Monday, November 2, 2009

Wonderful, Well-Loved Gifts for Small Children

One of the things that I like to make for a baby gift is a flannel comforter. It is great for laying on the floor or for snuggling a baby on the cold walk to the car. Several of these have been mailed to new great nieces and nephews as well as a few grandma friends' grandchildren so these may look familiar to some of you. One of these will be headed to Tennessee in the next week for another friend's baby.

SPECIAL NOTE: I have made a few of these comforters for teenagers and adults, as well. Everyone loves the warm, but light feel of the flannel comforters. You can also tie the comforters with yarn, but after many washings I, personally, think the yarn looks rather matted.

How do I make mine?

  1. Buy 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 yards of flannel or two different pieces of flannel at 2/3 or 3/4 each.

  2. In hot water, wash the fabric using the quick setting without fabric softener(Flannel tends to shrink, so I try to take care of the shrinkage upfront.) and tumble dry.

  3. Fold in half or lay the two pieces together so that the right sides of the fabric face each other.

  4. Square up the fabric. (Let me know if you need me to explain this concept.)

  5. Take a large round template (substitute a dinner plate) and trace around the edge of each corner to get a little bit of a curve and trim off the corner. It is so much nicer for turning and looks good when finished.

  6. After that make a sandwich of the flannel and a piece of high loft poly batting. The batting is laid down first, then add the two pieces of flannel just like they were when you cut them.

  7. Pin the flannel pieces to the batting, leaving about 10 inches unpinned.

  8. Feel free to trim off most of the excess batting, but don't cut right up to the edge.

  9. With the sewing machine, make about a 1 inch seam starting with a few back stitches near the opening. Sew all the way around to the pin on the other side of the opening.

  10. Remove ALL pins (Experience is a great reminder.)

  11. Turn the comforter inside out. You should have the two right sides of the flannel on the outside.

  12. Use a blunt object to help push all the seams out. If you feel more comfortable, you can then pin the edges down before sewing.

  13. Hand sew the opening using a blind stitch.

  14. With the sewing machine, sew around the outside again using the same 1 inch seam. The edge is puffy and adds to the finished look.

  15. Lay the comforter on a hard flat surface, and place safety pins (quilter's pins work well) to mark off the top of the comforter. Pin through all three layers. You can lay out a grid with yarn or simply use a ruler to or measuring square to keep things in line. I generally use a 4 inch grid unless the batting tells me to quilt or tie a smaller distance apart. the tying keeps the batting from shifting and pulling apart from repeated washings.

  16. Use embroidery floss to tie square knots through all 3 layers, and then remove the pins.

  17. Trim the floss to no more than 1 inch in length if giving the comforter to a small child or baby.

  18. Feel free to launder before sending the comforter, but you can also just toss it in the dryer to add to the fluffy look.

  19. After the comforter is made, I recommend that the new owner wash using regular settings and use fabric softener as desired.

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