Monday, March 4, 2019

Sensory Play Blanket Tutorial

As Nate is growing and playing with anything that he can get his hands on, it's given me a few ideas on what I can make for him when I can find some time to get into the sewing studio. I went through my stash to find fabrics of various textures to make him this Sensory Play Blanket. 

Sensory Play Blanket - 16" x 18"
- 6 pieces of fabric at least 9" by 11" - I used cotton, corduroy, laminated fabric, flannel and Cuddle. All of the fabrics I used for the triangles were designed by Ann Kelle.
- Muslin scrap at least 9" x 11"
- FQ of fabric for backing. I suggest Cuddle or Minky because the softness of this type of fabric adds to the sensory experience.
- 1/4 yard of quilting cotton fabric for binding
- Optional - Violet Craft Seam Roller


Notes about the supplies:
-I  opted to use the Crinkle Material in only one of the triangle panels. You'll need additional scraps of muslin if you'd like to use it in more than one panel.
- This can be made with any combination of fabrics: 3 flannel + 3 cotton; 2 cuddle, 2 slicker, 2 crinkle; etc. I just used what I had on hand to create the biggest variety of textures that I could.


How to create a triangle with Crinkle Material

1. Cut a rectangle at 9" x 11" from your main fabric, muslin and crinkle.

2. Layer together with the Crinkle between the 2 layers of fabric.

3. Baste around the three layers together to stabilize them before cutting the triangle.

4. Lay ruler as shown and use a pen to mark the 2 sides where you will eventually cut the triangle.

5. Rotate ruler and align one pen mark under the solid 8 1/2" triangle line and the other pen mark with the top of the ruler. Mark along the right edge with the pen to finish marking all 3 sides.

6. Baste 1/8" inside of the pen marks to secure the fabrics and Crinkle together.

Basting can be seen here.

7. Place the ruler back on top of the pen marks and cut the first 2 sides of the triangle.

8. Rotate the ruler as shown to cut the third side of the triangle.

Now you can use this like any other 8 1/2" triangle cut from the Super Sidekick Ruler.


How to create a Sensory Play Blanket

1. Cut a 8.5" triangle from each 9" by 11" fabric. Start by trimming the fabric to be 8.5" x 11" and align ruler to top & bottom edges of the strip. Cut along right edge of ruler to trim strip.

2. Flip the ruler over to backside. Align ruler to top and bottom edges of the strip & align the cut edge of the fabric strip with the 8 ½” line. Cut along edge of ruler to complete the triangle.
Note: It can be helpful to use a rotating mat for this step. Alternately you can move the fabric and ruler, but with stretchy fabrics such as Cuddle you risk distorting the fabric by moving it.

3. Repeat to cut a total of 6 triangles from a variety of textured fabrics.

4. Arrange 6 triangles into a hexagon.

5. Sew a pair of triangles together using a 3/8" seam. I suggest a 3/8" seam here instead of 1/4" because of the variety of different fabrics. Press seam open using Violet Craft Seam Roller. A seam roller is helpful since some of these fabrics should not be exposed to an iron.

Use pins in all fabrics except Slicker or laminated cotton as it makes permanent holes.

6. Add a 3rd Triangle to create a half hexagon

Use wonder clips when sewing Slicker to avoid making permanent holes.

If you are using Cuddle or Minky, position that fabric on top when sewing. It stretches and it is easier to manage this way.

Start sewing at the center point of the half hexagon. Remove clips as you go.

Use roller to press seam open.

Sometimes the cuddle stretches so much that the pieces don't line up at the end. This is OK and we will resolve it once the entire top is sewn together.

7. Repeat sets 3 & 4 to make another half hexagon

8. Sew half hexagons together to make a full hexagon. I suggest clipping the center seam with Wonder Clips and opening it to check alignment as shown.

Sew a couple of inches of the center seam as shown and check again to make sure the points match up. It is much easier to take out just this small part vs taking out an entire long seam.

Finish sewing center seam and press seam open using Violet Craft Seam Roller.

9. Layer with backing. No batting needed.

10. Quilt - I like to keep the quilting to a minimum so that Nate can focus on feeling the texture of the fabrics vs the texture of the quilting. I started by stitching in the ditch across all 3 seams.

Then I quilted lines 1" from each of the ditches.

Quilting can be seen here.

11. It is also helpful to baste around the entire piece to hold everything together before binding. Trim off excess backing.

Here you can see I lined the ruler up with the points seams and trimmed the excess cuddle fabric and backing.

12. Bind & Enjoy! - How to Bind Hexagons

Nate's a fan of his sensory blanket!

©2019-2022 Blog post written by Julie Herman
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