Monday, January 26, 2015

Customized Fleece Dance Team Blankets

Looking for a practical and personal gift for the dancer in your life, without spending an arm and a leg? Well...I should restate that, it's inexpensive if you already own a cutting machine! If not, maybe someone you know owns one you can use. I recently was given a Cricut Explore, and I love it for the most part (but I must admit that a small part of me hates how the company nickel and dimes you for every accessory, font, cut file or product material!) But I digress! Back to the cute blankets...
The first step is prepping your fleece. I've made them using both fleece yardage and store bought finished blankets. The choice is yours. I'm not a huge fan of all the fringe hanging around the edges, but lots of kids love to tie the knots. Again, choice is yours, but I just sewed a traditional seam around the border with right sides together, leaving an opening to turn it right side out.  After closing the hole with some quick hand stitching, I topstitched the seam with a large, wide zig-zag stitch. 
Iron-on Vinyl on Satin
Next, you're ready to personalize. Now, I made these as blankets to take to competitions (think cold, early morning bus rides), so I positioned the personalization so that it could be wrapped around the body while walking and read at about knee level. In other words, I turned the blanket sideways and put the lettering on the lower right side when you're looking at it.  The first two blankets I made were for my own daughters, so I used my Cricut to cut the lettering from iron-on vinyl and pressed it to coordinating satin that was backed with interfacing.  The later ones I've made, I decided to skip the vinyl stage and just make the satin stiff enough to cut with Heat Bond Ultra-hold. In both cases, I finished the edges with zig-zag stitches. One of these, I layered the satin so there was no need to stitch around the letters. But, on some I was making to sell at our competition gift table, I used just one layer of satin and used the negative space of my Cricut cut which made a cool raised effect when stitched. Variety is the spice of life, so have fun experimenting with the technique you like best! But, two words to the wise, do not try stitching around single small letters on fleece and be sure to use a pressing cloth over the fleece'll be sorry!
I know your dancer would love one, and with so many printed fleece patterns out there you're sure to find one in their team colors! Happy sewing!
Layered Satin...Heat n' Bond Ultra Hold

Layered Satin using Heat n' Bond Ultra Hold

Single Layer of Satin...Allows the Fleece to Puff Up Through the Cut!

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