Ok. Are you ready for this?! I have been searching all over the Internet for a way to make a fleece blanket without using a sewing machine (I left mine in Shanghai) and without using the cut + tie method.
I've made loads of cut and tie blankets before and after a few washings and continual use (read, every single day) they tend to look a bit ratty on the ends. Basically, I was just looking for a better looking way to make these very much loved blankets.
Here's what I found!
I started with some extra wide fleece. I was super lucky and found it at Joanne fabrics and they had about twenty different kinds of extra wide fleece there, in both patterned and single colours. My mom was with me and chose this pattern for their house. I also had a 60% off coupon which is amazing 'cause fleece can get expensive!
You can get the fabric in any size or shape you want. At my house we LOVE oversized blankets, so I usually go for 2.5 yards of each kind of fleece. As this is still a 'traditional fleece blanket' you will need two pieces of fleece, both the same size. They can be both the same colour, two different colours, one pattern and one colour or two patterns. Up to you!!!
I lined up the fabric on the floor and cut off any pieces that were not even, trying to keep a straight line. This takes a bit of time and pulling and patience. Don't give up!!! Once you have a huge square or rectangle of fabric, you should pin the fleece together so it stays in its place. I only put about five pins on each side, but you can put more if you think you need to.
I wanted to do a blanket stitch on the edges of my blanket, it looks nice but also durable enough to hold up to everyday use. It's also very easy, so win win! When I tried to start making the stitches, I could not get the needle through both layers of fleece easily. I mean, I used all sorts of needles, blunt needles, sharp needles, thick, thin, yarn needles and COULD NOT get the needles and the thin yarn I was using to go through both layers of fleece. I was baffled. I searched the internet and many people had suggested using a craft hole puncher tool (used in scrapbooking and card making.) My mom had a couple with her scrapbooking things as well, but the fleece just seemed to get pushed through the hole, and didn't actually make a hole. UGH!
I WILL NOT GIVE UP!
After telling all this to my dad (and after the fleece was sitting on our foosball table for two months) he had an idea. And that idea is what you see in the above photo: a Whitney Jr. Hole Punch! This thing was EXCELLENT! Dad's came in a kind of kit and you can choose different hole sizes as well. As you can see in the photo, you can choose how far in you want the hole too, which was great cause then I didn't have to guess each time or use another tool to measure. I chose one inch so you could clearly see the stitches. The kit he had came with a tool to change the little ruler on the side from 1/4 inch to 1 and a half inches. Convenient! I must say, you can buy the Whitney Hole Punch for anywhere from $70-$120 dollars. If you have a dad or grandpa or friend in construction, odds are they have one. If not and you MUST have it (I am def going to buy my own) you can get one here.
In the above photo, you can see the holes made and how they are all in a row. The guide on the Whitney Hole Punch is brilliant! You do need two hands to operate it, as it is usually used for putting holes into steel. This tool is no joke.
I used a thin inexpensive yarn and just chose a needle that had a head big enough to fit the yarn. The holes made with the Whitney Hole Punch were large enough that you don't need to push the needle through at all, just guide it through. Initially I just guessed at how much yarn to start with based on how long my fleece was. I just pulled about four or five arm lengths to start. I would not suggest measuring the length of the blanket and cutting that much because you will lose length as you are stitching.
Blanket stitches are super easy and hopefully you can see from the photos how it is done. Put the needle and thread straight through a hole (if this is your first stitch then leave about a 5 inch tail-don't pull it all the way through!) and then go straight around to the front again and through the next hole. Don't pull it all the way tight-leave a loop. Put the needle (now in the back) up through the loop. I sure am hoping that the photos explain this better than I am! :) Pull it tight and you should have completed one blanket stitch.
I used one long piece of yarn for each side
Cooper LOVED this blanket and liked to lay on it when I was sewing. He is too cute to not take his photo.
I hope you can use this to make your own no sewing machine + no tie fleece blanket. I'm not sure that everyone will spring to go right out and buy an eighty dollar tool, but it sure did the job for me. I think my family is super excited to FINALLY get to use this blanket-especially with the cold weather months coming.
lots of love,
I'm Tory, the creator behind The Barmy Fox. My current loves