Before I get into this post, I just want to say that I know it is the end of summer. I have been working for a couple months now on giving this site a make-over, doing some projects, documenting them and turning them into blog posts. This is the first one I did and I have been itching like crazy to put it up on the blog, but was waiting till my official "launch day" to do it.
This is it! The first post! I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I must be losing it because I've forgotten about the 200+ other posts on this blog. Not at all! Think of this as a re-launch of sorts. If you're curious about the direction we're heading and you missed that post, you can READ IT HERE.
This is also why all of the pictures in this post have the wrong website on them. I left them on because you can still get to TheBlogCraftastic.com through the blogspot address, and trying to edit the millions of pictures in this post seemed a little too time-consuming to me.
So before I go on and on, let's get this show on the road!!.....the first post!!!!.......
I like to make fleece, no sew blankets. I've been making them for years. Before I had my own kids I made them for every baby shower I went to. Every friend that had a baby got one. They are just so cute, and snuggly, and EASY to make! There is, however, one problem with them.
They are not all-season friendly! We like to wait until the last possible second to turn our air on at the start of summer. Like, wait till it's so hot you've got sweat pouring down your face. We're just cool like that. This is my son, in said temperature, with said sweat pouring down his face, alll cuddled up with that warm, snuggly blanket! I tried sitting down and explaining to him that it's the blanket that is making him so hot and if he would just use a different, lighter blanket than he wouldn't be as hot. Reasoning with a 2 year old. Not gonna happen. So my solution: make a light weight blanket that he is in love with so much that he will be okay parting with this hot, snuggly one for the summer.
Enter: the Brobee Sheet Blanket!
I instantly thought of Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba. He loves him! I started brainstorming how I would make it. I wanted to make it out of something I already had, if possible. I wanted it to be light, like a bed sheet. Then I thought, "a bed sheet"! I dug into the back corners of my closet and found an old bed skirt that no longer gets any use. I did document the project, but I am definitely not an expert seamstress! I am an intermediate, at best, who makes many, many novice mistakes. So, maybe if I put the mistakes out there, you can learn from me...or you can laugh with me. Either one works. Would you like to make one too? Let's get started!
Here are all the things you will need:
1. An old bed sheet in good condition
2. About half a yard of light green fleece
3. Scraps of felt in dark green, red, black, and white
4. One posterboard (not pictured)
5. Sewing machine
6. Matching thread
7. Fabric shears
The sheet I used was an old bed skirt, so the first thing I did was cut off the flaps of the skirt so that I just had one piece of fabric. Then I folded it in half so that it was double layered. Then I cut down the folded line so that it was no longer one piece, but two panels, a front and back.
Then I sort of eyeballed it to see where the middle was, laid down the light green fleece, and tried to picture in my head how big I wanted Brobee to be. I didn't want him to take up the entire blanket, but I wanted him to be a good size, too.
Next, since I didn't have a pattern of Brobee lying around, I had to make one. I am definitely no artist, so this part caused me a teeny bit of frustration. I was having trouble getting the left side of my Brobee to match the right side. Do you have this problem? Whenever you draw or sketch something that has matching sides (like a heart, for example) you just can't get them to look the same? I have the solution! Take your poster board, fold it in half, then sketch the right (or left if you're a lefty) side of the Brobee, making sure the middle of his body is along the fold. You can make him as big as you want, obviously, it's your Brobee blanket. There are no rules. Except play nice with others. That's always a good rule. My Brobee pattern ended up being about 19 1/2 inches long.
Cut it out, being careful not to cut on the folded area that will connect your two sides together.
Unfold your pattern, and you have a perfectly constructed Brobee!
Place your pattern on the green fleece and trace around it. You can use a fabric marker. I don't have a fabric marker (gasp!) so I just used a permanent one, and just made sure to cut the line off when I cut around it.
At this point I was getting excited because it was starting to look like what I had pictured in my head. Always fun when that happens!
Now cut his horns out of red felt. Be sure to make them a little longer than you actually want them so that you have a seam allowance. Mine were 3 1/4 inches long.
Next cut his uni-brow out of black felt. To cut these pieces I just typed "Brobee" into Google Images, picked one I liked and kept running to the computer every five minutes to refer to it.
Next the mouth and eyeballs. I did the cutting of these pieces free hand, without a pattern, so that's why they aren't perfect. You may want yours perfect. If you do, draw them first on your left over pieces of poster board and cut them out, then lay down on the felt to cut them out.
Black for the pupils. Looking back I kind of wish I had made them more circular, but the boy doesn't seem to mind, so I'm good with it. Something I forgot to take a picture of was the black line in the mouth. It's basically like the uni-brow, only upside down and not quite as wide.
Next come the dark green stripes. The first stripe was a little tricky because the felt I had wasn't long enough, so I had to piece it together. I just cut one the width of his head, then cut triangles to fit on the sides so that it looks like one long stripe. I wasn't sure how I was going to sew it down so that you couldn't see the thread, but I decided at this step to worry about that later. This train of thought usually gets me into trouble. And I keep using it regardless. This time wasn't so bad, though. I will show you later what I did.
After the first stripe the next two are easy. Once you measure and cut the first, you can just lay it down on the felt and cut around it to cut your second one.
Next is one stripe on each leg, then one on each foot. Notice I haven't cut the fleece Brobee piece out yet. I found it easier to lay all the felt pieces out where they go before I cut him out. Later on I had to trim some of the pieces since they ended up being a teensy bit bigger than the fleece. If you are not one to worry about much detail, though, it won't bother you.
Lastly the arms. Remember the mirror image trick. Once you cut the pieces for one arm, just lay them on the felt and cut another one because it will fit exactly in the spot on the other arm.
Now is when it really starts to get fun. Cut out the fleece Brobee, lay him flat on the RIGHT side of the sheet panel you want to be the front. Be careful to not get your green strips out of order. Otherwise when you try to piece it back together it's like a puzzle you don't want to put together. Or maybe you like puzzles. In which case it could be enjoyable for you. Once you have the green strips in place, pin down the whole thing onto the sheet. Tuck the red horns under the fleece until they are the desired height, then pin those down as well.
If you have a machine with fun stitching, you can choose any ol' stitch you want! I chose the zigzag stitch because I like how it looks, and also the sheet I was using was a little thin so I thought maybe the zigzag would make it a little more secure. I have no idea if that's true or not, but it sounded good.
Okay, here is where you be nice to me when you realize that when I stitched the horns, I had loaded my bobbin backwards, resulting in an upside down zigzag stitch. Did you know that happens? I didn't. And the embarrassing part? I didn't even notice until I was done. I mean, I noticed it looked a little different, but just figured I was looking at it differently. I don't know. So here is where I say, when you reload your bobbin, make sure it is loaded in properly and not upside down. Then stitch around the horns.
Next we need to sew down the strips. I hadn't thought through this before I actually got to this step. For a very brief moment I thought I would just leave them sewn down with the zigzag on the sides and not sew down the top and bottom. And then I remembered I was making this for a 2 year old. Not sewing down any and all strips would be completely and utterly stupid if I want this blanket to last longer than one night. So then I had to decide how to do it. At first I was trying to figure out a way to do it so you wouldn't see the stitching, but the felt wasn't thick enough to do an invisible stitch, so in the end I just picked a stitch I liked and sucked it up. The funny thing is, I ended up REALLY liking it this way! I used the blanket stitch and sewed the vertical line perfectly lined up with the felt so you can't see it and all you can see are the little horizontal lines. So whatever stitch you use, make sure you love it because you will be sewing down the top and bottom of EVERY dark green strip!
See? Now little fingers can't slip underneath it and rip it off.
Now that we've got the body and the horns done, it's time to sew down the face!
Place the uni-brow down and pin. Then sew all around it with the zigzag stitch.
Things were moving right along. I was totally in my happy place, creating something,
When this happened. I was sewing on the black strip on his mouth. I had chosen a ladder stitch. A very cool looking, very STRONG, very hard to pull out, stitch. I finished it, cut it off the machine, and held it up. That's right. Sewed part of the sheet right into it. Gah!!!
And to top it off, we just moved three months ago, and I can't find my ripper ANYWHERE. I looked through every craft box, bin, and bag I have and just couldn't find that little sucker...so...I tore that nightmare of a stitch out with my fabric shears. Not the greatest way to spend 30 minutes of my life.
Pin the white eyes down and then sew into place.
Then the pupils. These can be a little tricky to sew. You have to keep picking up the foot with the needle down, turn the fabric, put the foot down, and keep sewing. I show you this in pictures later on when I sew the blanket panels together.
Now your Brobee is complete! Now we just have to sew the two sheet panels together and we will be done!
Place the two sheet panels together, right sides together. Pin along the edge.
When you pin, leave a hole about 12 inches or so. This is so you can turn the blanket right side out after it is sewn together.
Sew all the way around (except for the hole).
I forgot to take a picture of the next step. After you have the blanket panels sewn together, turn the blanket right side out, and iron all the edges so that they lay flat. Then, do a top stitch all the way around, with about 1/4 inch seam. When you get to the hole that you left open, just keep right on sewing. Your top stitch will close it up!
I forgot to take pictures while I was doing it, but here is a little picture step by step of sewing the corners. This is also the same technique I used when sewing on the little black circles for the pupils. When you come to a corner, sew all the way down until you are 1/4 inch from the edge.
Make sure your needle is down in the fabric, then lift the pressure foot.
Turn your fabric so that you are now ready to sew down the next side.
Put the pressure foot down, and you are ready to go on the next side!
There you go! A light weight, sheet blanket that your child will love in the dead of summer when it is too hot for cuddly fleece!
I really love how it turned out, despite all the mistakes!
This little guy loves it too. And that's the only thing that really matters anyway.