Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Owl Taggie Blanket

So, I'm about a month from my due date with our third child and have been postponing making something for this little one because I just couldn't decide what I really wanted to make. I knit a blanket and booties for my first born:

I did a modge podge collage type picture for my second born:

So this time I wanted to do something different again, though I was also considering knitting something again. But, knitting takes time and time has been running out and, honestly, with a 4 year old and a 2 year old running around and only a month to my due date, I wasn't going to have enough time to knit something! :) I also considered sewing something ... but what? I bought myself some fat quarters in November and coordinating ribbons thinking a taggie blanket would be fun to try but I kept on putting it off. Also, I wanted it to crinkle and the best (and cheapest) suggestion that I could find for crinkle material was oven roasting bags and I had a horrible time trying to find those! :) Finally I did, but, still, everything just sat around. Finally, this past weekend, I decided I just had to sit down and get it done! I wanted to do an owl theme and I couldn't find a template I liked (or that was free) online so I decided to make one myself. I drew one out that I thought looked quite like an owl but I was told it looked like a cat! Yikes! I hate cats! :) So I hummed and hawed and finally adapted my template. I was just going to do the blanket in the shape of the owl with no features but, since people thought it looked like a cat, I decided I need to add some features. So I drew out patterns for wings, beak and eyes. This made the project much more challenge (as it required a lot more planning and sewing) but also much more rewarding! I drew everything free hand and purposefully didn't make it symmetrical. I know, it will annoy many (and I'm surprised it didn't annoy me - being a Type A, perfectionist, slightly OCD gal). :) 

This little "tutorial" (for lack of a better word) would work for any pattern you decide on, I'm sure.

So, first I drew the pattern on the fabric but did NOT cut it out. (I also drew about 1/4" out for a seam allowance.) Then I cut rick rack to size, pinned it in place and sewed it as a distinctive "feather" pattern on the belly. On the coordinating fabrics, I drew the other parts of the pattern - the wings, beak/head part leading to beak (you know what I mean) and eyes, cut those out, ironed a hem on the sides of the pieces where it wouldn't be overlapping the seam allowance on the main owl pattern and pinned them into place. On the eyes, I hand-sewed buttons for eyeballs before pinning them to the main owl pattern.  I then sewed around the hemmed sides of all the owl parts. next I cut my ribbons to size, folded them over and pinned them into place. You want the end of the ribbons (the cut ends) to be between the outside and inside lines, as close to the outside line as possible. At this point, I sewed along the inner pattern line I drew. This, of course, allowed me to sew the ribbons into place but also gave me a nice outline of the entire owl shape. You will see why this is important in the next photo. :) This is the front of the blanket and is all in flannel.

OK, once all that work was done (and trust me when I say that was the hardest and most tedious part of this project), I was able to layer the other fabrics. so, with right sides facing, add your coordinating fabric for the back. Place the back fabric on top of the front and your oven roasting bag (for the crinkle) on top of that. FYI, oven roasting bags (at least the ones I found) are almost the exact same size as a fat quarter! Yay! :) (For the back, I just used a basic cotton fabric.) Then flip them over so You can pin along the outline of your pattern. I went a bit crazy with the pins, I know, but better safe than sorry right?! :) Once all the fabrics are pinned together, sew JUST inside the previous outline you sewed. This will reinforce the ribbons nicely as well. Leave a 3-4 inch opening in a convenient location so that you can flip it all right side out. :) Now, at this point is when you will cut out the pattern. Cut about a quarter inch away from where you sewed. You will also want to cut notches of some sort in the "nooks and crannies" and rounded parts to make it lay nicer/more flat when you turn it right side out. Give yourself a bit of extra fabric at the portion you left open.

Now, the reason I believe you do all this sewing before you cut out the pattern from the fabric (and roasting bag), is to ensure the roasting bag doesn't tear as you cut and sew. :) Also, all your pieces are more uniform this way and you KNOW the front, middle and back are going to match perfectly (for those of us who can't always cut the right size each time. :) )

Once you're done the above sewing and cutting, you can flip your blanket right side out. I used a pencil to push out the points of the ears and anything else that needed help turning right side out. Pencils are our friends! :) Finally, fold in the fabric at your opening to make a nice hem (this is why extra fabric comes in handy, instead of just a 1/4 inch. It's easier to fold it in neatly). Then topstitch that closed and around the entire pattern. This, once again, reinforces the ribbons (those suckers are definitely not going to be falling out!) and makes the entire blanket look more uniform. :) 

My 4 year old loved all the ribbons and said that they looked like feet and feathers (yay, goal accomplished!) but she didn't like the eyes. Her reason? "Owls don't have button eyes!!" lol But apparently they have fabric and ribbon everything else! :)

The front of my creation - Owl Taggie Blanket. :)

This is, obviously, the back of the blanket. :)
I'm pretty pleased with this project! And, I must say, I LOVE the oven roasting bag as crinkle fabric. It's a much nicer sound than other crinkle blankets I've seen and it isn't so hard either so the blanket is much more pliable than others I've seen.  I highly recommend oven roasting bags as the crinkle "fabric" of choice for any crinkle blanket or toy for babies! :)

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