Jungle Play Time Floor Blankie

Well, it’s been some time!  I’ve been baking a baby, yes, that’s right!  We are expecting our first child in August, and we couldn’t be more excited!  I am already planning all of the diabolical craftiness that will come!  So, I took a little break from blogging and crafting while I got through the ever so infamous first trimester.   I am feeling so much better!

So, with all my excuses out of the way, on to the crafting!  I started my blog journey off during the holidays, so it was only natural to post one of my many crafting talents, home decor and baking!  But sewbakelove is also about, well, sewing!  It has been a great passion of mine for so many years, and I have learned many new tips and tricks from family, friends and blogs of course!

This was a little project that I put together today for two special little boys.  A co-worker is adopting two precious little brothers.  How exciting!  They are young, but not baby’s, and lately my focus has been on all the little bambino’s that have been popping up.  This was a fun & simple project, and I hope that they love them!

I think that a lot of people think that making a blanket is huge under taking, that it’s so much work, and will take a long time.  While that mostly is true, there are some short cuts, it doesn’t always have to be a huge undertaking.

I’ve been trying to use the ridiculous stash of fabric that I have aquired over the years.  And, since Baby Von is coming soon, by secondary back-up crafty room/storage area needs to be overhauled.  There is a crib in there, somewhere…under the yards and yards of flannel thats currently taking up the space where my child will eventually slumber.  On that note, I searched in my closet and found these super cute jungle panels that I had forgotten that I had!  I found these at a Joann’s store that was relocating to a different part of town, and everything was 70-80% off!!!  Usually the panels are pretty pricey, but at this price, I couldn’t pass them up, and I bought 3 of them.  Seeing them, I knew that these would be a perfect, cheery play time floor blankie for these precious little boys!  They are a perfect size, super cute jungle buddies on the front, and I made them nice and thick so they would hold up.  Here’s how I used what I had on hand to dress up this panel to make these fun gifts!

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The panel measures at 35×40, however, the were VERY uneven!  After washing and pressing, there was a good portion that had to be trimmed because the seams were all wonky!  Annoying says the girl who will rip seams til the wee hours for straight lines!  Grr!  Well, there is always a way I say!  I will get to how I fixed them soon.

The outer borders are made of flannel, and the animals are a thick, uber soft felt.  The felt gives the panel a adorable 3d look & feel.  The sun is made of a satin, giving it some shine.

Since the boys are bigger, I wanted to make something that they can use when they play on the floor, or nap, that would be cute and comfortable.  I used two layers of cottonImage batting, and used anti pill fleece for the backing.  I decided to not do binding on these, instead I serged the edges.  This not only gives it a cool look, it was super fast!

After pre-washing and pressing, a must with all projects, I laid the panel out on top of the two layers of batting and fleece.  Pin all layers together, making sure all layers are flat and smoothed out.  Always, always, make sure you have an extra allowance for your batting and backing!  You will thank me later!  After pinning, quilting and top stitching, things move and shift around.  There is nothing worse than having a wonky edge or you are short somewhere due to your fabric moving.  And trust me, it will move a little even if you press and pin.

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Next step, decide what you want to quilt.  Since this panel is adorable on its own, I didn’t want to do too much, but wanted add something to it, and ensure that the top piece is attached to the batting to prevent shifting in the future.  I used a dark brown thread, and stitched in the ditch around the brown borders.

For those new to sewing that have never heard of “stitching in the ditch”, its pretty awesome.  It’s an easy and quick way to attached pieces together through batting or just attaching the top piece or panel, to the batting as I did here.  You can use a regular foot or a walking foot to do this.

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As you can see, you stitch, right in between your fabrics, in the ditch!  Go slow until you get the hang of things!  You will have an invisable stitch if you take your time!

Another awesome tool in my crafty aresenal, are these crafty life changing pens!  I read this on another blog so long ago, and I can’t rememeber which one, but man oh man!  These are the best!  The Pilot Frixion Ball pen’s are just a normal erasable ink pen, you can get them anywhere the sell office supplies, but they are like magic on fabric!  I use these when I quilt, embroider, or need to mark on fabric for cutting or stitching marks.  They dissapear when you iron them!  And you barely have to put the iron on before it dissapears!  It truly is the best marking pen for fabric.  No chalk, no pencil, no washing.  Awesome.  Always test it out on your fabrics, I have used it on cotton, flannel, fleece and ribbon.  So far so good!

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I love these, and it makes drafting a quilting design so effortless!  You can draw and make what ever designs, then just erase it if it doesn’t look right.  This panel is very cute, and I wanted to add a few more details.  I chose to outline the grass and have the elephant squirt out some water of his cute trunk.

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Use the Frixion pen, draw out your design.  Choose your thread color and change your sewing machine foot to the quilting foot.  Also, bring the thread though the hole and out to the side, and make sure all of your screws are on nice and snug. Make sure you lower the lower feed dog on your sewing machine.

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Now, if you have never ever played with this foot and lowering the feed dogs, practice, a bunch, before you quilt on your labor of love!  It is a fun skill, but it does take a lot of practice.  Use old fabric scraps with some batting and do some free hand and also practice with your Frixion pen to get really comfortable with tracing designs.  Since you are lowering the feed dogs, you will be the only force moving your fabric.  The faster the speed the more control you will have.  Also, be careful not to sew over your finger.  This hurts, a lot.  Don’t do it.  Some people use gloves to protect themselves and also to get a better grip on the fabric that they are guiding.  Also, you will most likey, depending on the size of your project, want to roll or fold the sides of your piece, to have better control over it, and also so it fits in the work space of your machine.

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I am most comfortable working from the far end in towards me.  Before I start my line, I stitch in place a few times to have a grounded point.  Follow your line and I gave it a little swirl at the end.

ImageYou can use your lines exacly or as a guide.  When it comes down to the quilting, I do my best to stick to the plan and keep it controled, but it can get away from ya.  Little boo boo’s here are ok in my book, gives it character!  It is difficult to seam rip qulting because there are so many sticthes going into the material because your feed dog is down, and because you are hauling butt on that pedal.  But thats why I say practice practice practice!!

After you are fininshed quilting, just place your iron over the stiching and watch your pen marks disapear!

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Ok, so remember how I said that these panels are all wonky? Well, here’s how I fixed that problem!  Cutting something like this at times can, well suck.  You can measure wrong and then you have cut too much.   You can NEVER go back once you cut.  Instead, I used y Frixion pen, and made marks along the edge.  I used that as a cutting point when I surged the edges.  I did a 3 inch edge from the brown fabric, which was even and straight.

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I serged and cut the edges, man I love my serger!!!  Tied off the edges and used a dab of fray check on each corner.

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Once the fray check was dried, I gave it a final press!

Both of these from beging to end took me about an hour and a half!  For two blankies!  Uh yes please!!!!

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