Sensory Blanket Tutorial

I’ve learned a lot of tricks the hard way when it comes to making sensory blankets (commonly known as taggie blankets) as baby gifts, and I want to pass on those tips to you! This will be a very detailed tutorial. Most tutes I looked out apparently assumed I was an incredible seamstress… and I’m not.

Tip: unless you’re simply an amazing seamstress, be sure you never pair two stretchy fabrics (such as fleece and polysatin) together. They stretch too much when sewing. I usually pick a flannel or calico and pair it with a polysatin or fleece.

MUST: Pre-wash your fabrics in a dye and fragrance-free detergent (for the sake of the baby’s sensitive skin!). Many fabrics shrink when washed, and you really don’t want to go to all this trouble and then have the blanket become unusable with the first wash!

To make an approximately 18″ square blanket, you’ll need:
– 2/3 yard each of two different fabrics of your choice (this is actually enough to make two blankets because of how the fabric is folded, but you’ll want at least whatever size you want plus some margin on each edge)
– Ribbons of your choice, as many patterns as you want
– Coordinating thread
– Rotary blade and cutting mat
– Straight edge
– tape
– pins
– pen
– scissors

1. I begin by using my rotary cutter, mat, and a straight edge to cut my non-stretchy fabric into an 18″ square.

2. Laying right sides together, use your 18″ square and your straight edge to trace a line (use a pen that won’t drag against the fabric too much) onto your stretchy fabric. (I learned that using my rotary cutter on the stretchy fabric resulted in very uneven edges because of stretching!) Cut it out with scissors.

Tip: Make sure you always keep your two pieces oriented in the same direction so that when you lay them together to sew them, you’ve got all the edges lined up properly.

3. Lay your non-stretchy fabric, right side up, back onto your measuring mat. Cut your ribbon pieces into approximately 2″ strips (Tip: I actually created a template out of an empty milk carton so that I can wrap my ribbon around it twice, cut the edges, and have four equal strips of ribbon). Fold your ribbon in half and tape in place, with the ribbon edge against the fabric edge, the loop pointing inside. I tape them at 15 inches, 12 inches, 9 inches, 6 inches, and 3 inches. In case you can’t tell, I’m a bit OCD, because my ribbon loops have to be all the same length and equal distance apart, and I repeat my pattern all the way around the blanket.

4. Lay your stretchy fabric with right side against the non-stretchy fabric’s right side. Pin in place.

5. Stitch around edges, leaving a small gap in one corner. The easiest way is to sew through your last remaining ribbon loop, stopping right past its edge. This leaves a small hole, approximately 2.5 inches, for turning it right side out.

Tip: Lay your non-stretchy fabric against the machine’s feeder foot (with your stretchy fabric on top). Putting the stretchy fabric against the feeder causes it to stretch even more when you’re sewing.

Tip: Reinforce your starts, stops, and corners with a bit of reverse stitch.

6. Trim the excess fabric off the corners (allows the corner to square out better).

7. Turn the blanket right side out through your gap. Peel off the tape to release the ribbon loops.

Tip: use a long-handled spoon or something similar to push out the corners.

8. Iron the blanket to lay all seams flat.

Tip: fold your gap opening edges down and iron them to hold them in place without pins.

9. Close your gap. I’ll admit, I’ve gotten lazy and just use my machine to sew it with matching thread as close to the edge as possible. Obviously, hand-stitching would be best, but I’m not good at that anyway!

10. Top-stitch the blanket. This will keep the blanket from turning in on itself when it is washed.

You’re done! Keep in mind that you will become much faster at this as you make more of them. It used to take me at least two days of dedicated time to make a blanket, and to be honest, I think I made two blankets in approximately 4 hours the last time I made them.

These have become my stock baby gift. I usually purchase a couple of other items, but I always make sure that I personalize this to the upcoming baby’s nursery. I just ask the parents what the nursery theme or colors are, and then I shop accordingly. When Munchkin was born, I so appreciated getting those handmade gifts. They were by far my favorite because I knew the extra time, energy, and thought involved.

I also include this special card to explain the purpose of the blanket (not everyone knows!).

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Janice
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 16:22:54

    It was interesting to see how those precious little hands were kept busy feeling all of the different textures of the tags on the blanket.


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