Sewing Blog

How to Sew a Speedy Blanket in 7 Steps

Want to learn how to sew a blanket? If you’re new to sewing, this is the perfect project for you. If you’re more advanced, this is a great quick project to whip up in a weekend!

Dog on a handmade blanket

This blanket uses two-layers and can be used for bedding and so much more. I’m using mine to protect my car seats from stains when I transport Polly, my dog.

How to sew a blanket

Sizing your blanket

In this tutorial, I reference the measurements I used, but feel free use any measurements you like — the instructions will be the same. If you’re not sure how big to make your blanket, consider using one of the standard sizes listed below.

Measurements for standard blanket sizes

  • Crib Blanket – 45″ x 60″
  • Twin Bed Size – 66″ x 90″
  • Full/Double Bed Size – 80″-85″ x 90″
  • Queen Bed Size – 90″ x 90″
  • King Bed Size – 90-100″ x 108″ 

Before starting your blanket

If you plan to wash your blanket after it’s sewn, always pre-wash fabric. Pre-washing will prevent shrinking and misshaping when washing.

If you don’t have a single piece of fabric big enough to sew your blanket, piece it beforehand. This works best with two-layers blankets.

Let’s start gathering the materials for your blanket

Fabric:

  • Quilting cotton
  • Fleece

These two pieces of fabric should be the same size. Mine were 19″ x 30″.

Notions:

  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors (or a rotary cutter and mat)
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Your favorite marking tool (chalk, fabric market, etc.)
  • Thread
  • Rounded object like a plate or your pin container (optional)
Supplies for Sewing a DIY Blanket

Step-by-step tutorial

Step 1: Cutting the fabric

For this project, you should have two pieces of fabric that are the same size — one in quilting cotton, the other in fleece.

fabric for a blanket right sides together

Put one fabric on top of the other, right sides together. Make sure they lay perfectly flat and secure them with pins all around. 

Step 2: Round the corners (optional)

Decide if you want your blanket to have square or rounded corners. Mine will have two opposite rounded corners and two opposite square ones, so you can see both. If you want square corners, you can skip this step.

making rounded corners on fabric.

To make rounded corners, place a plate (or a pin container or another round object) on top of one corner so the sides of the object touch the edges of the fabric. Trace the round shape on the cotton layer of fabric with your marking tool. Cut out along that line.

Repeat for any other corner you want to be rounded.

Step 3: Sewing the blanket

Now it’s time to go to the sewing machine! If you’re still learning the ins and outs of your machine, you might like this free mini-class on sewing machine basics.

keep the edges of fabric aligned

Starting in the middle of one of the long edges, begin with a backstitch. Then, sew around the perimeter of the blanket, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance — check your sewing machine throat plate markings to keep sewing straight).

Tip: Don’t see marks on your sewing machine’s plate? Use tip No. 2 in this post! (The tip is for a 1/4″ seam allowance, but it works like a charm for any width!)

Sewing a square corner

how to sew a square corner

When approaching a square corner, stop with the needle down 1/2″ before you reach the end of the fabric. Lift up the foot, pivot the fabric around the needle and start sewing the next side of blanket, keeping the edge of the fabric aligned with the 1/2″ mark on the needle plate.

Sewing a rounded corner

how to sew a rounded corner

When approaching a rounded corner, slow down your sewing speed to make sure you’re maintaining a consistent seam allowance.

Tip: Do not look at the needle — keep your eyes on the guides marked on your sewing machine needle plate!

sewing around a blanket

Once you reach the side started on, stop sewing 5″ to 10″ before the starting point of your seam and backstitch. This is so you can turn the blanket right side out.

Tip: If you’re sewing a large blanket or using a heavy-weight fabric, leave a bigger gap. A good rule of thumb is to leave an opening a quarter to a third of the long side length.

Step 5: Trim and press the seams

trimning and notching corner fabric

Trim/notch the corners to reduce the bulk. For best results, clip as near as you can to the seam, but never cut it — go to, but not through!

press seam allowances open with a tailor's clapper

Now, to the ironing board! Press seams open as much as you can. A point presser or tailor’s clapper or a sleeve ironing board will give you a tiny flat surface to press the seams without stamping on the fabric below.

Step 6: Turn the blanket right-side out

use a blunt pencil to make perfectly pointy square corners

Once you’re done pressing, turn the whole blanket right-side out. Use a pointy tool (like a blunt pencil) to help the square corners to lay flat. Use your fingers on rounded corners to get the seam right in the fold, not showing on either side. 

Steam press the whole blanket from the right side.

Step 7: Finish stitching

small sewn x in blanket

To help the two layers to stay together, sew a little cross right in the middle of the blanket, sewing back and forth a couple of times on each direction.

topstitch and close the gap

Fold in the seam allowances in the gap and secure the two edges together with a few pins to make sure they’re perfectly aligned. Topstitch the blanket all around, 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the edge, closing the gap.

Edging options for your blanket

Topstitching is just one option for the final touch on your blanket. Want to finish the edges of your blanket in a different way and have a little bit of sewing fun? Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Fold over the edge twice, making a turned hem all around. This works best for single-layer blankets in a light or medium weight fabric.

2. Use the bias tape technique described in this tutorial for double-sided placemats.

3. Use a ribbon tape as a bias tape around the blanket.

4. Blanket stitch by hand (see option No. 3 in the link).

6. Make fringe along the perimeter.

Dog on a DIY Blanket

Now it’s your turn! How are you going to finish your next blanket? Let me know in the comment section — I’m curious like a cat!

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2 Comments

Mary D

For square corners, I stop a couple of stitches before I need to turn for the corner turn my seam diagonally, sew about 2 stitches and then pivot and sew down the next seam. I have found the corners come out better this way. Another observation of mine is that fleece can melt under a hot iron. When I make blankets with one side fleece and one side flannel or other cotton, when I need to press any seams, I turn my iron down low and use a pressing cloth (or piece of ironable fabric) to press my seams so the iron never touches my fleece.

These blankets make great gifts.

Reply
Irene // Serger Pepper Designs

Hi Mary!
Thanks for sharing your two great tips!
I sometimes do corners like you say but most of the times I do them the easy (lazy?) way (pivoting at 90 °) and they come out just fine!

Your pressing fleece advice is really good! I always pre-wash (and then press) fabric so I already which ones will melt and which ones won’t: this particular one was a really good fleece that didn’t melt Inter a very hot iron, so I didn’t use my pressing cloth and didn’t reduce the temp but it’s a good advice to give to beginner sewists: always audition your fabrics!
Happy sewing!
Irene // Serger Pepper Designs

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