Sewing for Baby: 11 Small Sewing Projects for Your Little One
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Preemie Cuddle Blanket for Charity
This soft and sweet preemie sewing pattern is a perfect blanket to donate to charity or give as a baby shower gift.
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Did you know September is not only National Sewing Month but also National Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Awareness Month? It’s a great time of year to use your sewing skills to donate to a NICU near you, or through an organization like Preemies of the Carolinas.
Minky is a super soft and cuddly fabric that makes great loveys and baby blankets. In this post, I’m going to share tips for how to sew with minky fabric, a baby lovey, and blanket sizing chart, and the pattern for this preemie cuddle blanket for charity, so read on for details!
This baby blanket tutorial was originally posted on Marie's Underground Crafter site as part of her Baby Sew Along. Find it here.
Are you new to sewing with minky fabric? Not to worry! Along with this tutorial, I’m sharing tips for cutting, sewing, and caring for minky fabric to make luxuriously soft baby blankets and loveys, or any minky projects.
This Preemie Cuddle Blanket for Charity is ideal for any new baby because it's a tiny blanket that's incredibly soft. Because it's small, it works well for preemie babies or any charity baby blanket drive or donation. Or make it as a gift for the babies in your own life. No one will be unhappy with this lovely homemade gift!
Find this and more unique sewing projects you'll love as part of National Sewing Month 2021
More about National NICU Awareness Month and Donating
Many NICUs collect handmade blankets and bonding squares, small fabric squares that family members can wear against their skin so that their scent is absorbed.
Bonding squares can then be placed into an isolette or crib with the baby, allowing the baby to become familiar with the scents of parents, siblings, and grandparents during their stay in the NICU.
Learn more about donating to hospitals and other locations and charitable organizations by reading through our guide, Sewing for Charity: What You Need to Know.
Before making a preemie blanket or bonding square, be sure to check with the organization where you plan to donate to make sure you meet their requirements in terms of size, fabric fiber content, and fabric color or print choice.
In general, preemie blankets and bonding squares should be made in smoke-free homes, and should be pre-washed in unscented, undyed detergent before donation.
Don't forget to read our helpful guide on everything you need to know about crafting for charity: Sewing for Charity: What to Know in 2023
Using Minky for Preemie Projects
Minky is a super soft and cuddly fabric that makes great preemie blankets and bonding squares. Minky is an extremely plush polyester fabric that is very popular for baby projects, and it’s also used for quilts and quilt backs. It is very light and very soft, like fleece, but has a raised surface known as the pile.
You don’t need to pre-wash minky fabric before sewing because it doesn’t shrink. After your project is finished, you can wash it in cold water on a gentle cycle and tumble dry low for 10-15 minutes rather than a full cycle.
Minky can stretch while you’re sewing because it is a knit fabric. Before cutting, mark your fabric on the wrong side. Cut regular minky with a rotary cutter or fabric shears with a pointy tip. For minky with a higher pile, use a craft knife instead. Minky can shed once cut so use a lint roller or portable vacuum cleaner to clear off your cutting area before you start sewing.
To prevent minky from shifting or stretching while you sew, use a lot of pins or Wonder Clips -- more than you’d use for other fabrics -- to keep your fabric pieces together. As always, don’t "sew through" pins because that can damage your sewing machine and break your needle.
Avoid ironing minky as you can damage the pile or melt the polyester. If your minky is wrinkled, use an iron on a low setting and place a piece of cotton fabric or a Teflon pressing sheet over the top of your minky fabric to protect it.
The Cuddle Lovey/Blanket is a quick preemie project that can be adapted to a blanket or a bonding square in different sizes.
Love sewing blankets for babies? Check out this collection for the best easy patterns you'll ever find: 40 Easy Baby Blanket Sewing Patterns
Size of Preemie Blankets Chart
This simple project is made from two pieces of minky fabric. Both the front and the back are the same size. Here’s a sizing chart to help you decide how much minky fabric you need and what size to cut it to. Most minky fabric is 58" to 60" wide; yardage is based on 58" to make sure you have enough for your project.
|Size to Cut 2 Equal Squares |
(w/ Seam Allowance)
Minky Fabric Yardage Needed
to Make One
|Bonding Square||5"||6"||1/4 yard|
|Micro Preemie||10"–17"||11"–18"||1/2 yard|
|Small Preemie or Lovey/Comfort Blanket (for 9 months and older)||18"–20"||19"–21"||3/4 yard|
|Large Preemie or Car Seat Blanket||22"–28"||23"–29"||1 yard|
|Stroller Blanket||30"–35"||31"–36"||1-3/4 yard for blankets up to 30" Finished Size; |
2 yards for blankets 31"–35"
|Baby Blanket||32"–36"||33"–37"||2 yards for blankets up to 35" Finished Size; |
2-1/4 yards for blankets 35"–36"
|Child Blanket||42"–48"||43"–49"||2-1/2 yards for blankets up to 44" Finished Size; 2-3/4 yards for blankets 45"–48"|
Preemie Cuddle Blanket for Charity: Tools and Materials Needed
Sewing machine with walking foot
45 mm Rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and cutting mat OR fabric scissors and marking pen
Iron and iron-safe surface
Pins or Wonder Clips
Basic sewing supplies (seam ripper, thread snips, etc.)
Optional: Stretch, jersey, or ballpoint needle
2 squares of minky fabric (see sizing chart above for measurements needed)
Note: The photographed sample is a Micro Preemie Blanket made with 11" squares of Shannon Fabrics Cuddle Dimple embossed minky fabric
100% polyester thread in your choice of color for top thread and bobbin
Preemie Cuddle Blanket for Charit Instructions
Cut fabric into 2 squares for your size of the blanket.
Place right sides (embossed/plush sides) together and pin together.
Prepare Machine for Sewing
Put on your walking foot, change to a new needle, and change your straight stitch length to 3.5.
With a 1/2" (half inch) seam allowance, begin sewing at middle of one side as shown below.
Sew down side through both layers with a 1/2" seam. Continue sewing through both layers with a 1/2" seam on the next 3 sides. When you turn to the first side, finish sewing but leave an opening about 3” wide for turning.
Clip the corners.
Pull the fabric through the opening so that the right sides face out. Be sure to push out the corners to keep the edges squared.
Sew a 1/4" top stitch around all 4 sides, being sure that to seam closed the opening left for turning the fabric right side out.
You are done with your cuddly soft lovey blanket for charity!
About the Author:
Marie Segares is the Proprietress of Underground Crafter. She's a sewing, crochet, and knitting blogger, designer, podcaster, and teacher. You can read more about her here and stay in touch by signing up for her newsletter here. Visit her profile to learn more: Marie Segares from Underground Crafter
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