Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Stroller/Car Seat Blanket

Happy New Year!! Sorry for the lack of posts recently. We were at Y's parents' house all last week and it was glorious. I decided that rather than blog, I would catch up on my sleep. So I did. I slept a lot. It was perfect. Because of the holidays, I have a few posts about things that I have made that are really quite old at this point. But, while they are old to me, they are still new to you! So here we go!!

The weather turned a bit chilly here a few months ago. At that point, T was still tiny (look at him!!) and we didn't have a coat for him. I would just put him in my wrap and then wrap blankets or my jacket around us. This worked fine, but took a bit of time to deal with. Also, as soon as I wrapped him up like that, he would pass out - he was probably two or three months old at the time. The passing out bit wasn't too much of an issue, except on K's school days. I really wanted to keep him awake until the bus picked up K so that we could go home and nap together. I realized that if I put him in his stroller, he would stay awake, but he also tended to just kick the blankets off. So, I made him a little stroller blanket.

I started with a big square of fabric - about a meter on all sides. I used two fleeces (one for the outside and one for the inside) as well as a thick batting.

I layered them all together and then folded the whole thing into fourths.

Using a Sharpie, I drew a line so that the corner with all raw edges was rounded and then sides going out to either end were a bit curved. You can kind of see the line in the photo below if you look closely.

Then I cut along the line and it looked like this.

The batting was a tad small, so it didn't meet up perfectly at the corners, but I just chose to not worry about that bit. I did, however, baste it as well as I could to the inside fleece. I wanted the blanket to be hooded, so I folded one of the rounded edges together so that the blanket was folded diagonally and drew a line across horizontally, then sewed it up. I did the same for the outside piece of fabric as well.

Then I sewed it up, right sides together, making sure to line up the seams from the hooded part and leaving a bit of a gap for turning. I turned it right side out and then top stiched all the way around. Since it was to be a blanket for a stroller, I needed to cut slits into it so the straps would fit through. I kind of guessed on this bit, but luckily it worked out well (at the beginning at least).

I cut the slits and then pinned the cut edges together.

Thinking I was all smart since fleece won't unravel, I just zig zagged around the slits. It made a huge mess. :(

The slits ended up super wavy and not nice looking at all. After all the work, I totally ruined it!! Good thing this was in the back, so no one would see it until I took T out. Still, I hated what I had just done and figured there had to be a solution.

I kept thinking for a few days, all the while using it.

T loved it, but eventually he wanted his arms free. Luckily, a good friend of ours sent us a beautiful fleece jacket for T, so he would wear that and then I would wrap up his little body and legs in the blanket.

As soon as we got in to a shop or on the train, I would unwrap him and his little body would feel so toasty. As we both were loving the blanket, I decided that I would make two more - one for our new niece and one for a good friend's daughter, both born at the end of November.

I decided that the best way to fix the wavy slits were to use a bias tape of sorts. I didn't want to use real bias tape since the blanket was quite thick and I figured I would mess it up. Instead I settled on strips of the lining fleece. I also worked out a much better way to deal with it. I assembled the blankets the same way I did T's, but before cutting the slits, I drew them on and then sewed around them.
Then I cut them open. Since they were sewn together, I didn't have to deal with pinning that many layers of fabric together.
Next I cut super long strips of the lining fleece, each about 8 cm wide and sewed them around the slits, about 4 centimeters on either side of the blanket. This was not an easy task - the machine was working it's way through one layer of batting and four layers of fleece. As a result, it didn't turn out perfect, but looked way better than the wavy mess I had made of T's.
Not perfect, but better than the prototype. I ended up fixing T's as well and I like it much better now. I made these before each of the new babies were born and gave them away just before and just after their births. We saw our little niece (who was given the pink one) over the New Year and she was using her blanket for her car seat. She looked so sweet all snuggled up in it. Her parents said that it works really well - wahoo!!
Unfortunately T is over his at this point. We got a lot of use out of it, but he doesn't like being all wrapped up in it any more. Homie's on the move! Also, given that we wait for the K's bus for a good ten minutes and it is freezing, we use a different stroller bag that is down and super duper toasty. He still doesn't much care for it, but it is zipped like a sleeping bag, so he can't bust his way out of it. Too bad, little man!!

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