Thursday, 13 February 2014

How to make a baby "Taggie" blanket

I'm very excited.

For a number of reasons.

Firstly, I'm SO freakin' excited about becoming an Aunt in the next couple of weeks!  My little brother is going to be a Daddy and I can't wait!

Secondly, I'm excited to introduce my first guest blogger today. 

And, to top it off, those two concepts are combining today to form one seriously exciting post! 


Rachael is an 'old' friend of mine from high school whom I have been thrilled to reconnect with in the last year or so.  She's the mamma to one cute poppet called Pepper and the creative soul behind Sew Today, Clean Tomorrow where she blogs about - and share tutorials for - her amazing creations.

When I wanted to make something special for my soon-to-be niece or nephew (my money's on a girl!) I went straight to Rachael.  

We discussed a few different options, most hindered by my limited sewing capabilities, but I've seen these Taggie blankets a lot and loved the idea of them.  A Taggie is a little comforter/blanket with a variety of tactile materials that provide a sensory experience as well as being soothing and calming for baby as well.

So over to Rachael, who has produced this wonderful tutorial just for us...

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Baby Taggie Tutorial

When Sarah asked me to write this tutorial I was very excited. My daughter loved her Taggie when she was a baby and I had grand plans of making a few spares for her. I must have blinked or something though because now she's two and too big for all the baby projects I had planned. This is a great excuse to see one of them come to life. 

Before we begin, let's talk about fabric. In this tutorial I have chosen a cute printed flannel for the front and a gorgeous soft minky for the back. Minky is beautiful and very popular with baby items, but it can be a little fiddly to work with (and don't get me started on the fluff). If you're after a fuss-free Taggie then you may prefer working with cotton or flannel. They are just as cute but won't stretch like minky does. That being said, I made my Taggie without any special tools or gadgets, so, if you follow these steps, you will be fine.


Materials

Fabric and ribbon for your Taggie
1 x 11'' square of fabric for the front (Patterned flannel) 
1 x 11’’ square of fabric for the back (Minky)
12 x 6'' long ribbon. I have used ½'' wide ribbon but you can use anything really. In fact, you could even have different widths, lengths, colours and textures. Whatever you think will suit baby best.

Steps
Cut the front and back fabrics into 11'' squares. I found it easiest to draw the 11'' square onto the wrong side of the flannel first. Then pin it to the minky and cut both pieces together.
Cut ribbons and finger press each one in half.
Pin the ribbon around the outer edge of the front fabric, lining up the raw edges.

Pin the ribbon to the fabric, lining up the raw edges.
You can make this as even or random as you like.

Looking like a Taggie already
Sew along each edge of the fabric, using a ¼ inch seam, to secure the ribbon. This step is optional but it gives me peace of mind knowing the ribbon is securely fastened, no matter how much loving the Taggie gets.

Sew the ribbon using a 1/4'' seam
 Place the back and front fabrics right sides together.

Place fabrics right sides together
Align the raw edges and pin. If you have chosen minky then you will need to use more pins than for cotton or flannel. In fact, I space my pins no more than a finger width apart.

Yikes, that's a lot of pins!!!
You will also need to leave a gap of a few inches for turning your Taggie right side out. I do this by putting extra pins in the start and finish points of my sewing. To make life easier, make sure you gap is between ribbons.

I have marked my start and finish sewing points with groups of three pins
Start at the front of your turning gap and sew around all four edges, using a ½'' seam allowance (I just used the width of my foot). Remember to keep your raw edges aligned.

Optional: I like to add extra strength to the seam by using a triple stitch. This isn't necessary though.

Start sewing at the front of your turning gap
I find minky tends to behave more when it's on top, I sew slower than normal and I use both hands to keep it in place.

Sew slowly and use both hands to control the minky (sorry, one is taking the photo)
Stop sewing when you reach the finish marker at the back of the turning gap.

Stop sewing at your finish marker

Taggie sewn with the turning gap visible at the bottom

Clip the corners so the fabric sits nicely once turned.

Clip the corners
Turn the Taggie right side out by gently pulling the fabric through the turning gap.

Turn the Taggie right side out
Optional: You may choose to iron the Taggie here so it sits flat. If you have used minky then take care, use a low heat, and do not place the iron directly on the minky. They are not friends. In all honesty, I didn't iron mine and had no trouble with the fabric sitting nice and flat.

Taggie turned right side out
Sew around the outside of the Taggie, about 1/8'' from the edge. This gives a lovely finish and closes the turning gap. Take your time and make sure both the front and back fabrics are nice and snug against the seam.
Due to the bulk of fabric, the corners may be a little difficult. You simply need to use a little more pressure than normal to guide the fabric through.

Sew 1/8'' from the edge

Top-stitched edge. So pretty.
Congratulations. You can now sit back and admire your new Taggie. You've made a little baby out there very happy.
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Thank you so much, Rachael!  That looks so great and I'm now super excited to be making a special homemade gift for the baby- one that is stitched with love.  I'm off fabric shopping now...
 

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