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How to Make an Easy Swaddle Blanket

Updated: Jan 9

Hi friends! It's the coziest time of year - a perfect time for BLANKETS! Blankets are one of my favorite handmade gifts to make. I'm sharing a series on making a variety of blankets for you this month. Today I am starting with flannel swaddle blankets otherwise known as receiving blankets. We have had a little baby boom in my family, so I have been making quite a few of these lately. I also love rounded corners on my blankets, so I am showing you how to do that as well.

To make ONE easy swaddle blanket you will need:

  • 1 yard of a pretty flannel print - I usually make a 36"x42" blanket, but you can also make a square version of 36"x36" or get 1.25 yds and make a 42"x42" blanket.

  • Coordinating thread - I like using cotton but choose your favorite. And I will go into color a little bit more in a minute.

  • Sewing machine that has a blanket stitch (or you can hand stitch with floss).

Choosing your Thread Color

Aside from picking the print on the flannel this is the most fun part in my opinion!

The blanket-stitched edge is what keeps the flannel from fraying and unraveling, but it can also be decorative if you'd like.

Using this pretty floral print, let me show you some options. This print has many colors to choose from, but some will stand out more than others.

  1. Variegated green - I think variegated thread is very fun and this green will be complimentary to the background yellow but will show the darker hues much more.

  2. Variegated pastel rainbow - Again variegated = FUN, but these colors are paler and while you will see them, they will also blend a little nicer with all the colors. It's a little more balanced in my opinion.

  3. Light yellow - This color will completely blend and be invisible. A great option if you don't want people to really notice your stitches.

  4. Bubblegum pink - This color is in fabric, but it is the highest contrasting color so will definitely add a color POP along the edge.

There is no wrong choice - they will all look nice and finish the blanket nicely. It's more of the feeling you get when you look at them. I choose differently all the time - it adds variety and interest to your gift. For this yellow blanket, I chose the variegated pastel rainbow thread.

Making the Rounded Corner (BONUS)

A rounded edge is a pretty finishing detail that also allows for a little bit easier finishing in my opinion. It can be used on a single-ply blanket like this one, a double-ply blanket, or a quilt. This detail is very easy to accomplish and will make it look very professional.

You will need a dinner plate (not paper variety), a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and your fabric/quilt. For a quilt or thick material I would do this one corner at a time, but for a single-ply flannel blanket, I fold the material in half lengthwise and width-wise so all 4 corners are together and just cut once. Here are the steps and a quick video:

  1. Trim your fabric and square up your corners.

  2. If doing all 4 corners at once - fold in half lengthwise and in half width-wise.

  3. Place the fabric/or quilt corner on the cutting mat.

  4. Lay the plate face down (so it's more stable and flat on the surface)

  5. Your plate should come to the edge on both sides of the corner.

6. Hold the plate steady and run your rotary cutter along the edge to cut off the corner of your fabric.

7. Check it and trim if needed before removing plate.

8. Repeat to other corners as needed.

Watch how easy this is below:

Now it's Sewing Time

The main thing to remember is to stay on the edge of the fabric, the rest of these details are just my tips and preferences. So thread your machine, put your bobbin (of matching thread) in your machine, put on your walking foot, and get ready to stitch. (**If you want to hand-stitch, I'm sure there are many great internet videos on blanket stitching - it is not a very hard stitch.)

1) I like to widen my blanket stitch so that it takes a bigger "bite" into the fabric and is less likely to fray. This is shown with the red bracket, and I went from 3.5 to 4.0. You could also lengthen the stitch (blue bracket), but I don't do that for these swaddlers.

2) Pick a starting place - I like to start in the middle of a side. To secure your stitches, you can leave thread tails and tie a knot and cut or you can secure by stitching reverse, lock-stitch, or over the starting stiches with the ending stitches. However when you secure the stitches make sure you are on the part of the stitch that is IN the fabric not on the edge that way it is secured to something.

3) Then just slowly stitch along the edge - I have my needle actually making the "length" stitch NOT on the fabric and then making the "width" stitch into the fabric, but you can let all the stitches be on the fabric if you like. The edge will most likely fray slightly, but then stop when it gets to the stitches.

4) when you get to the corners, you just slow turn the fabric as you stitch. Usually you don't have to stop and lift the foot to pivot because the curve is so gentle. However, if you used a smaller plate or have a sharper curve (for whatever reason) you can stop stitching while your needle is IN the fabric and pivot your fabric. You do want to stop and move the bulk of your fabric as needed to avoid any pulling on your stitches. Here's a little video to demonstrate for you:

5) And that's it - when you get all the way around to the beginning of your stitches then lock your ending and cut the thread. I typically stitch over the first couple starting stitches for extra security before I lock-stitch.

Trim off any errant little threads...

Now you have a finished swaddle blanket (or 3 LOL) ready for gifting or use!

Wash it to bring out the snuggly softness and wrap up those babies!

You may find yourself slightly addicted to making these...

I love to see your work! Share your projects on social media by tagging me @polkadotpeepquiltsetc on Instagram or Facebook. Follow me on either platform for more quilty fun or sometimes designing, cooking, family adventures, or other tidbits.

If you have questions, you can ask me in the comments or almost live by using the "Let's Chat" button.

Until next time - Be blessed my friends,


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