Knowing that one of my closest friends is due to give birth to a baby boy sometime in January, I have been thinking about what handmade gifts I can sew for him. I finished a quilt top a few days ago and I think I've found the fabric with which to back it: brown polka dot flannel on sale at Jo-Ann's for only $2.99 a yard!
However, I thought it would be fun to stray from my normal routine in an attempt to learn some basic sewing skills. After all, I made plenty of Barbie and Cabbage Patch doll clothes when I was a kid, so it couldn't be too hard, right? (Did I mention those doll clothes were often lopsided?)
So when I spotted some adorable teddy bear fabric at Jo-Ann's today, I thought it would be fun to try and sew a "simple" baby blanket backed with brown minky. I have never sewn with this fabric before, so I didn't quite realize its reputation. After all, it's soft and cuddly! But today I learned (the hard way) that sewing with it is-especially for a beginner-a bit of a disaster.
Many have attempted this task before me, so while it's nothing new and fresh, I'll still offer my basic how-to, then I'll end with what I've learned and what I'll do differently in the future.
I started by gathering all of my "ingredients" for a baby blanket: front and back fabric, a cutting mat, rotary cutter, fabric scissors, and coordinating thread (I used brown 100% cotton thread).
Once cut, I put the right sides of the two fabrics together, while flattening everything out as nicely as possible and pinning. I think I redid this 3 or 4 times, because the fabric kept bunching. In hindsight, I should have pinned them together even more.
Using one of my new Fiestaware bowls (this seems to be the popular choice for rounded corners), I cut around the edges. Note: FIRST, use a tracing pen or pencil, THEN cut. I made the hasty mistake of trying to rotary cut around the bowl, which proved a foolish idea.
In hindsight, I would have pre-washed and ironed the cotton fabric prior to making the blanket. (Again, a beginner's mistake!)
What I learned...
- Minky is stubborn, slippery, and stretchy.
- Do not iron minky dot!
- Pin together your two fabrics like crazy as the minky bunches and stretches like nobody's business.
- Pre-wash any non-minky fabric, as it will shrink and minky won't.