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When I was having babies of my own, the most treasured gifts I received were handmade items from my sweet friends or family members. My mom always made a special blanket or quilt for each child. After many months and years of use, a few of my kids still adore them, and turn to them as comfort items. Some I have tucked away for safe keeping to pass along to them when they have children of their own! This month, we have for you a receiving blanket pattern, and we hope that you'll take the opportunity to create something meaningful for a special mom or baby in your life. It is sure to be a treasured gift that your loved one will enjoy using! This blanket pattern is the first part of a two-part series of baby gift patterns offered from You Can Sew This. (Watch for a coordinating burpie pattern to follow next month!) Although the blanket pattern is simple and works up quickly, it is highly versatile! You can create three different styles according to the fabrics and trim that you use. I'll show you how to construct blankets with three different edgings: jumbo rickrick, piping, and ribbon. Happy Sewing!

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NOTE: Approximate finished size of the receiving blanket is 37.5" x 37.5". This pattern involves machine sewing only. Please contact me at shelli@youcanmakethis.com if I can be of any help in completing this project! -Shelli

Materials Needed: *cutting mat, straight edge ruler, rotary cutter *1 1/2 yards each of 2 choices of fabric: flannel, chenille, minky, or 100% cotton are all great choices (a remaining part will be used for the burpies featured next month!) *5 yards coordinating edging if desired, such as jumbo rick-rack or piping OR 6 yards of 1 1/2" wide satin ribbon *A small cup, bowl, or plate to use for rounding the corners of the blanket *coordinating thread *sewing machine with a zipper foot attachment *ironing board and iron *mesh laundry bag (optional) Preparing and Cutting the Fabric: 1. Before cutting and sewing, prewash and dry the fabric to prevent shrinkage. I also recommend prewashing the edging. You can do this by placing it all in a zippered mesh bag and washing it along with the fabric. Press fabric before cutting. 2. After pressing, line up the selvages of one of the fabric choices, and lay out on a cutting table or the floor. Smooth any wrinkles, keeping selvage edges aligned. 3. Trim the rough edges off of one end, cutting perpendicular to the fold.
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4. From that cut end, measure 38" along the fold and cut across the fabric from the fold to the selvage edges. (Retain that remaining fabric to use for next month's coordinating burpie project.) 5. From the fold, measure 19" toward the selvage edge, mark the length, and cut. You should now have a square section of fabric that measures 38" x 38". To ensure that your measurements are square and even, fold the fabric in half diagonally, and trim any necessary fabric, checking that you retain square measurements along all edges. 6. Repeat these steps for the 2nd selection of fabric, or simply use the other panel as a template for cutting an identical section. After cutting, layer both fabrics together to make sure they are evenly cut and square. Trim if necessary. 7. To round the corners, keep the fabrics layered, and place the small cup, bowl, or plate near the corners of the fabric. Line up the rounded edges of the object at the edges of the fabric, leaving the corner exposed. Trace at the edge of the object and cut through both layers of fabric. Repeat at each set of corners.

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Sewing the Edging and Adding the Back Panels: 8. From this point, the instructions for sewing each blanket differ slightly, depending on the edging you choose to use. Beginning with the fabric panel you choose for the front or top, follow the instructions below to complete the edging and add the back panel of the blanket of your choice: *Edging with Jumbo Rick-Rack: Begin along one of the straight edges of the front panel, right side facing up. Align the rick-rack peaks at the edge of the fabric, and with an 1/8" seam allowance, baste around the entire section of fabric. You may pin around the edges if desired. At any point that you need to add additional rick-rack, or as you come to the end of the basting, simply overlap the end of one section of rick-rack with the beginning of the other and continue sewing. Now, take the blanket front panel and pin carefully to the backing fabric, right sides together. With the wrong side of the blanket front facing up, start sewing along one of the straight edges of the blanket, using 1/4" seam allowances, and leaving a 6"-7" opening for turning. After sewing, carefully clip the rounded corners close to the seam and turn. See the directions below for top-stitching and completing the blanket.

*Edging with Piping: When using piping as edging, I prefer to first pin the piping around the edges of the entire blanket front panel, lining up the edge of the piping along the edge of the fabric. Keep pinning until you either get back around to the point at which you began, or until you need to add another length of piping.

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When adding another length of piping, you will merge the two lengths to appear as if they are one continuous length of piping. To do this, leave an overlap of about 1 to 1 1/2" between the two sections, and do not pin them near the overlap.

Take the first length you pinned, and with a seam ripper, open up, or "fillet" the seam of the piping fabric that holds the cording in place about 1".

Cut away about 1/2"-3/4" of the cording only. Fold under the piping fabric about 1/8"-1/4" to hide the raw edge, and press.

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Now take the second section of piping, and measure it to fit inside the original piping fabric near the cording you just cut away. Trim that second length so it can be tucked in, and so it fits snuggly.

Pin the two pieces of piping securely near the cording, making sure the end of the piping fabric is still tucked under to prevent the raw edge from showing.

Continue pinning around the remainder of the blanket perimeter, and as you return to the starting point, repeat the above process to merge the piping ends.

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Sew the piping to the blanket fabric using the zipper foot of the sewing machine. Sew as closely to the cording as possible, while still keeping the edge of the piping fabric and blanket fabric aligned.

Now, take the blanket front panel and pin carefully to the backing fabric, right sides together. With the wrong side of the blanket front facing up, begin sewing at one of the straight edges of the blanket, sewing right on top of the seam that you sewed earlier when adhering the piping. By doing this, you will hide that previous seam from showing when the blanket is turned. After sewing, carefully clip the rounded corners close to the seam and turn. See the directions below for top-stitching and completing the blanket.

*Edging with Ribbon: I love the look and feel of ribbon as an edging! It does take a little longer, but the results are worth it. I had you use 6 yards of ribbon to ensure you had plenty to work with. First, fold under 1/4" of the ribbon end and press well. Now, take the ribbon and fold it in half lengthwise, satin side out, and press to create a clean, even fold the entire length. Beginning at a straight edge of the blanket, align the selvage edges of the folded ribbon with the edges of the blanket front panel fabric. Smooth the fabric and the ribbon as you go, pinning every 4" to 5".

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As you approach the corners you will need to make some pleats to allow the ribbon to curve around the corner without curling or pulling. This step is not an exact science, so do not stress! Measure at the corner from the straight edge up the perpendicular side about 3" or 4", depending on the curvature of the corner. Mark, and repeat in the opposite direction, so you have markings along both straight edges that meet at the corner.

At the first mark, make a small pleat (about 1/4") with the ribbon and pin. Continue making these small pleats every inch or so around the curve until you reach the next marking. Be sure to pin each pleat, and notice whether the pleats are relatively the same size, and if they are equal distance apart. If not, unpin and try again until you are satisfied with the overall appearance. Continue pinning along each straight side of the blanket fabric, and repeat the above steps at each corner.

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If you need to attach an additional length of ribbon, sew them together by opening them both up (not folded), and pinning one length of ribbon perpendicular to the other, right sides together. Lightly mark if needed, and sew a seam at a 45 degree angle.

Trim the excess and press the seam open. Fold the newly sewn ribbon lengthwise once again and press again if needed. Continue pinning until you return to the starting point.

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To merge the ribbon ends when you have pinned around the entire perimeter of the blanket front, cut the ribbon so that the starting and ending points overlap about 1" to 1 1/2".

Press under the raw edge about 1/4" and refold the ribbon lengthwise. Tuck that end of the ribbon into the fold of the other end of the ribbon.

Pin both carefully to the blanket fabric.

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Baste the ribbon to the fabric by sewing 1/8" from the edge around the entire perimeter of the blanket front panel. Now, take the blanket front panel and pin carefully to the backing fabric, right sides together. With the blanket front on top, along one of the straight edges of the blanket, begin sewing using 1/4" seam allowances. Leave a 6"-7" opening for turning. After sewing, carefully clip the rounded corners close to the seam and turn. See the directions below for top-stitching and completing the blanket.

Top-stitching and Completing the Blanket: 9. Once you have turned the blanket right sides out, press carefully with an iron on both sides near the edging. Slip-stitch the opening closed by hand. 10. Pin the blanket once again around the perimeter. With coordinating thread in the top and bobbin, top-stitch 1/8" from the edge of the fabric around the entire perimeter of the blanket.

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