Sunday, August 26, 2012

How to make a patchwork baby blanket (no quilting necessary)

Sunday morning, my other half is watching the Dolphins game from the previous night (YAWN) and I'm wondering what I can do while the (American) football is on.

How about sewing a patchwork blanket?  I have some scraps left over from the bibs I have made which are the perfect size for a patchwork project.

This blanket will be made with a sewing machine, not the time consuming hand stitching that
I did in college.
Click on this link for the result of months of hand stitching....2nd pic down!

How to make a machine stitched patchwork blanket

First of all gather your scraps of fabric that you think will work well together.

I have a couple of tools that I found very helpful, a rotary cutter and a square template for patchwork!

Cut out 30 squares (mine measured 6 inches) using either these tools or a ruler, marker and scissors

Lay your squares out and plan your design, this may take a while.  I recommend taking a picture of the design so that there are no mistakes in the layout once sewing commences

Right sides together put a couple of pins along the edge to join 2 squares

Pin a row of 5 squares together

Sew squares together on one side, top to bottom reinforcing by using a back stitch at the top and bottom

Sew a row of 5 squares, then sew another row of 5 squares until you have 6 separate rows

Turn the rows over and press seams open

Place one row on top of another row, right sides together, matching seams, now is a good idea to look at the picture you took of your design

Pin rows together

Sew rows together making sure seams match.  I usually back stitch a couple of stitches to reinforce the seam

When all rows are sewn together turn over and press the seams open

It should look like this on the back

It should look like this on the front

After pressing the patchwork place it right sides together on your backing material.  I used white flannel cut a little bigger than my quilt

Make sure there are no wrinkles in your fabrics, smooth together (don't pull or stretch) and pin around the edges leaving a 6 inch opening to turn the quilt right side out after sewing

Sew your fabrics together with the same seam allowance used for sewing the squares together.  Don't forget to leave that 6 inch opening

Trim edges a little, I used pinking shears to prevent further fraying

Cut corners of excess bulk

Don't cut too close to the stitches

Give the blanket a good shake to get rid of loose threads and make sure long threads are trimmed.  Turn right sides out through the 6 inch gap

Gently ease corners out from inside the blanket with a chopstick or a knitting needle

Give the blanket a really good press.  Make sure you press the seam allowance under at the gap

I sewed 2 rows of top stitch to close the 6 inch hole and to give extra strength

Drum roll please.......the end product

The finished blanket
Check out the shop for other blankets....this one sold!

The blanket turned out great!  I am more than pleased with it.  It's a lovely light weight blanket not too big or bulky for travel and is great for strollers, car seats, and afternoon naps.  The finished dimensions are 27" x 32.5".


  1. Thank ou for the detailed instructions. I was wondering how this washes as the seams unflatten? Or, because it's flannel, do the seams stay put and not tent the flannel in any way?

  2. Hi Michelle....I have had no problems whatsoever in washing this blanket. Everything stays put, no comes out a bit wrinkled so I usually give it a quick gentle press with the iron. I think the top stitching helps keep everything in place around the edge and the patchwork part has stayed flat. It's important to pre-wash all the fabric you use too....I think I forgot to mention that at the beginning of the instructions! Sorry! Let me know how you do if you attempt to make one, I'd love to see pics.

  3. Hi Louise, I'm new to sewing, I've never used a sewing machine before. Can you explain the bit on the leaving a 6 inch seam where the top is placed on the white flannel. So, we use a quarter seam allowance while sewing the top on the flannel? Where does the 6-inch allowance come in? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Cheesetomato...lovely name :o) It's a 6" opening....basically just to turn it right side out! If you stitched all the way round and didn't leave a gap you wouldn't be able to turn your blanket out! I hope this was the right answer to the question :o)
      I usually stitch so that the right side of the sewing foot is against the raw edge of the this case you have to use the same seam allowance that you did when sewing the squares together.
      Hope this helps.

  4. Hi Louise, if I wanted to add a border to the patchwork top, how would I do this? I am after a border that's simple to put together. Thanks in advance!

  5. Here's a link to an easy border if you're a beginner....I've never added a border so I'll leave it to the experts.

  6. I want to make one of these for my kids and I want to use those small receiving blankets you can get at target and I also want to use minky fabric for the back and I was just wondering how big would you make the squares and if u would use the same sewing technique for sewing it all together?

    1. Hi Lauren

      First of all I would use the same technique, it works on the fabrics that you mentioned.
      As to how big to make the squares that's up to you, large squares will have a different look to smaller squares..... just remember the smaller the squares the more work it is! I would recommend buying the receiving blankets that you intend to cut up (fabric by the yard may be cheaper) and seeing how many squares you can cut them into equally