Monday, September 24, 2012

Handmade Chenille Blanket

You know when you see a project that's so amazingly awesome you just have to try it out?  Like, right NOW.  This was one of those projects: a handmade chenille lap blanket.  Check out the original inspiration posts here and here.  

OK OK, so technically this is supposed to be an "heirloom chenille baby blanket," but seeing as I don't have a baby, it's now my designated lap blanket.  If you're my husband, the term "lap blanket" will still freak you out because small blankets aren't meant for laps...they're meant for babies.  He gives me a wrinkled nose/disgusted look every time I whip it out (which is quite frequent because, c'mon--look at how awesome it is!).   hmpf!  *boys...*

Be forewarned that this is a time-consuming project.  The sewing alone takes about 4 - 5 hours.  By the time I was half way through the sewing I had developed a rhythm and it seemed to be going faster though.  The cutting also takes about 4 - 5 hours--if you use scissors.  When I make another one of these, I will definitely find a coupon and splurge for the "chenille cutter" tool, which is supposed to make this part go much faster.  

The cost of materials was between $20 - 25.  I got the flannel on sale for 50% off, and the quilting fabric was 40% off. I needed 1.25 yards of three colored flannels, plus another 1.25 yard each of a basic cotton quilting fabric (the orange patterned stuff).  I also needed two spools of thread and 1/2 yard of gold material to make binding for the blanket edges.  

To start, you need to lay everything out.  First, your quilting material goes right-side down, and then you layer your flannel on top.  I did all of this on the floor of my craft room, and pinned each layer to the carpet using straight pins.  This kept everything in place while I was shifting each sequential layer around and getting it to line up correctly.  

Pin all of the layers together, and then use something long and straight to draw your diagonal line from corner-to-corner onto your top flannel layer.  I used a piece of molding and a pencil.  When you cut the flannel later on, you need cut on the bias (aka: not cutting with the grain of the fabric) to get it to fray properly.  This is the whole reason why you're sewing diagonally across the blanket instead of parallel to the sides of the blanket.  

As you can see, each piece of fabric is a slightly different size, but I didn't bother trimming anything before I started sewing.  Since everything is going to shift around a bit during the sewing anyway, I saved the trimming until the very end to prevent me from having to do it twice.  

I sewed my first line along my marked diagonal line, and then continued sewing lines parallel to it, about 0.5'' away to make the "quilting" pattern.  

Once I was done with the sewing, I cut three flannel layers between the stitched lines that I had just made.  I was really careful not to accidentally cut the cotton layer!  Like I mentioned above, it would be worthwhile to invest in a cutting tool for this.  My right hand tingled for hours after I got done.  

 Then I used a giant straight edge (my piece of molding again) and trimmed up the edges.

And then bound the edges of the blanket with the gold fabric: 

Then I tossed it in the washing machine...and crossed my fingers that it came out OK!  When you wash it, the strips of fabric that you cut fray up and make the chenille-like texture.  

Guess what?  It's adorable!  

The final size is about 41'' x 41''.  It's a good-sized lap blanket.  


  1. Sarah, not sure how I missed this original post but this blanket is adorable!!

    1. Thank you! I love using it...keeps me looking stylish when I'm huddled up trying to keep warm ;)

  2. I was given this pattern years ago from a friend and have made many as gifts. I usually use blanket binding on the edges after I wash it and have repurposed old receiving blankets to make them for babies. One question: my friend’s pattern included a note saying I could not sell the blankets. Any idea why?