Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Handwoven Baby Blanket

A friend is expecting a baby any day now. I took some yardage that I had woven last year and sewed it into a blanket.

My fears of making mistakes with my handwoven fabric resurfaced. It took me a few days to decide that I really could piece my handwovens together!

There were a few new-to-me tricks--mostly flat felled seams--so I'll show you some pictures of the process.

First off, this is how I marked, sewed, and cut my yardage. The chalk line was the finished size of the piece. I sewed a small zig-zag stitch on each side of the chalk line, then cut the piece.

The flat felled seams are a way of enclosing the raw edges. With right sides together, I sewed a ~5/8" seam. I trimmed the white side of the seam allowance to ~1/4", turned the brown side of the seam allowance under 1/4", then folded the brown (folded) edge over the white (trimmed) edge.

From the back side (where I could see the folded seam allowance) I stitched the folded edge of the brown seam allowance. No more raw edges!

Just a note: I was uncomfortable using a new technique on my handwoven fabrics, so I made a mini blanket to test things out. I piece the nine sections into three strips of three, then connected the strips of three to make the nine square blanket. I discovered that the flat felled seams the the strips of three needed to be offset or else they got too bulky to turn. Check out the direction of the flat felled seams where the white square and the black square meet. The are folded opposite directions.

Also, I didn't like the way my binding worked. I tried to use the "fold it in half, sew to blanket, fold over and handsew to the other side of blanket" technique. (Can you tell I'm not really a sew-er? I'm just a wanna-be!) The binding (same fabric as the solid brown corner squares) was not wide enough to do that easily. It was feeling stiff like piping and was a bear to handle. I got brave. I turned on all my lights and made use of a sunny morning and ripped out the binding seam! It was a bit of a challenge. My brown thread matched the brown fabric really well! But, I succeeded and only needed the magnifying glass a few times. The final binding was machine sewn on one side, folded over, seam allowance tucked up and attached by hand.

The hand of the blanket is wonderful. It's just right for a simple summer cover for a new little one!

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