Simple quilted blanket with ribbon loops: a tutorial

My friend is tearing her hair out. Figuratively speaking, of course.  Because her little one, my gorgeous god-daughter, is literally tearing her hair out. It started a while back when she would twirl and twist her hair between her fingers, as many little ones do, when she was tired. But it has progressed so that now she actually pulls the hair out.

Understandably, my friend is somewhat concerned.  Not only because she would like to get to the root of why it is happening but also because her little one is starting to look (in her words, not mine) something like Friar Tuck. Which of course is fine if you’re actually a Franciscan friar but not such a great look on an otherwise utterly beautiful nearly 2 year old.

After some discussion, we decided a substitute cuddle blankie might do the trick and I gladly offered to try to make one. I wanted to add something that was long and soft like hair to it but not actual hair itself (eeeeew – perish the thought).  So I decided to add long ribbon loops – a slightly more grown-up version of ribbon taggies, if you will.  I chose two velvet ribbons and a silky-soft satin one for variation.

I need to say here and now that I’ve never done any quilting and I’m not sure if what I’ve done here even qualifies as quilting or has some other name.  But it looks quilted to me so I’m going with that.  Feel free to hop on board with me.

It is a very simple design. Here’s a tutorial in case you would like to make one too.

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of material each 60cm x 40cm- one for the back and one (yes, Sherlock) for the back. I chose soft, snuggly flannels in pink and grey.
  • Quilt batting: 60cmx 40cm
  • 3 contrasting ribbons – about a metre of each ribbon
  • A contrasting fabric to embroider upon
  • Embroidery thread
  • Embroidery needle, pins, cotton thread, scissors

1. Using a fabric marker that will fade, free-hand or trace the name of the child onto the fabric you have chosen to embroider upon and then embroider the name.

2. Now cut a generous rectangle around your embroidery. Then simply iron the edges inwards to make a neat rectangle or square in a size that frames the name nicely.

3. Pin the material you’ve chosen for the front of the blanket to the quilt batting. Then, using your fabric pen, rule lines horizontally and vertically to create squares of around 10cm.

4. Sew along all your lines in a contrasting thread. I used a lovely pale green which looked pretty against the pink flannel.  NB Flannel is a little tricky to work with if you’re not used to it – which I wasn’t.  You have to be really careful not to stretch it or scrunch it as you sew.

In this photo you can see my ruled lines and the (wonky -shhh) stitching over the top.

5. Once you have “quilted” your blanket, you can sew on your name patch wherever you like.

6. Now cut your ribbon loops to the length you would like  – just remember not to do them so long that they could get wound around any little necks.

7. Pin your loops to the front of your blanket. NB: Don’t pin them too close to the bottom of your fabric as when you come to sew everything together we’re leaving quite a generous seam allowance and you don’t want to be sewing over any of your ribbon pins.

8. Now pin the fabric you’ve chosen to be the back of your blanket to your quilted piece – right sides together. This photo shows the order of the delicious fabric sandwich.

9. Sew all three pieces together with a generous seam allowance (I think I left about 1 inch which is 2.54 cm) leaving a 10cm or so gap on one edge to turn the quilt the right way.

10. Trim the excess fabric on the wrong side of the seam – especially at the corners – to make the quilt easier to turn then turn the quilt the right way out and use a fat chopstick or something similar to carefully poke out the edges.

11. Carefully tuck the fabric at the gap inside so it lines up with the sewn edges and pin.  Then you can top stitch all around your blanket, as close to the edge as you can.  As well as making the blanket look more finished, in the process of  top stitching you will sew the gap closed as well as reinforce the hold on the ribbons.

12. Post it off and hope like mad your beloved god-daughter starts playing with her ribbons rather than what’s left of her hair.

2 thoughts on “Simple quilted blanket with ribbon loops: a tutorial

  1. I hope the very pretty blanket does the trick. It certainly looks like a quilt; how nice of you to make it for her. The ribbons are an ingenious idea.
    I’ve noticed, over the years while raising mine, that toddlers seem to be prone to starting all sorts of habits, and the reasons always elude the parents. I think it is from all of the tremendous changes they go through in such a short amount of time. When you think about it, they really handle it quite well.

    • Thanks Dale. I very much appreciate the thoughtful comments you always leave. I agree – toddlers are extraordinarily adaptable really.

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