TUTORIAL: Ruffle Blanket

by Dana on July 11, 2012

I thought I’d pull something out of the drawer today.
One of my all-time favorite blankets to make (and giveaway as gifts).

It’s perfect for snuggling in a crib or swaddling a baby.
And really, it’s just cute–you know I love stripes.

(and in case you’re doing a double-take on the babe above….it’s not Clara. I made this blanket when my niece Anna was born. And she still uses it today! It’s her favorite blankie, which makes me happy)

In fact, I first started making these 6 years ago for Lucy. I wanted a receiving blanket with a ruffled girly border but I didn’t want it to be heavy….just a single layer of fabric. So I broke out my serger, made a flannel border, ruffled it up, and sewed it to a square a fabric. Pretty easy!

Don’t worry if you don’t have a serger. I’ll show you an alternate method. But it really looks best if you have a serger. So if you’ve been scared to try yours out (aka…it’s still sitting in the box) now’s your chance to learn!

Okay, let’s get started….

You need:
appx 1 1/4 yards of blanket fabric (knit or flannel) – to make a 42 x 42 inch square
* appx 1/2 yard of border fabric (flannel is best but knits works too)

* You want the border to be about 1.5 to 2 times longer than the blanket perimeter, so you can ruffle it up. So….the amount of fabric needed really just depends on how wide and how ruffled you want the border to be.

Here’s what I’ve figured out:
42 x 4 = 168 (perimeter around the blanket)
168 x 1.5 = 252 (how much border you need)

If you cut 1/2 yard of flannel fabric into (6) 3-inch wide strips of fabric for your border, that gets you pretty darn close.
If you want the border to be super ruffly, then cut a couple more strips to give you more border length.

Okay.
Hope that wasn’t too confusing.

Basically you need a big rectangle of blanket fabric and a bunch of strips for the border:

First, finish off the edge of the blanket piece. If you have a serger, serge around all four edges using a standard overlock stitch (3 thread or 4 thread). Dab the ends with a tiny bit of Fray Check or pull the chain ends back through the stitches (I never do that. I’m lazy).

If you don’t have a serger…..you can leave the edges raw if you’re using a knit fabric. However, if you’re using flannel, you’ll need to fold/iron the edge under 1/4 inch, then fold/iron the edge under another 1/4 inch and sew a topstitch. If you don’t do this, the flannel will fray badly and you don’t want that with a baby.

Second, prepare the ruffled border.
(pics numbered below….)

1. Cut even strips with a rotary cutter.
2, 3, 4. With right sides of the fabric together, sew all the strips together into one very long strip of fabric. Be careful with each strip you sew that right sides are together (believe me, I’ve made this mistake…and it’s annoying). If you have a serger, do this with your serger so there are no raw edges. If you don’t have a serger, just leave the small seams raw or you can finish them off with a zigzag stitch.
5, 6. You should have one long strip of fabric now. Yay!
7, 8, 9. Use your serger to finish off both side edges of the long strip. Serge down one side, then serge down the other (this will take a while and will be noisy for your husband trying to watch sports center). If you don’t have a serger….well….then I recommend using knit fabric rather than flannel for your ruffle, so you can leave the edges raw. I’ve tried to think of a good way to do with by folding/ironing the border edges under with flannel but it sounds super tedious and I think it will make the border too bulky. So. Sorry. Go with knit, not flannel.

Now it’s time to ruffle the border.
You REALLY want to use the “cheating” method here to gather your fabric. There’s no reason to do proper gathering on 200 inches of fabric….or you’ll go insane, and never speak to me again.

If you don’t know what the cheating method is, check it out HERE.

Basically….turn your tension as high as it will go, turn you stitch length to the longest possible, and start sewing down the edge of the border strip, about 1/4 inch from the edge. If it’s not ruffling up enough, hold the thread on your machine slightly to create more tension.

And you have a ruffled border!
Lay it out around your blanket piece to make sure it’s long enough. If it needs to be longer, shift your ruffles around a bit to make it fit.

Now sew the border to the blanket.
(pics numbered below…)

1. Pin the border to the blanket so it hangs about 1/2 inch on top of the blanket.
2. Gather the fabric a bit around the corners so it has extra room to spread (and doesn’t pull)
3. Pin the border all the way back the entire blanket.
4, 5. Sew the border closed by placing right sides of the fabric together and sewing (do this while the border is still pinned to the blanket. This is the best way to make the it fit perfectly).
6. Pin the sewed end of the border to the blanket.
7. Sew the whole border in place. Sew about 1/4 from the ruffled border edge. No right or wrong answers here. Messy lines actually look kind of cool with the serged edges, so don’t worry about being too precise. Just make sure the whole border is sewn in place.
8. Always do a quality check on the back to make sure you sewed everything.
9. Add a label if you have one.

And….you’re done!
How snuggly fun does that look?

If you’re headed to a baby shower, tie fabric scraps around the blanket to make a bow and you’ve got the perfect gift. Seriously, I love these blankets.

I hope your little one does too.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica at Me Sew Crazy July 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

I love this blanket Dana! And your little babe is just the cutest!!! The colors together and just perfect. Thank you for sharing!

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2 Leigh Anne July 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

Super cute! And whose baby did you steal for the pics?? haha! Just doesn’t look like Clara…..no cute curl on top :) But cute little baby either way! And lovely blanket tutorial!

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3 Kim July 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

I have 2 girlfriends due on the same day….really hoping at least one of them has a girl! Thanks Dana!

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4 Meagan Briggs July 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

Wish I had a serger!!!

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5 Jackie July 11, 2012 at 10:08 am

Sergers are awesome. Look for one during the Black Friday deals. That’s how I got mine.

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6 Robin @ tansydolls.blogspot.com July 11, 2012 at 9:53 am

<3 Love the ruffles!

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7 Jackie July 11, 2012 at 10:06 am

I’ve tried your cheating method for gathering fabric and it didn’t work with my machine, not even a hint of gather, maybe I need to try the holding the thread to see if that helps(?), so I just pull the thread to make the gather. I did see on PBS a different and way easier way to gather from Nancy Zieman. If I find the video somewhere I’ll post the link in a separate post.
But basically you make sure you have enough thread pulled from the top and bobbin threads that are a little bit longer than the length of the fabric you want to gather. You do one straight stitch, then put the pulled thread on top of your fabric and twist them a little, switch to a zig zag stitch and finish stitching the length of the fabric making sure to keep the pulled threads in the middle of the zig zag stitches. You do not want them to be caught by the needle. When you are done you then pull your threads to gather the fabric as much or as little as you want. The zig zag stitch is like a casing for your pulled threads and you won’t have to worry about pulling them out accidentally. That is frustrating. I haven’t tried it yet and hope I put the instructions in the right order, but I can’t wait to do it. I’m not sure how this technique would work for super long lengths of fabric though. That’s a lot of thread to pull.

Super cute blanket though. I know two friends who might just benefit from this idea! Lucky them.

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8 Jackie July 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

Almost got it right.
Sewing with Nancy: Sewing A to Z Part 1
G is for Gathers starts around 16:55
http://video.wpt2.org/video/2069171817/

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9 Janelle July 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Jackie ~ Try making the ruffle again and hold the thread. That’s how I have to do it on my machine. I love this method of making ruffles! It is so much easier than the traditional method. Good luck!

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10 Palak July 11, 2012 at 10:10 am

This is just too cute. With the color’s you chose, I don’t think I would mind too much using it for my boy either. Or maybe use pleats instead for a boy?

I know you try to use your sewing machine as much as possible for your tutorials because not everyone has a serger. But, If you want to try this using the serger to do the ruffles as well– I have a tutorial on serger ruffles at http://www.strawbazies.com/2012/07/tutorial-super-simple-serger-ruffles.html. I’m sure it’s info that you already knew, but just in case!

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11 Spark*Amy July 11, 2012 at 10:26 am

So adorable! Would be perfect for a gift I need for a September baby! I must summon the courage to try out my serger.

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12 Laura July 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

Could you use jersey for the ruffles so you could avoid needing the serger? Or would they be too flimsy?

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13 Dana July 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

You definitely can! I’d do that if you don’t have a serger. You can use interlock knit for the ruffle as well as jersey knit

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14 delia July 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

What a great blanket. Love the colors.

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15 jenni July 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm

i have a baby shower coming up at the end of this month and all the flannel is on sale right now at joanne’s – although i did not see one as pretty as that stripe! making for baby sophia.

love this! thanks for the tutorial!

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16 Giggles in the Sun July 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm

it looks great. It’ll make great gift, especially if it is a little larger then the tiny blankets everyone else seems give.

I think that people without sergers could use their normal machine and use an overlocker foot with a very narrow zigzag stitch and finish the edge off this way.

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17 Annalia July 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Love it – so cozy and simple. I think I’d like to try it with a jersey knit…something non-raveling…and leave the edges raw…I think that could be very nice and soft. Great idea, thanks!

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18 Annalia July 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm

….and that yellow crib is the best!

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19 Holly July 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm

This is amazing… love love love it!!! Looks simple enough for a gal like me – although since I don’t have a serger looks like I’ll be sticking to knit :)

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20 Emily July 12, 2012 at 1:11 am

How fun! I really want a serger more than ever now. :)

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21 Mikea July 12, 2012 at 1:35 am

Soooo cute! I cant wait to make one. I made your guaze blanket and love it! My little girl is a month old now and it’s always the first blanket we grab! Perfect for nursing too, because “miss nosey” likes to see out. Thanks for great tutorials!!

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22 Julie July 12, 2012 at 9:25 am

It looks so cozy ;) I’m surprised no one has asked where you got the striped flannel?? thanks, Dana!

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23 Dana July 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

it’s a knit fabric from Michael Levine in the LA fabric district. Sorry I don’t have better info :(

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24 Courtnie July 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Is jersey knit the best kind to use for this?

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25 Beth July 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

Thanks, I’m pinning!

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26 Heather July 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Do you pre-wash all fabrics before sewing?

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27 Mary Emma July 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Love the red and white stripe with yellow ruffle?
Do you or would you see me one like this? How much?

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28 Barbara July 16, 2012 at 12:09 am

I want to make one of these for my bed! Such great colors.

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29 themissymom July 18, 2012 at 7:10 am

Fray Check is my best friend!
If I don’t use that I might straight stitch tack the ends but never pull my serger theads back though!

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30 Sofia July 19, 2012 at 5:55 am

Oh My god! Soo cute! I love this and I love your site, you got a new follower!! :)

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31 Sharon July 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm

If you are using a serger, use it to ruffle and sew onto the blanket all in one step. Really saves a lot of time and pinning…actually there’s NO pinning this way! I use this method to ruffle and clean finish the edges to aprons that I make.

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32 Heather July 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Does anyone know if the fabric needs to be pre-washed? I want to make this and want to be sure to wash before if needed. I know with cottons, I always wash before but haven’t worked with knit yet. Thanks.

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33 ali thompson July 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

this is awesome. i love the colors and especially the cheating method! thanks for sharing!! xoxo

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34 Natalie August 5, 2012 at 7:40 am

I love this tutorial, so simple but lovely!!! I’ve already made two blankets and have plans for more! I altered mine a little as the weather isn’t as warm in the uk so I did a double layer of jersey and the ruffle is doubled too which is great cause you can see the pattern on both sides, so even when folded down. I think I must be the only person in the world who does gathering by hand! I always find no matter which machine method I use that my thread snaps. So I hand sew and manually gather. It takes a bit longer but the results are just as good.

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35 Kristina August 24, 2012 at 7:40 am

I love your blog, pictures and all the things you do!

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36 Andrea Mette August 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I was wondering, where did you find the striped knit for this Ruffle Blanket?

Thanks :)

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37 Courtney November 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

How do you do a ruffle ????

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38 Sami February 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Love this my step daughters baby is due next week and this is so quick looking, I think I might use a fleece for the center panel, and a Jersey for the ruffles, if she has a girl as this is a surprise baby and we don’t know the sex. She’s hoping for a boy, I’m hoping for a girl so I can make pretty dresses lol

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39 Lauren Dougherty August 8, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I’ve made this blanket three times and I love it! My big question is… Do you pull out the gathering thread once the ruffle has been sewn down? I don’t really like seeing the straight thread, so I took it out on my last one… But it was super annoying and tedious to do. Just wondering what you do!

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40 Dana August 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm

nah. I don’t. If it’s bugging you I guess you could but I’ve never really noticed it before! haah.

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41 Lauren Dougherty August 8, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I’m sure if I was more patient and sewed more precisely, it wouldn’t be as obvious. My seams on the ruffles need some help :)

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42 Nicole J. September 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

…this post just changed my life!

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43 Joyous August 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm

i did a few like these wish there was someway i could show you you. here one i did via my facebook page hope you like it

https://www.facebook.com/inspiredcre8tionz/photos/a.340691109335233.69958.222148921189453/663700627034278/?type=1&theater

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44 Kristin November 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Could you give a website that has a wide selection of fabric to select for this blanket? I cannot find a site that has the soft, stretchy look of this fabric! Help!!

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