How to Make a Self-Binding Blanket

Hello! It’s Stephanie from Stephie B’s Designs here again today to walk you through how to make a self-binding blanket. There are a couple methods for making self-binding blankets floating around the web, but the one I’m discussing today has proven it’s successful on five different occasions, so it’s definitely the one I recommend the most. I call it the “sew and tuck” method.

My twin girls are arriving about a week before this tutorial will be posted, so what a great way to teach you a few things while making my new girls something special at the same time. I made two blankets at the same time while writing this blog, so if I can do that 35 weeks pregnant with twins, I think you’ll be just fine. 🙂

As I always say, let’s get started!

Materials:

  • 1 to 1 ½ yard main fabric for the center front (you can use flannel, fleece, minky, gauze, really anything you’d like) – I’ll discuss below how to figure out exactly how much fabric you need. For your fabric needs, come to Peekaboo Fabric Shop.
  • 1 to 1 ½ yard coordinating fabric for the back/borders (again, use what makes you happy)
  • Seam Gauge
  • Marking Pen/Tailor’s Chalk/Pencil
  • Square Ruler (if you have one, otherwise a ruler or cloth tape measure will work)
  • Scissors or a Rotary Cutter
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Optional: I recommend using a walking foot if you opt to use minky, knits, or other slippery fabric

Step 1: Cut out your fabric

For this project, you’ll be cutting out two pieces of fabric. There’s one large square that will serve as the back and binding (aka border), and a second smaller square that will be the center front portion.

If you read through my last tutorial, How to Make a T-Shirt Blanket, you may remember the blanket sizes chart I included. How much fabric you’ll need depends on how big or small you want your blanket. Here is that chart once again to help you gauge what size you may want your blanket.

With all my self-binding blankets, I didn’t follow the chart. Instead I always chose to go rouge and make square blankets using my own dimensions. For this one, I decided to use the entire width of some lovely flannel that I purchased, so my back/border piece will be 42”x42″. I opted for a 2” border, so my finished blanket will be 37”x37”.

Wow, wait, go back… how in the world did I go from 42″ to 37″?? Great question! Here’s how:

Calculate the border + seam allowance x 2 (since there is a top/bottom and side/side), then subtract that total from the width of your fabric.

2″ border + 1/2″ seam allowance x 2 = 5″ … then 42″ – 5″ = 37″

From that total, I subtracted 1″ from to determine the size of my second, main square… 36″x36″.

You can also use that formula to calculate how large to cut your pieces if you know what you want your finished blanket size to be. You’d add the border/seam allowance to the desired finish size to get the amount you’d need to cut for the large piece.

For example, if you want a 45″ square blanket with a 4″ border using a 1/2″ seam allowance, you would need a 54″x54″ square for the back/border and a 53″x53″ square for the main…

4″ border + 1/2″ seam allowance x 2 = 9″ … then 45″ + 9″ = 54″ 

Clear as mud?? Take it slow if you need any I promise you’ll get there.

Just remember, no matter how large you want your blanket, you’ll have to pay attention to the width of the fabric you choose to use and are restricted by that amount. Minky, fleece, and most knits are roughly 58” wide so you have a lot of room to play with, while flannel and other woven cottons are generally only 42” wide.

Step 2: Prepare your back/binding piece for sewing

Here is another formula to determine where to place the cutting marks to make your mitered corners (who knew you’d have to do so much math for this project??!)

This one is easier, though, I promise. For a 1/2″ seam allowance, regardless of your desired border width, add 1″ (the math is 1/2″ x 2). Similarly, for 1/4″ seam allowance, add 1/2″. That’s it!

For my blanket, with my 2″ borders, I need to mark 3″ inward from the corner – not along the raw edge – as shown below. If you don’t have a square ruler, you can use what you have on hand.

For example, if you only have a measure tape, fold the two raw edges together with right sides together, and mark the 3″ (or whatever your total is) along the fold line. Extend that line 45′ from the fold to the raw edges and mark.Unfold, and with the right side facing down, continue your marking line down the side that was previously folded under. Next, no matter how to got here, trim that piece from your blanket.Step 3: Pin and sew the corners

With the right side of the fabric facing down, fold your seam allowance (mine is 1/2″) and pin. You only need to fold a few inches along your raw edges at this time, just enough to sew the two sides together.With right sides together, fold the two pinned sides together and pin again. Sew the two sides together using your seam allowance and trim off the end.Unfold, lay flat, and press the seam allowance open. I also recommend pressing along the pinned portion of your border (if you can depending on your chosen fabric). Repeat for all four corners, then flip the blanket right side out and flatten the borders. As you can see below, my border is pretty much right at 2″, exactly where I wanted it to be.Step 4: Continue pinning around the border

Fold under and pin the seam allowance along all sides of the blanket.I personally didn’t check how much I had folded under before I pinned it – I’m sure my seam allowance went out the window here and there – instead I laid the blanket down as flat as I could, then measured for my 2″ border width and pinned every few inches. You can never use too many pins…

If possible depending on your chosen fabric, press around the entire border. It will make the next step (sewing) a lot easier. Step 5: Tuck and sew (the fun part!)

With your prepared back/border still laying out flat with the back side of the blanket facing down, lay the main fabric over the top facing up. As you can see from the image below, the main piece doesn’t have to be cut beautifully and it can include the selvage since it’ll be tucked away.Begin tucking the main fabric underneath the border, pinning in place as you go along. As always, you can never have too many pins. I ended up going back after the photo below below was taken and added a pin or two between my existing pins… just to make sure the layers would stay just where I wanted them as I sewed.   Topstitch all the way around the border to secure all layers of the blanket.  Hint: When your needle lands in the mitered corner (the seam at the corner), pivot to the next side.And that’s it!!! Stand back and fall in love with the lovely (and easy!) blanket you just made. 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and will make a self-binding blanket (or ten!) of your own. Please comment below if you have any questions, and I look forward to my next tutorial walking you through another fun How-To.

-Steph

If you need help or would like to share your project, come join the Peekaboo Pattern Shop Facebook Group.

10 Responses

  1. Have you ever added an extra layer of flannel between the two outer pieces? Do you have any problems with the two layers shifting with time/washing?

    1. Thank you for the questions! I’ve never tried an extra later, but I think that would definitely add some warmth and weight, perfect for cold months. I’ve washed my girls’ blankets about a million times since they were born, and I can’t say that I’ve had an issue with the layers shifting since they’re sewn together around the edges, locking the layers into place.

  2. Thank you so much for your tutorials
    The pictures were just what I need because I’m more of a visual learner

    You are a excellent teacher

    Thank you

    1. Thank you, Yvonne! I’m a visual learner as well, so I too need pictures in the tutorials I learn from. I’m so very glad you benefited from this one, and I appreciate the compliment. I’m lucky enough to post a tutorial here with Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop once a month, so please come back again. 🙂

    1. I’m glad you like them, Rob! Because we do not have the series converted into a printable version, I believe you would have to print each day’s tutorial out one by one using your browser’s ‘print’ option.

    1. Susan, I think this method would work for Minky as well (and it’d be super soft!). I recommend using a walking foot on your machine since the fabric is so slippery, though. You will also have a harder time ironing the fabric, but you can certainly make this blanket without ironing it.

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