Sewing Your Own Flannel Receiving Blankets

Before my daughter was born, I was aimlessly walking around in a fabric store when an elderly clerk struck up a conversation. I mentioned that I wanted to make some things to use when my baby arrived. She suggested making receiving blankets because the commercial ones are never big enough.

Flannel receiving blanket - flowersI made a few of these blankets that very afternoon. Each one cost less than $3 because I got the flannel on sale.

Here’s how to make your own flannel receiving blankets:

Materials

  • Two yards of baby flannel. I like to use two different but coordinating prints, but you can use whatever you like.
  • Coordinating thread

Preparation

  1. The first step is to ask the girl at the fabric counter to cut two one-yard pieces of the flannel. If you’re using two different fabrics, it’s obvious. But if you’re using two pieces of the same flannel, the clerk might not be willing to cut it in two pieces. Ask anyway.
  2. Wash and dry the fabric. Iron if necessary to remove any big wrinkles.
  3. Place a one-yard piece of flannel, right side up, on a smooth, flat surface. Lay the second piece of flannel, right side down, on top of the first.
  4. Pin the layers together every inch or so, the whole way around. In the sake of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I always skip this step. I shouldn’t, but I always do.

Sewing

    1. Begin sewing in the middle of one side. Do not start at a corner! It seems like a corner would be a good place to start, but you’re going to have to turn the whole blanket right side out later and an unsewn corner will fall apart and give you a big headache. Using a straight stitch and a 1/4-inch seam allowance, sew to the first corner. Without cutting the thread, turn and sew the second side, then the third. Stop, turn, and sew some of the fourth side. Leave a hole in the fourth side large enough to put your fist through.sewing blanket
    2. Turn the blanket right sides out. Use your finger or the blunt end of a pen to poke the corners out into points. Look at my two example photos. The corners won’t be perfect and pointy, but that’s okay. Smooth the edges out with your fingers or press them so that they’re really flat.
    3. Locate the hole where you turned the blanket. Pin this together so that the edges stay tucked inside while you’re finishing the blanket.
    4. Next, sew around the edge of the blanket a second time. Do not start on side one this time, as that will weaken the seam on that side. As long as you start on side two, three, or four, it won’t matter whether you start in the middle of the side or on the corner.

topstitching blanket

  1. Start sewing, using a very small seam allowance, 1/8” if you can. Like before, don’t cut the thread until you’ve gone the whole way around. You will want to back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Look at the blankets in my photos to see examples of this seam.

That’s it. Your blanket is finished. Wasn’t that blissfully easy?

VariationsFlannel receiving blanket - cats

  • If you follow my directions exactly, your blanket will be 36 inches by 45 inches, a nice big rectangle.
  • If you would rather have a square blanket, cut the end off to make a 36 inch by 36 inch square.
  • If you want your blanket to have rounded corners (instead of square, semi-pointy ones), you could trace a dinner plate or CD at each corner and cut along the curved line.
  • If you want the blanket to have a fancy, satin, or lace edge, you could buy a pack of blanket edging at the fabric store. Lie it in between the  two layers of blanket in step 3 of the preparation. If you do that, you’ll definitely have to use pins in step 4 of the prep.
  • Rather than using a matching thread, you can use a contrasting thread to give the edges an extra detail. I did that in my sample blanket above. You could use a zigzag stitch to finish the blanket or, if your sewing machine has fancy stitches programmed in, you could use one of those for a fun edging. Place it 1/4” to 5/8” from the edge of the blanket.
  • If you want a heavier weight blanket, use a layer of flannel with a layer of fleece, or sew a layer of fleece in between the two layers of flannel.

Next week, I’m going to show you how to follow this same procedure to make your own diaper changing pad. It’s just as easy, you’ll see.

See more Baby Craft Ideas on Blissfully Domestic for the perfect DIY baby shower gift or infant project.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. 18

    Love this idea! With my first I bought commercial made stuff, and thought he was going to be our only one. Now, 5 years later, we’re excitedly expecting and I either have to buy or make stuff. I think my 1959 avocado green Singer can handle this project just fine :-)

  2. 19

    great directions for someone who doesn’t have much experience sewing!

  3. 20
    cindy coven says:

    Love these directions. Very easy to follow. I’m glad I found your website.

  4. 21
    Patricia says:

    I think your blankets turn out nicely. I use the u tube way of making a recieving blanket. Makes it easy and gives it a nice finished edge. This is where the combo you choose for the backing comes into play. You cut a 40 inch piece and then a thirty inch piece. Sewing them together by finding the center of each pieces and matching it up to the center of the first piece. stitch from center to end leaving a 1/4 inch seam. Then stitch from center out the other direction and leave a 1/4 inch seam. Sounds crazy, but it will work. . You will have a left over tab at the end. It gets mitered and then sewn and trimmed off. If you do the meiter wrong…ooops..trouble. Then turn right side out and you have a blanket with a finished co-ordinating edge. So cute. When you are sewing you will of course, leave an opening for turning..I forgot to add that. Then the opening gets sewn shut when you make a decorative stitch around the blanket, where the seam is. Okay..I may not be able to explain fully, so go to u-tube..Missouri quilt company and she will show you. She is better than me for sure….I love the look of these blankets. I have made them bigger by using the rule of making the bottom piece bigger by 10 inches than the top. Works the same. Comes out just as cute. So 50 inches x 40 inches, what ever you want..Thanks for posting. Pat

  5. 22

    I love this quick and easy way to make baby blankets. Just a quick tip. Next time you
    go to a Chinese place to eat, ask if you can take home a set of chopsticks. These
    are wonderful for pointing into the corners. Free sticks come in some stuffing
    packages as well.

  6. 23
    Lorraine says:

    My mother made these type of flannel blankets 63 years ago, for me before I was born, she continued to make them for nearly every baby to come into family over 50 years. I have continued the tradition making these flannel on side and cotton sheeting on the other for so many babies over the years I have lost count. They are always the mom’s favorite, because of their size. They last for years. I have even made very special rayon velvet ones for special babies. Thanks for sharing your instructions they are perfect.

  7. 24

    Making these… New at sewing. Just opened washer and the rough edges are all tattered. Is this normal. I bought flannel at JoAnns and it was 6.99 on sale for 2.99. Should I have bought better quality?
    Thank you for quick response :)

    • 25
      Melissa Hillier says:

      Your rough edges will be tattered, yes. Have you already sewn the blanket? Or, you’re pre-washing your fabric? The pre-wash is to eliminate any shrinking after you’ve sewn your flannel together. Once you finish your blanket the tattered edges will be hidden.

      Have any other questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!

      -Melissa

  8. 26

    I make them with 1 and one half yard of flannel and just hem the edges on my machine . this gives a 42 inch by 42 inch blanket which is just right for swaddling even the largest new born. As it is only one thickness it isn’t too warm either.

  9. 27

    Tara, I love this, thank you!! Where can I find your post on making the diaper changing pad??

  10. 28

    where in the world did you find flannel that would be less than $3.00 for 2 yards?

    • 29
      Phoebe Blakeley says:

      A lot of times JoAnn Fabrics has their baby flannel on sale for half off which is under 3.00 yard. I also have found it under 3.00 at Hobby Lobby if I use a coupon. You can go to their website and print one off..

  11. 30

    Hi! I love your blanket idea. I’m newish to sewing and am wondering…do the blankets come apart in the center? Do you do any other sewing besides around the edges, or does the center stay together through washings, without being sewn?

    Thanks much!

    I’m wanting to make these to donate to an organization that helps impoverished new Moms.

  12. 31

    I think I might have to try making these! I have several preggo friends right now! thanks for the great tutorial, Tara!

  13. 32
    Pennie Mills says:

    Tara, You did a great job, easy to follow instructions and pretty pics! I love to sew :)

  14. 33

    This looks so easy! Now I wish I had some more pregnant friends so I would have an excuse to make a few.

  15. 34

    Thanks for your post. I’ve been wanting to sew some blankets for my DD, but I haven’t gotten around to it. You’ve given easy suggestions. Thanks.

  16. 35
    Blanche says:

    Sorry I just figured it out. Thanks for your great directions.