If you’re a mom (or dad), you surely have heard of these amazing muslin swaddle blankets that people use for their little ones now… they are larger than the typical flannel receiving blankets you can purchase and lighter weight so that summer swaddling is possible. My son loved his as an infant, and STILL to this day (2 and a half years later) drags those blankets around the house like linus… Who can blame him- they’re soft and comfortable and who wouldn’t want to be wrapped up in them!
One thing I did have a hard time with though, was finding unique patterns beyond the elephants, giraffes and flowers… they just weren’t out there! So, to solve that problem for an upcoming baby shower gift, I decided to take matters into my own hands and MAKE my own swaddle blanket.
The supplies you’ll need for the blanket are as follows:
* 1.5 Yards of Cotton Gauze (I purchased mine from Hobby Lobby- they just got it in stock and it is THE SOFTEST i’ve seen yet)
* Acrylic Paints (The small tubes from any craft store are fine- they usually run between $1.50-$2.50)
* Fabric Medium to mix with paints ( I used the martha stewart brand, because lets face it, Martha knows all about everything crafty)
* 2 wooden shapes to use for your stamp ( I couldn’t find a stamp of a football, so I decided to make my own for under $1.00!)
* Stencil Brushes (or any small paint brush will work just fine!)
* Baby Wipes/ Wet Cloth (to wash hands between each stamping…)
* Table cover of some kind (I just used left over newspaper) to prevent bleed through.
I mentally/ visually divided the fabric up into 4 quadrants. I then only laid one section on my table at a time and began the stamping process… My paint was properly mixed to the 2:1 paint to fabric medium ratio and I was ready to go. I began by painting the BACK of one of the wooden shapes- this would be the main shape of the football- in the brown paint. Don’t apply too much paint or you’ll have way to much bleed through onto the other side of the blanket. Then just set the shape paint side down on the blanket and apply gentle pressure for a few seconds… wipe your finger tips if you’ve got any brown paint on them, then pick up the stencil and repeat at different angles all over the fabric section. Its ok to have it look a little light- you want the look to be somewhat “vintage” or rustic…
Here is what the football base should look like when you pick up the stencil…
And how it will look with all the different angles you apply the base shape…
When my 1 section was pretty much filled how I wanted with my football base shapes, I simply rotated the fabric (checking to see if I needed to replace a piece of newspaper below) and began the process again. I always had some of the previous design showing so I knew where to place the footballs so that they would be pretty evenly spaced out…
You don’t want to do a section to only discover that you’ve placed the designs too close together wherever they meet…Once I had all of my foot ball bases complete I laid the fabric on the floor to check the “visual appeal”- basically to make sure that I hadn’t missed a spot etc…
I also put one of my sons’ commercially produced Aden + Anais swaddle blankets on the fabric to show the size… this fabric will shrink a little when its washed and dried, so its ok for it to be a little big. Don’t mind the nosy cat- they’re always supervising me when I craft and bossing me around…
Now, repeat the process for the detail portion of the football- simply take the white paint mixture and paint it onto the white raised sections of the foot ball (the clean one that has not been used yet).
Line up the stamp over one of the footballs, and press it down… apply gentle pressure to get most of the paint off.
This is what the end result should look like:
I rotated my stamp on all the different shapes so that the footballs weren’t “facing ” all the same direction… you can see this better displayed in this picture:
Now that you’re all done stamping, let the fabric paint dry before the next step. Also, with the fabric medium I used, it is important to heat set your fabric so the paint is “finished”- I accomplished this by putting it in the dryer on high heat for about 30 minutes… you can also iron it (with a press cloth) to set the artwork as well.
I overlock serged the four sides of the blanket (just in case- after all, with all luck the recipient will be dragging it around with him for years to come) and then did a simple rolled hem. I used my “creative feet” satin edge foot for hemming in this instance- I find that it gives the nicest 1/4 inch rolled hem stitch…I picked them up at a recent quilt and sewing expo in Raleigh, NC and LOVE THEM…
Don’t forget to sew in your label- after all that work, you want them to remember who to order more from!
Now roll it up, tie it with some matching ribbon, attach a tag with wash instructions, and your beautiful swaddle blanket is a gift that will be treasured for years to come!!