Baby blankets are so much fun. There are hundreds of cute and delightful patterns of soft flannel to choose from, and personalize your blanket for either your own baby, or as a gift. I have made many of these blankets over the years, and I still have the one my grandmother made for me when I was born and which all seven of my siblings used as infants. These light blankets are extremely versatile. You can use them as cover-ups while nursing; wrap the infant so that they are comfortable but not too hot; lay them down for baby to nap on; catch and/or clean up messes; and the list goes on. They are inexpensive, and can be made in half an hour in three easy steps.
1. First, cut a large piece of fabric exactly square. Most bolts of flannel come either 42” or 44” wide. This is approximately 1 ¼ yards of fabric. Flannel is usually $3.99-$6.99 per yard, and I like to wait to purchase mine until I can use a coupon. In order to get the fabric to square up nicely, fold it from corner to corner and cut the selvage off the edge. (Selvage is the strip along the edge that is attached to the loom when the fabric is being weaved. It usually has printing on it, and is often colored white.) Then fold it the other way and trim if the edges still don’t match. (The reason it’s best to be square is to make the blanket look symmetrical and easily fold to fit into a purse or diaper bag.)
2. Second, you want to finish the 4 cut edges nicely, so that they look classy, last a long time, and do not unravel. There are several ways to do this. The quickest and easiest is with a sewing machine. First, you iron over the edge about ⅛”. Then you fold it over again ¼” and iron once more. Now, you can either use a matching thread and a plain running stitch (or fancy stitch) to sew the edge firmly down. Or, you can pin on a pretty edging and sew the three layers together. Use something that’s soft and not rough to a baby. Rickrack edging is better than lace. Binding tape works well, too. My favorite edging though, is hand crocheted. This takes 3-4 hours depending on the pattern you use. My own pattern I developed has only 3 stitches, and you only have two rows. It’s easy and elegant for those of you who like to crochet. A fourth option is to line the blanket with another piece of matching flannel. This makes the blanket a bit heavier and warmer, perfect for winter use. Cut two pieces of square flannel instead of one, and pin them right sides together. Sew around the whole outer edge, about ¼” from the edge, leaving a hole about 6” long so you can turn it right side out. Trim the corners and turn the blanket right side out, poking out the corners with a pencil. Either stitch the opening shut by hand, or run once more around the whole edge with the sewing machine (see picture).
3. The third step is to neatly and thoroughly iron the whole blanket, concentrating on pressing the edge seam firmly so it stays nice and flat. And you have your blanket!