Saturday, August 27, 2011

Faux Chenille Quilt TUTORIAL

As promised, here is the Faux Chenille Quilt tutorial!

I've actually been wanting to do this for awhile, but kept forgetting to take pictures of every step when I was making the big blankets. I got tired of waiting to make another big blanket, so I decided to make a Fat Quarter sized one for this tutorial.  I usually make my blankets using 1 yard in size.  This is a good size for a baby/toddler blanket, or a small lap blanket. As I stated in my previous Faux Chenille entry, the tutorials I found for this were all very intimidating!  They made it seem like a huge undertaking, and it scared me out of attempting one for a long time.  I didn't find the project nearly as tedious as it was made out to be, I actually really enjoyed it!  On top of that, it is a very forgiving blanket, it doesn't have to be perfect!  Mistakes are pretty much completely hidden by the chenille. So don't be intimidated!  It really isn't that bad at all.  It is a lot of fun, and the finished project is totally worth it.  Let's get started!

First, you need to select your fabric. For all of mine I've used either quilting cotton, or the Juvenille Apparel fabric from Joanns as the printed fabric, and flannel for the chenille part.  (Except for the Fat Quarter one I made for this tutorial, I used quilting cotton for the chenille part to because it is what I had on hand.  I like the way the flannel turns out much better though.) The fabrics for the chenille part need to be 100% cotton though, otherwise they won't fray and you won't get the chenille effect.

I use 5 fabrics for my blankets.  The printed fabric for the front, and then 4 layers of flannel for the back.  I only cut 3 layers of the flannel though, leaving the bottom one that is right next to the printed fabric to add sturdiness and keep the back of the print showing through.  Its also a good safeguard against cutting through the layer you don't want to cut.

Here are my fabrics....

You'll notice that contrary to what I wrote above, I only have 4 fabrics.  That is because I made this one spur of the moment with what I had on hand.  If this had been an actual blanket, I would have picked another fabric to have on the chenille side.

Next you'll want to lay the fabrics out.  This is where I do things a little different than others.  I don't bother with pinning or using spray adhesive.  Originally I didn't do it because I was eager to get started and didn't want to have to run out to buy it and didn't want to bother with the extra step.  The blanket turned out fine.  Yes the fabrics shifted some, but it really didn't make any difference in the end product.

Your printed fabric goes on the very bottom, WRONG side up.  Then the bottom layer of the chenille side (if I had the 5th layer in this one, this would be the extra layer that I wouldn't cut.)  Then the rest of the chenille fabrics.  The chenille fabrics should all be RIGHT side up.

The order of the chenille fabrics is personal preference. I didn't put much thought into the first one I did, and was not nearly as pleased with it as I was with the others.  The very top layer will be the most prominent color in the chenille.  I also figured out that if two colors were close in shade (two dark colors) or color, (like blue and purple) they would end up really blending together and look like just 1 color.  So now I make sure to have similar colors separated by a contrasting color. 

Next step is to draw a line diagonally across the top chenille fabric.  You need a long piece of string (ribbon, twine, yarn, whatever you have on hand.)  To help keep it taunt put two cans or jars of whatever you have in the pantry on each end.


 Then Trace the line.

Mine is far from perfect. Its okay though, nobody will be able to tell when its finished.

Now its time to start sewing! Make sure you have enough thread in the color you are using.  I use thread that is close in color to the main color on the blanket so that way mistakes aren't so obvious like they would be if I used a contrasting color. I use the longest stitch length my machine allows, which is a 4. I've read that some people don't backstitch to secure the stitching. I usually do.  I didn't on one blanket and it caused difficulties when it came time to cut.

Sew all the way down the line, corner to corner.  Then turn the fabric over.


The rest of your lines will be sewn with the printed side up. (If you remember to turn it over after the first one, which I didn't til after I was already finished with the 2nd line.  Oops!)
This will help hide any messy threads if you have a problem with the bobbin.  You want to sew the lines about 1/2 an inch apart.  If you're lucky, your foot is 1/2 inch and you can use it as a guide.  Mine is a bit smaller though, so I just have to kinda eyeball it.  Its caused me to have some wonky lines.

But guess what!  IT'S OKAY.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Even on the first one I made with REALLY wonky lines, you can't really tell with the finished project.

^See?  This is the chenille side after I finished sewing it. Those are some really wavy lines. But it all turned out okay.

Once you turn your fabric over, keep sewing lines from the center 1/2 an inch apart all the way down to the corner.

This is where it can get a little monotonous. Sewing line after line.  The first blanket I did, it took me about four hours to do all this sewing, on a blanket that was 1 yard in size.  I would stop to check something online real quick, or a grab a snack or drink to give my hands a break and just break the sewing up a little. For the first one I made,  I stopped for the night with the sewing when I was halfway through and did the other half the next day.

This is what you should have when you're done sewing the first half.  You'll notice it isn't perfect.  There are some squiggly lines and the fabric got bunched in a couple places.  DON'T SWEAT IT!
Now its time to sew the other half.  Start from the center line again, and sew lines 1/2 an inch apart from the center out to the corner.

Woo!  The monotonous sewing is finished! Now its time to cut.  

You can do this with scissors, but I went out and bought the chenille cutter.  It made the cutting go by SO quickly and easily.  Turn the blanket over so the flannel sides are up.  You will be cutting down the center between the stitched lines.   You only want to cut the layers you want to fray, so DON'T cut the printed fabric, or the very bottom flannel layer if you wanted an extra layer for stability like I prefer. So out of five layers I cut the top 3.

All cut up!

Now you want to trim up the edges to make them even, and if you prefer, round the edges. A rotary cutter, cutting mat, and straight edge make this job super easy. You can round the edges using a plate as a guide for the first one if you want, I just do mine freehand though.  Then use that corner as a guide for the other three.

Now its time to bind it. For my bigger blankets I use the extra thick double fold bias tape/quilt binding.  You could use the satin blanket binding if you want to, but I have zero desire to work with satin. I need two packages for my 1 yard blankets. For this mini blanket, I just used regular old double fold bias tape.

If I were a good seamstress, I would have pinned the bias tape before I sewed it.  But I'm not.  So I didn't.  I do when making a big blanket though.



CONGRATULATIONS!  You just sewed a faux chenille quilt!  Now is the fun part of washing it to make it fray up.  Just throw it in the washer and then dryer.  No special washing needed!  The more times its washed, the softer and fluffier it will be.

This is after two rounds through the washer and dryer.  It did not fray nearly as much as the ones with flannel did, which is why I recommend flannel over quilting cotton for the chenille side.

See?  Not nearly as bad as you anticipated I bet.  Go sew one RIGHT NOW. Then come back here and let me know how it went.   Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Faux Chenille Quilts!

I've fallen in love with Faux Chenille Quilts. I'd seen pictures of them online, and thought they were beautiful. I looked up how to make them and it was SO intimidating.  It took me a long time to work up the nerve to attempt to make them, but I'm so glad I did!

This is the first one I made, for my niece.

One of the things I love about these blankets is that they are SO forgiving of mistakes.  I don't think any of my lines are straight, but you can't really tell with the finished project.

See? Looks like I was sewing while under the influence!

This is the one I made for my nephew

This is one I made for a lady at my church.


This one for my sister.  I love the neapolitan chenille part.


And all four in their faux chenille glory....

I also have another one planned, but have to wait to order the fabric though.  Now that I've gotten all the photo sharing out of my system (I really love taking pictures of them!), I can get to work on the tutorial for you guys!

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