This is one of my favorite projects. I have one of these blankets in my living room, my mom has one in her television room, and I gave one to my cousin for her wedding this summer. It’s certainly a bit more involved than the last several days of tutorial projects that I have shared, but it makes for such a lovely finished project and is so easy to customize for anyone on your gift list (or yourself!).
You will need:
4 sweaters (see info below about selection)
Backing fabric (I recommend a curtain panel. The amount of fabric you need will depend upon your finished size of the blanket)
A sewing machine
Sweater selection – Here’s where you can really make the project fit your unique aesthetic by the sweaters that you select. I’ve sewn blankets made from sweaters of just about every fiber content and texture, so don’t worry about picking natural fibers versus synthetics. Don’t pick sweaters that are matchy-matchy. Once you put together the patchwork, it will be more visually appealing if there is some contrast between the sweaters. This can come from color, texture, or fiber content. 4 sweaters will make a nice size snuggly blanket for one person. 3 sweaters will make a lap blanket. 5 sweaters will fit you and your sweetie.
Note about sewing: I sew with a ½” seam allowance. If you’re more comfortable with a 5/8″ that’s fine too. I strongly suggest using a stretch stitch throughout. The stretch stitch will make the blanket sturdier and prevent the seams from ripping with use.
First, wash your sweaters. Wash them on hot and dry them on hot. This will get all of the shrinking that the sweaters might do out of the way so you don’t have to worry about washing your finished blanket.
Wind a few bobbins. I always wind several at the start of the project because I know that it will take a few and then I don’t have to stop sewing to wind another.
Cut your sweaters apart. I start by cutting off sleeves, collars and button bands. Then cut off all of the seams. It’s ok to leave ribbing on, it will just add more visual interest.
Now, chop the sweater into rectangles. Don’t make the rectangles too small, you can always cut them down further. I try and keep at least one side 5” wide.
Lay out your rectangles across the floor as if it will be your finished blanket. (Warn your boyfriend to stay out of the office for a while and kick out your cats so they don’t play in the middle and push your layout everywhere!) It’s okay if they don’t make an even line at the edges of the blanket because you can trim the edges after sewing.
Start sewing the blanket together. I find it easiest to sew together in strips or chunks and then to piece the chunks together into the whole. Your rectangles are very stretchy and it’s easy to fudge to get things to fit, so don’t stress about lining things up perfectly.
Once you have the top all pieced together, trim your edges even and run it through the dryer. Trust me on this one. It will help tame all the little fluffies that I’m sure you’ve noticed flying around your sewing space by this point in time. You can vacuum at this point too.
Now, measure the length and width of your blanket and cut a piece of backing fabric the same size. Depending on the width of your blanket, you may need to sew two pieces of backing fabric together to fit. It’s just fine to have a seam in the finished back. I’ve tried several different types of fabric for the back and found that they all work, you just get a different character. I’ve used t-shirt stretch-cotton, a woven cotton muslin, and a pair of synthetic curtains. I found curtains to be a great backing because they are often wide enough you don’t have to piece them together.
Lay your blanket and backing together on the floor, right sides together. Align one side and pin all the way down, every couple of inches. This is really important because the blanket top will stretch so easily. Repeat this for all sides, leaving a 12” gap along the fourth side.
Trim the corners and turn the blanket right side out through the gap. Pin the gap as if it had been sewn closed (tucking ½” seam inside) and topstitch right next to the edge to close it. Now topstitch all along the blanket 1/2” in from the edge.
Smile, you’re done!