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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ribbon Lovey

For some unknown reason, babies are obsessed with soft fabric and ribbon. Who knew, right? Good thing making one of those ribbon lovey blankets is super easy! No one likes paying big bucks for something that can be homemade and customized. If you can sew a straight line, you can make one. Start collecting ribbon now - making these gets addicting.

For this project, you'll need two kinds of coordinating fabric, various types/colors of ribbon, scissors, straight pins, a sewing machine, iron, and velcro (optional). You can choose ribbon that coordinates or go with a more eclectic look.

On a side note, ignore my hideous ironing board cover. Kthanx.

To start, you'll need to cut your fabric to the size you want your blanket to be. For a 10" square blanket, I cut the fabric to 10 1/2" x 10 1/2" (leaving a 1/4" seam allowance). Because I'm admittedly lazy, I use my rotary cutter and quilt squares to cut everything these days, but you can use a yard stick and scissors or even trace a book, box, etc. to get the shape you want.

Next, cut pieces of ribbon to between 3" and 4". You want them to be long enough to anchor well into the seam, yet still stick out far enough for baby to play with/nom on them. In addition to the colors of ribbon, its important to keep their texture interesting by varying the kind of ribbon - width, material, shape. Cut as many as you want of each color.

With the right sides of the fabric facing, insert folded pieces of ribbon so the edges stick out and the loop is sandwiched in between. Here's where you can get creative using whatever combination of ribbons in whatever pattern you'd like around the edges of the blanket. Leave approximately 1/4" of the ribbon ends sticking out of the fabric sandwich. This will assure there is enough to anchor it in the seam when you top stitch it later. When you get to the last side, leave 3" - 4" ribbon-free so you can turn the blanket later on after sewing.

On to sewing! Sew a 1/4" seam around the edges of the fabric, taking out straight pins as you go. Yes, you can sew over straight pins, but if your needle hits one, you don't want to know what happens. I'll give you a costs about $80 to fix. Anyway, sew around 3 3/4-ish of the sides, leaving a few inches at the end open for turning. Be sure to reinforce the stitches on either side of this opening so you don't rip the seam while turning!

Next, snip the corners with sharp scissors, making sure not to cut through any stitches. This will allow for nice sharp corners when you turn the blanket. Without snipping, the corners become bulky and rounded. Just a little detail. Turn the blanket, taking care not to put too much strain on the seam near the opening. Using something pointy (I use a knitting needle), poke out the corners that you worked so hard on! Once the blanket is turned, iron it, gently tugging on the ribbon loops to pull the seam flat.

Now you've got a blanket with a hole in it. Woo! Your options for closing up this hole are to do a blind stitch or to be lazy, like me, and just sew it up while doing the top stitch. To do this, fold in the fabric flaps in and lay it flat to match the rest of the edge. Iron flat.

Back to the sewing machine! Sew a top stitch close to the edge of the blanket - close enough to sew up the opening and anchor all of the ribbon loops. Since it needs to be there anyway, I usually use a contrasting thread or decorative stitch so it pops. Aaaand you're done!

Optional Pacifier Strap

If you want to include a pacifier strap, you'll need a 6 1/2" long piece of 1" wide ribbon and 1" wide velcro. While you are inserting ribbon loops into the fabric sandwich, insert the longer piece of ribbon somewhere along the way. As with the rest of the ribbons, leave approximately 1/4" sticking out of the seam with the rest of the ribbon to the inside. After sewing, turning, and top stitching, you can work on the strap.

Fire time! Using a lighter, CAREFULLY finish of the edge of the ribbon by holding the flame close to the edge. Please note, this only works for synthetic ribbon. Natural fibers won't melt and finish off, they'll just burn. Then, cut pieces of velcro into little squares. Put one at the end of the ribbon and sew around the edges. Tie off the excess thread and cut it close to the knot. Do the same with the opposing piece of velcro about one inch down the ribbon. Sew the same way.

Now baby has a ribbon lovey AND a pacifier. Does life get any better?

If you have any questions about this tutorial or would like me to make one of these for you, please let me know!

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