One of my most favourite and practical baby gifts to give and receive are flannel receiving blankets. And not just regular old baby blankets - extra large receiving blankets that are perfect for swaddling newborns. They're hard to find in stores, but they're so easy to make! I've made baby receiving blankets all sorts of different ways (you can see my bound edge method here, and my folded edge method here), but my latest favourite method is finishing their edges with the rolled hem function on my serger. This makes for a nice stretchy edge that works well when using a blanket for swaddling, and it's a quick and easy finish to do if you have a serger.
If you don't have a serger, I think you'd love one! It's such a fantastic machine for seam finishing and doing quick little projects like this that look really professional. I love mine, and I've had it for years. Here it is if you want to buy it too:
I'm writing this tutorial as it works with my Janome serger above, but this method will probably work for most sergers. If not, consult your serger's manual for the directions on how to do a narrow rolled hem.
Materials (per blanket):
- 1 yard of cotton flannel (I buy mine at Fabric.com)
- serger & serger thread
Pre-wash your flannel, and then cut it into a square that's 1 yard by 1 yard (36" x 36"). Round the corners using a round plate as a template. Make sure any stray strings are trimmed off of the edges of your piece of fabric.
Take out the left needle on your serger. You only need the right one to make the narrow hem.
Next, disengage the blade by folding it down (there's a button on the left of my blade that I press as I fold the knife down). You won't be cutting fabric as you serge a narrow rolled hem, your serger will fold it under.
Then, change your serger's setting from "standard" to "rolled". On mine, there's a knob that I move to "R".
Adjust your stitch length to the smallest there is (on mine it's "1"). You may have to adjust the tension of your lower threads too if you're sewing with a thicker fabric like linen. For my serger and this project, I had to tighten the tension on both lower threads to make the fabric fold under properly. Test your hem on a scrap piece of fabric before doing the real thing.
Starting at a corner, lift up your presser foot and slide your fabric in so that it's a half inch or so in front of the presser foot. On my serger, I place the raw edge of the fabric so that it just touches my guide, as above. Put the presser foot down and sew. You should see the fabric folding under as you stitch a narrow, finished hem.
Trim all of your threads when you're finished, and your blanket is already complete!
Doesn't this make a quick and adorable gift for a new baby? I made some for my neighbors and friends, and included them in a box full of baking as a new baby gift. I don't think you can have too many receiving blankets around. I sure go through them quickly with my own Baby B!
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