Shannon Fabrics makes a really fabulous, quality minky fabric called Cuddle. Have you tried it? I know minky type fabrics have a bit of a tough rep – most people think they’re hard to sew with. But, I now know that with a few tricks and a little help from three amazing sewing tools, Cuddle is a lot of fun and totally sewable.
I’ve done some work with Shannon and they sent me a Cuddle Bambino Blanket Kit to stitch up a few weeks ago. The instructions in the kit were fabulous and I didn’t have any problems sewing the blanket at all. So, I thought I’d encourage you with my adventure. Power to the sewing people!!
The kit came with several strips of print fabrics, a strip of faux fur style Cuddle and a larger piece for the backing. The kits make up different sizes of blankets and the one I received resulted in a finished size of 27″ x 38″. The kit instructions tell you exactly the size of strips, backing and batting you need to cut. I used Warm Company’s Warm & White batting gifted to me by a friend. It was a super nice weight for a soft baby blanket and I would definitely choose it again.
Once my fabrics were cut, I laid out the backing fabric wrong side up and centered the batting on the backing. And, then . . . I found my new sewing love. 505 Adhesive “basting” spray. Shannon sent me this, too and it’s not just nice to have when you’re sewing Cuddle – it’s essential! I rolled one end of the batting towards the center, sprayed the wrong side of the backing with my new friend 505, then repeated that step for the other half of the batting.
Note: It didn’t take much 505 spray to secure the batting enough to stabilize it while I was working. I sprayed in little puffs rather than a big, sweeping, cover-everything-within-a-yard-of-you, spraying kind of motion and that worked quite well. This enabled me to use the 505 without ingesting it or making a sticky, debilitating mess of my cutting area. So, repeat after me . . . little puffs.
The blanket is assembled with a “stitch and flip” method, so the next step was to center the middle strip wrong side down on the backing. I repeated my roll toward the center, little puffs of spray procedure to attach the center strip to the batting.
The first stitched strip was attached to the edge of the center strip right sides together. It’s stitched through all layers and this is where the next essential friend came on the scene – I attached my walking foot to my machine.
A walking foot is like a Super Power Cape for your sewing machine. It enables it to leap tall layers at a single bound without reducing you to tears. If you don’t own one, go get one – now. If you have to save up first – do it. Mother’s Day is coming. Drop loud hints if you need to. You really, really need a Walking Foot if you’re going to sew Cuddle and a whole lot of other things, too!
After that first strip was stitched, I went back to the cutting table, flipped the sewn strip onto the batting to make sure it was sewn correctly, then rolled it back, sprayed more puffs of 505 and smoothed out the strip onto the batting.
For the rest of the strips, I repeated these steps working back and forth from the center to the ends, one strip at a time until all strips were sewn. Flipping the back over from time to time gave me the chance to make sure my stitching looked okay on that side. I chose to follow the strip sequence shown on the instructions, but you could easily mix it up with the width or order of your colors and prints.
Once the strips were all sewn, following the instructions, I basted the layers together all the way around the outside of the quilt. To square it up, I laid out the sandwich I’d made, lined it up on my cutting mat, and trimmed it to an even width and length.
And, then it was time for binding, which struck just a little flame of fear in my heart. Not because it was Cuddle, though – I’d already conquered that. I just don’t do binding very often since most of my sewing is devoted to growing my Handmade Wardrobe.
The first step was to sew the binding strips together with a diagonal seam. This is a more attractive join than a straight seam and keeps the integrity of the stretch in the binding. Did you know that Cuddle is a knit? It is and you want to respect the little bit of stretch that is one of it’s beneficial properties.
With the help of friend number three, I had no trouble with my binding at all! And, that brings me to another “must have, go get some now” tool – Clover’s Wonder Clips. Speaking of super powers, they’re like little bits of magic in your hands!
I clipped the binding all around the blanket edge with Wonder Clips, then headed to my sewing machine. At the corner, you stop 1/2″ away, fold in your miter, then continue along the next edge. After stitching all the way around, I attached the ends of the strip with a diagonal seam again, trimmed the extra ends and finished attaching the joined area.
Okay, this is where the Wonder Clips really shine and will continue to shine anytime you’re attaching binding. The binding was then folded up and over the edge of the blanket and Wonder Clipped in place. Isn’t that a beautiful sight?!
Because Cuddle is a knit, it doesn’t ravel, so the cut edge folded to the back was left unfinished. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture for you, but trust me it works! I chose a serpentine stitch to finish the binding and lined my needle up so that the stitch waved back and forth between the binding and the blanket. This stitching was done from the front.
And, then birds sang and the sun came out and suddenly it was a blanket! A beautiful, incredibly soft, yummy little baby blanket. Isn’t it adorable?!
Shannon has a great Cuddle Tips sheet and other helpful info on their web site. Click here to take away any lingering minky fear and give it a try. I hope this helps. I’m just an ordinary girl with a sewing machine and I did it, so I know you can, too!
I had so much fun doing this that I stitched up my own version for a baby shower gift last night and the new mommy loved it. And, anything that makes a mom-to-be happy is super okay with me!