Fleece is an excellent material to use for a blanket because it is soft, warm and widely available in many colours. It also does not fray when cut, meaning it is an easy fabric to work with for sewing projects. Making a fleece blanket can be as simple as cutting a rectangle of fabric. Although the cut edges will not fray easily, leaving them raw makes the blanket look unfinished. Binding the edges with either bias or straight-grain binding makes the blanket look much more attractive. Use the same fleece fabric as the blanket to make your own binding, or use a contrasting colour for a different look.
Join the binding strips together end-to-end to form a continuous binding strip that is long enough to go around the entire perimeter of the fleece blanket. To do this, place two binding strips together with the right sides facing, stitch a seam along one short end, then press the seam open.
Use the iron to press double-folds into the continuous binding strip. To do this, press the binding strip in half lengthwise with the wrong sides of the fabric facing, then open the fold. With the wrong side of the fabric facing up, fold the two side edges to meet the central fold line and press the new folds well.
Start at one corner of the fleece blanket to position the double-fold binding strip around the raw edge of the fleece. The side edge of the fabric should lie along the central fold of the binding with the two folded sides of the binding sandwiched around the outside. Pin the binding along one of the side edges of the blanket and stop when you reach the first corner.
Pivot the binding around the corner of the fleece blanket. Secure the binding along the second side of the blanket by pinning it about an inch away from the corner. The binding at the corner will not lie flat so you need to mitre it. Smooth the binding on the second side with your fingers towards the corner of the blanket, then press the excess binding from the first side over the top so that it forms an overlapping 45-degree fold. All the binding fabric should lie smoothly at the corner. Place a pin at the corner to secure the mitred fold in the binding.
Continue to pin the binding and mitre the corners around the blanket until you reach the starting point. Overlap the starting point of the binding with the end of the binding by about an inch, trim the end of the binding, fold the raw edge under and pin the end in place through all the layers of fabric.
Take the blanket to your sewing machine. Starting just below the overlap, sew just to the inside of the inner folded edge of the binding using straight stitches. Make sure that the needle stitches through the top layer of binding, inner layer of fleece and the underneath layer of binding. When you reach a corner, stop sewing with the needle still inserted in the fabric, raise the presser foot, pivot the blanket, lower the presser foot and continue to sew.
Use a shiny satin-like fabric for the binding strips for a nice textural contrast to the fleece. Check the stitch length and tension of your sewing machine on a scrap piece of fleece and binding before sewing your blanket.
Tips and warnings
- Use a shiny satin-like fabric for the binding strips for a nice textural contrast to the fleece.
- Check the stitch length and tension of your sewing machine on a scrap piece of fleece and binding before sewing your blanket.