I wonder why a small sheet of flannel to wrap a baby is called a receiving blanket.

Ann at The Bunkhouse posted about making a lovely quick baby shower gift: a self-binding baby receiving blanket using two layers of flannel.  I needed one of these super quick baby shower gifts myself.  A while back, I started a couple of baby quilts for my niece who’s having twins.  Well, I found out that the baby shower is happening on the 7th of January.  Yikes.  I did not know it was so soon.  Actually, I was aiming at before or slightly after the birth.  Luckily Ann pointed us at the tutorial she used.  I found the tutorial perfectly sufficient but a lot of commenters were unsure about the mitred corners.  For my own edification and for my own girls, who are getting to the age where they’re needing baby shower gifts, I decided to post a tutorial with more information about those corners.

Double Thick Baby Reciving Blanket

Find two different flannels that you’d like to use.  Plaids or stripes are not the best choices as flannels are often printed skewed. This means that when you cut the fabric square, the pattern won’t line up straight.  You can see some of that on mine.  I just decided that it wasn’t going to be of much impact.

I don’t normally wash and dry my fabrics to preshrink them but I do with flannel, because what was cut more or less straight across at the store, won’t come out like that once it’s been washed and dried.  So, the best plan is to get that shifting out of the way before the cutting and sewing.

Decide what size you’d like this blanket to end up.  Decide also how much ‘border’ you’d like the larger layer of flannel to provide.  In my example, the border was 3.5″.  Cut the larger flannel twice the width of the border larger in both directions.  I decided to make my blanket 40″ x 31″ because that was what was going to be possible given the fabrics I had.  I cut the blue flannel 47″ x 38″ which is 40″ + 7″ and 31″ + 7″.  Cut the inner flannel smaller by twice the borders in both directions.  I cut the red flannel 33″ x 24″ which is 40″ – 7″ and 31″ – 7″.

Next you mark the middle of each side of both flannel pieces.  I made a small black dot with a laundry marker.  The picture shows the flannels folded into quarters, ready to mark.  The distances marked with the arrows should be twice the width of the border you chose.  In my case, that’s 7″.

Take both flannels, right sides together, pin the lengths together matching the centres.  The smaller flannel will be shorter, of course.  Click the right pic a couple of times, and you’ll be able to see that I put the last pin in the red flannel at an angle.  That’s because, we’re going to pin the other two edges next, again starting by matching the centre dots and working towards the corners.  The pic below on the left shows how the blue flannel is starting to want to fold at 45 degrees from the corner.  That’s good.  Pin all the edges and all the corners will look like the right pic.

Now we sew.  Start near the middle of one side and sew to the corner.  Secure the stitching by going back and forth two stitches when you get to within a quarter inch of the smaller flannel corner.  If you need to, you could mark that point on each corner before you sew.  Cut the threads and start to sew the next side, flipping the larger flannel corner out of the way.  Continue all the way around until you get within about 8″ of where you started.  Secure the stitches and cut the threads.

Now, we have to smooth the two layers of flannel nice and flat, centering the smaller flannel on the larger.  Use a ruler and make the borders as equal as possible.  Turn the blanket over and make sure the larger flannel is behaving (flat).  The corners will be flapping around like the pic on the left.  Once you’re happy with the centredness and flatness of the two flannels, it’s time to iron.  We want to iron the seam allowance to the outside and we want take the corners and straighten them out to the left, as we turn the blanket to deal with each corner.  Ignore the arrow for a minute and see the corner all straight in the right pic.  The seam allowances and the corner fold which you can’t see right now, are ironed.

I almost forgot.  Remember the opening we left?  Make sure you iron a nice even quarter inch of the larger flannel just as if it were sewn like the rest of the seam allowances.

Look at the arrow now.  Take the point of the  corner and fold it down.  Now you’ll see the corner fold that you ironed.  We’ll mark that fold because I don’t find flannel holds a crease that well.  The left pic shows that I used my laundry marker and put dots to mark the sewing line which starts at the corners of the sewing you just did and goes out to the corner of the larger flannel.  This will be the mitre.  I also pin to the right of these lines in each corner because we have to pull the large flannel away from the marked lines before we sew, so as not to catch that fabric when sewing.  The pinning prevents shifting during that rearranging.

Before you straighten out the blanket, it’s time to cut the flappy part of each corner.  The right pic shows this and one of the flaps folded open.

Almost done!  Now, flatten the blanket out, centering the smaller flannel again and iron the mitre seams open.  The little triangle at the very point will help you make the corner turn properly when you turn the blanket inside out.

And that happens to be the next step.  Reach in and turn each corner before you pull anything through the hole.  Then pull the two corners from one end through the opening, followed by the last two corners.  Flannel stretches easily, so you don’t want pull out the whole blanket all at once.

The blanket is now rightside out.  Centre the smaller flannel inside the larger flannel border one last time.  Smooth the layers, nice and flat, again.  Turn the blanket over and make sure the back is flat too.  Now it’s time to pin the seam allowances to the back layer.  Pay attention to the opening.  Make sure it’s in line with the rest of the seam.  Once that’s done and you’re satisfied that everything is centred and flat, it’s time to do the top-stitching, shown in the right pic.  Click a couple of times to see it really close.  You can look again at the very first pic too.  All done!!  And beautiful.

It took time to go through this carefully, but it wasn’t hard, was it?  Mitred corners on a self bound blanket – no problem! Easy-peasy even!

And it’s a lovely gift.  You can wrap that baby in it or use it as a burp cloth.  You can use it to protect a couch from spit-ups or you can use it as a light blanket when it’s a bit cool.  So useful and pretty too!

If there’s anything that could be explained better, please let me know.  :)


8 Comments on Self-Binding Baby Receiving Blanket

  1. elle says:

    It is a lovely gift and well explained.

  2. sheila says:

    Wonderful idea for a quick shower gift and definitely very useful.

  3. Nice tutorial! Thank you so much : )

  4. A couple of my favourite blankets we use with our daughter are simple double flannel ones. One that we received was from someone not sure if we were having a girl or a boy. One side is pink and the other blue.

  5. P. says:

    Great tutorial, Rita. I love pretty and practical gifts like this. I’m sure your niece will really appreciate them!

  6. Sarah Craig says:

    Such a lovely gift, and thanks for sharing the tutorial! Whoop whoop!!

  7. Vicki says:

    This is a great gift for a new mom. Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  8. Lisaleh says:

    My grandmother told me they were called receiving blankets because they “received” all the babies fluids! Hee hee.

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