Weekend Project: How to make an Ombre Baby Blanket

This weekend at River Ridge Co…

Okay, so we’re taking a quick break from all things wood to share this super sweet (and easy!) ombre baby blanket DIY.  Disclaimer: I’m a largely self-taught sewer- so I’m sure there’s some terminology I’m lacking and some techniques that could be done better – but really, you don’t need to have very much sewing experience to pull this one off (promise!).  I whipped this one together over the weekend and can’t wait to hand it over to a good friend (and her little one)!

Let’s get started!

Step 1.  Gather your supplies.

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You’ll need:

  1. Something for the top: Fabric in six shades of the same colour (obviously I chose pink!).  You can decide how big to make your quilt but for this one, I picked up approx. 40 cm of the five lighter shades and approx. 1 metre of the darkest shade (which I also used to make the trim around the outside of the quilt).
  2. Something for the bottom: A soft fabric for the underside of the quilt (I chose a waffle fabric in off-white)
  3. Something for the middle: Options for the batting are endless.  I chose a polyester brand that holds up well to washing, is soft but also sturdy enough for a quilt with large panels.
  4. Tools of the trade: A spool of thread that matches your darkest colour, cutting & measuring tools to ensure the pieces you make are cut to the right dimensions and lots of pins!  Oh, and a sewing machine would be very handy as well!  (You’ll see a carpenters measuring tape pictured here – which I’m sure is a seasoned sewer’s no-no – but it was helpful to get lines straight and I had a smaller fabric measuring tape that I used for more precise measurements).

Before getting started, pre-wash and dry and iron all the fabric you are using – this will ensure that when your final quilt goes into the wash someday, the fabric won’t shrink and ruin the whole thing! Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step 🙂

Step 2.  Map out your plan.

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Better to measure twice and cut once (a rule I almost never live by)!  Since I was making this up as I went along, I made a bit of a game plan first just so I didn’t go widely off track.

Step 3: Make the front of your quilt

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–Cut your strips: I made mine 6 inches wide, allowing for a ½ inch seam allowance on either side.

*Tip: Iron your fabric at every step.  The best tip I can give is to keep ironing your fabric, ideally at every new step.  This will help your fabric lie flat and make it easier to keep the panels aligned and square.

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–Lay it out:  I like to place the panels on top of the backing fabric to make sure everything is going to plan and helps to order the pieces for sewing.

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–Sew the strips together: This is where the ½ inch seam allowance comes in handy.  Begin sewing the strips together lengthwise, ensuring all the rough edges are facing in the same direction (and will be on the underside of the quilt).

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(This is what I mean by the ‘rough edges’.  As you’re sewing the strips together, take extra care to sew them so all the rough edges are on the same side of the quilt…it’s easier than you think to get distracted and you’ll waste time ripping out seams!)

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–Iron down the middle: Place the rough side up on your ironing board, and sew down the middle of the seam binding the panels together.  This flattens the quilt out and will make it easier to size the batting and bottom layer.

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–Square things up: Now that the  seams have been ironed flat, all the slight irregularities begin to show.  This is where you’ll need to tidy up the edges and ensure the front pane of your quilt is square.  Take time to do this right – if it’s not, each imperfection gets more pronounced with future steps. It doesn’t have to be perfect – but try to get close!

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Voilla!  A quilt with square-ish corners 🙂

Step 4.  Assemble the quilt

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Make a quilt sandwich:  layer the rest of the pieces together (the batting and the bottom layer).  Leave extra on the sides – at least an inch or two – as you sew things are likely to shift a bit, and having a bit of extra on the sides will save major headaches.  I like to put a few pins along the perimeter to help hold things in place.

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Bind the quilt: Run your sewing machine down the middle of each seam.  Work your way down from one end of the quilt to another.  You could also start in the middle and work your way to the edges.

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–Add some pizazz: I like to use the zig-zag stich as it grabs both panels on either side and helps keep things secure.  It’s also pretty darn cute.

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–Iron and trim the edges: After you’ve bound the 3 layers together, iron (again!) to make sure everything is laying flat. Trim the excess material around the edge.

Step 4.  Make the trim for your quilt.

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–Measure the perimeter: My quilt ended up having a perimeter of 200 inches.  I cut the strips I was going to use for the trim (4 inches wide) and ensured there would be enough to exceed the 200 inches in case I needed a bit more.  I used the darkest shade of pink (the same color I matched the thread to).

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–Iron into 4 equal sections:  Fold each side of the trim pieces into the middle and iron flat, then fold the piece in half again and iron flat.  The result will be a slender trip that when opened, has 4 equally sized sections.

–Sew each piece together, creating one long continuous piece of trim:  This next step is a tricky one to illustrate in photos – if you need a visual on how to connect the trim pieces, there are lots of great YouTube videos (like this one and this one) that will walk you through this.

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a)  Position trim strips:  Lay two strips together with like-sides facing each other (in the case of patterned fabric, the pattern sides should face each other).  The pins indicate where you should sew a seam.

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b) Sew on the diagonal: Sew two ends together along the diagonal (as per last slide).  Repeat the step by adding a third strip to the end of the second, sew along the diagonal and repeat.  You can sew these one after another and snip the connecting thread.  Again, YouTube has lots of videos showing this technique.

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c) Trim any excess material and iron the seam flat.

Step 5.  Bind the trim around the quilt!

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Bind the trim: Sew the trim along the first ironed line to the back of the quilt.  Then roll the trim over, and over again to the front side, with the raw edge tucked in.  Sew around the front side (I used a zig-zag stitch again).

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Wrap the corners: When you get to a corner, align the edges and tuck together, as if you were wrapping a present.

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A final stitch: Run a zig-zag stitch on the front side of the quilt to bind it all together.

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… and voilla!  A super sweet (and easy!) baby quilt that you can be proud to give to anyone!  Make it extra personal by embroidering baby’s name and year of birth into the corner.

If you liked this post, consider sharing it with your friends!

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