When it’s cold outside and you just want to get cozy, there’s nothing quite like your favorite blanket to snuggle. They also make great housewarming gifts, get-better-soon gifts, and care package additions. But what do you do to keep the cost down and still keep it personalized?
You DIY it!
In this article we’re going to walk through an Alice’s Events’ original creation: the convertible fleece blanket. You read that right. Convertible. Yaaassss.
First thing to address: fabric. You may not be surprised to know that fleece is the way to go. Not only is it affordable ($5 – $10 / yard is reasonable and you can get even cheaper on clearance), easy to find (try big box stores like Walmart, craft stores like Hobby Lobby, fabric stores like JoAnn’s, and online sites – yes, even Amazon!), very soft and cozy, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, it also has one sterling quality that places it above the rest: some varieties are no-sew.
You may have seen those craft kits that shout on the box, “Make your own fleece blanket!” with a picture of a cheery tween holding up a blanket of squares tied together. Wow, that’s a lot of work and probably bumpy with all those knots. You don’t need to do that. If you look for fleece that is called “anti-pill” or “blizzard”, you’ll find that you can cut it and it doesn’t fray. Because it doesn’t fray, you could literally cut out a large square (instead of a bunch of tiny squares), call it a blanket, and be done. Hey, if that calls to you, do that! This DIY does that in the beginning but then takes you through the extra steps to make it convertible… but still no-sew!
NOTE: Do not, repeat, do NOT use minky fleece. This is the silky fleece with a longer pile. For those of you that like to sew, you can certainly sew to your heart’s content. It will not work for this project, though, because it does fray and would require hemming. No go here.
Now let’s get to it!
- Fleece (2 yards for each of the two fabric pieces, so a total of 4 yards)
- Yarn or Ribbon (1 skein of yarn or several rolls of ribbon, depending on the size)
- Tape Measure or Ruler
1. Lay out your two pieces of fleece, lining them up. The average throw blanket is 52″ x 60″, and most bolts range from 48″ to 60″ wide. You can make this your shorter side and make the longer side the one that is 2 yards long (because, hey, 2 yards = 72″ so you’ll have enough for 60″ with 12″ left over).
2. Cut both pieces of fabric to be 60″.
You may find that your fabrics are different widths, and that’s okay! Just line them up on one side and don’t worry about the other. You’ll be trimming it in the next step anyway.
3. Cut off the selvages. Selvage is the outside edge that holds the fabric in place when it’s being made in the factory. On one side you will see a line of tiny, pin-sized holes. This is one selvage, so cut along the holes down the entire side.
On the other side, look for those same holes and cut down the line of the holes there, too. (This is where you’ll have evened up your fabrics if they were different widths.)
4. Now that you’re all cut and trimmed, decide which side of your blanket will be the head. You’ll leave that side alone. Instead, take the next side and fold the entire side in by an inch.
5. Using your measuring tape or rule, cut a small notch or slit starting at 2 inches from the end. This doesn’t have to be a big cut, just enough for your ribbon / yarn to fit through.
Keep cutting notches every two inches.
6. When you get to a corner, simply unfold the previous side, fold the new side in by an inch, and start cutting every 2 inches down it. Just make sure that your cuts aren’t too close. You might want to start your first cut on the second side at 4 inches from the end.
Repeat for the third side.
7. Measure out your yarn / ribbon so that you have enough to go along all three sides twice and a little extra. For instance, the blanket shown here was 50″ by 60″, so that would be (60″ + 50″ + 60″) x 2 = 340″ with some extra ended up being about 400″. (That sounds like tons, but it’s really just 11 yards of yarn. Less than one ball in most cases!)
NOTE: For ribbon, you may need to tie multiple strands together, end to end, to make a long enough string. That may affect your decision on whether to use yarn or ribbon.
NOTE: For the next step, you can either fold your yarn / ribbon in half and weave the ends alternately OR cut the entire thing in half and weave them that way.
8. At one end, begin weaving your yarn / ribbon through every other notch, in and out.
9. Take the other strand / end or your yarn / ribbon and weave it in and out of the notches, too, but in the opposite direction. In other words, where one strand goes in, the other goes out, and vice versa.
You’ll know you’re doing it right when your woven yarn / ribbon starts to look like a zig-zaggy line.
Keep weaving through all three sides, just going around the corners from one side’s notch to the next side’s notch. (It can be kinda meditative when you get into a rhythm. Yarn yoga? Hm…)
10. When you’re done, you should have extra yarn at each end. Make sure that both strands end on the same side of the fabric.
Take both strands and tie them into a knot.
Or even a bow!
Repeat on the other side and YOU’RE DONE!
Look at that fabulous fleece blanket you made. Go ahead. Ooo and Aahh. We’ll do it with you: Ooooo. Aaaahhhh.
Now you may ask, where’s the convertible part? That’s where all your weaving came into play. Here’s all the great ways you can use your blanket now:
- All three sides woven together: Use it as a personal blanket or climb inside for the softest, most breathable sleeping bag you’ve ever used. Sleepovers will never be the same.
- Two sides woven together: This also makes a good sleeping bag that is easier to get in and out of, but you know what else it makes? Open it up, put a woven seam on top, and tuck your feet into the woven corner. You’ve got an instant foot warmer built into your blanket. Your feet will never be the same!
- One side woven together: Want to snuggle not just by yourself but with someone else but your throw blanket is never big enough? Now it is! With only one side woven and the sides separated, you have a double-wide throw that’s more the size of a comforter. Couch cuddling will never be the same!!
And in case you’re thinking, “Well, y’know, that grey and lamb print is cute, but it’s not really my style…”, then check out all these other convertible fleece blankets in different colors, prints, and yarns.
Happy eventing and SNUGGLING!