really really have to, I never iron. I apologise to my slightly creased looking family for this but it’s such a boring job I find it hard to fit into my busy life. But sewing, sewing requires ironing. So iron! Iron down all those seams. Some people iron to the left, some to the right, some open them up to press. I just pick a side, any side. 

Step 5 – Now you have all your long strips it’s time to sew the blanket top together. My blanket top consisted of 8 rows (when I’d sewn each one I lay them back down, in order so they didn’t get jumbled up). Starting at the top, lay your first strip print side facing onto the strip below, then sew the seam along the top. Just like when we sewed all the squares together. You should now have two rows of your blanket topper sewn together, hooray! Sew each row to the one above until they’re all joined together and look like this. 

Let’s just have a little side note here about lining up all those seams. Even with a template and pretty accurate cutting and sewing, some of the seams just won’t line up. If you’re using different types of fabrics this could be to do with the stretch in each making it look a bit wonky or the odd square slightly bigger than the other. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter. If it’s one square and its out by a lot, you could unpick it and re sew it but generally it’s the little quirks and imperfections that make handmade what it is. 

Step 6 – Iron all those seams flat again! 

Step 7 – Backing fabric. Lay the backing fabric down and place the patchwork blanket top face down onto it (nicely pressed seams facing upwards). Pin it, pin it to death! It will move and stretch so I pin the corners, down the sides, top, bottom and a couple in the middle. I’m not a pinner usually, I tend to just hold things together and sew but when you need pins, you need pins. Cut around the blanket top to make the backing the right size. This doesn’t have to be that neat right now. 

Step 8 – Stitch all the way around the blanket but leave a gap to turn the whole thing through. Leave a gap! A gap of about 4″ was enough for my blanket but you might need a bigger space if your blanket is larger. 

Step 9 – Trim those seams. Trim the seams around the edge of the blanket and remove the pins (if they’re still in there). Snip the corners off, being careful not to cut through the stitching. This will give your blanket sharper corners.  

Step 10 – Turn your blanket through the gap you left, poke the corners out with a knitting needle/pencil and give it a good shake. Looks like a blanket, yay! 

Step 11 – Iron your blanket. Last time, I promise! Tuck the edges in from the gap you left too and iron them flat. 

Step 12 – Top stitching. Top stitching is what it says it is, stitching over the top. You don’t have to do it but I think it makes for a better finish (and believe me, if there’s a corner to cut somewhere when doing a job, I’ll do it). I stitched all the way around the edge of my blanket. Oh! And it also closes up that gap we left to turn it through too. 

And that’s it! One new blanket. Time to grab some wine, stick a film on, snuggle under and be a bit smug with your new creation. Hooray! 

Here’s another one I made for a friend’s little boys 1st birthday, using Cath Kidston quilting cotton with co-ordinating prints. 

I’d love to see if you make your own blanket! Happy snuggling. 

Whimsy Woo hobby horse pattern review – stitch your own best friend! 

Whimsy Woo hobby horse pattern review – stitch your own best friend! 

Both of our small human children love thundering around on hobby horses but I didn’t think the shop bought ones reflected their style and personalities. So I was on a mission to stitch them some best friends.

I decided to have a quick look online before I embarked on drafting my own pattern. To be honest, I could have done this myself but sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to hold your hand, guide you through and not have to worry about anything. Tried and tested! So quickly into my search I came across the Whimsy Woo pattern by Emma Marie. I mean, look at these horses. Who can resist??

All the ‘wooies’ above were made by Joanne over at Cherry Blossom and they’re just gorgeous! She’s made over 100 wooies, yes, over 100! And look! There’s even a wooicorn.

So I’d had this pattern about a year before I’d even printed it out. I procrastinate like to prepare, take my time and think things through. Yes. Anyway, the first two I made were for a friend’s twins birthday, I made one more ‘girly’ and one more ‘boyish’. The pattern was simple, well written and, if there is a tricky bit (like sewing the bloody ears on) there is a wealth of help on YouTube or the wooie Facebook page! Mine took 3-4 hours each. All the materials you need are clearly listed at the beginning so it is easy to gather these in advance – DO THIS! Don’t just wing it, honestly do not think ‘pfffft, I can sew these buttons with a normal needle, I don’t need a doll needle’ (what kind of an idiot would think that *cough* me) – you need a doll needle. A really long one.

If you’re a beginner and thinking ‘I love it… But I can’t sew!’ Never fear! This pattern is really good for anyone of any level because you can add as much or as little as you like. Read the instructions, take your time.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photographs of the two I’d made because I totally ran out of time and just finished stitching 10 minutes before the party the lighting was pretty bad. But I have collected a selection of photographs from some amazingly talented makers – this show just how diverse this pattern is, that you can really go wild with your imagination and create *exactly* what you want.

Above the top two are created by Georgie Porge, I mean… Look at them. Look! They are works of art. And they take hours, hours and hours but they are amazing! The wool mane and floral headbands are super special too and Emma (a different Emma to the Whimsy Woo pattern creator) has created her own tutorial so you can have a go too! You can find those here.

The bottom two wooies are by Kim over at Kim’s Peanut Gallery. I think Kim makes the most wooies out of everyone I’ve ever seen, she is always busy making beautiful ponies for her customers. She even makes adorable little carrots, feedbags and apples!

I love the superhero mask on this wooie, I think both my children would adore this idea! He’s by Vanessa over at  Leviolets Lovelies, he even has a name!

I’ve seen this pattern be adapted for making dragons and dinosaurs, sea horses and everything from Cowboys to princesses. Made to match dresses, bedroom decor and even really mini ones! The possibilities are endless.

The next one I’m planning, which I will take photos of and share with you all, is for our girl child. Her favourite colours is blue and she picked out some Fairy Frost by Michael Miller which is super sparkly. I collected all the other bits together and I think it’ll make a lovely Wooie.

You can buy the Whimsy Woo pattern here (along with add ones for a Wooicorn and masks)

The beautiful wool mane and floral headband tutorials are available here

I’d love to see if you make one!