Awhile back, Susan blogged about a blanket she made with scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, I thought it was fabulous, and Pete completely fell in love with it. He’s been a bit Pendleton obsessed since he started getting really into men’s fashion a couple years ago… So we started taking trips over to the store and grabbing good looking scraps whenever we found them. And then when the holiday season started, I took a couple secret trips by myself and gathered enough material for a giant blanket gift!
I never scored like Susan did, with the super cheap precut sample cards, but I got mostly the thick, blanket quality wool pieces, so our double layered wool blanket is thick and heavy and WARM! My blanket ended up costing more like $40-50, with all the by-the-pound thick scraps (as opposed to Susan’s amazing $12 creation, which is more what I was hoping for when I decided to go ahead with the project), and it took several days of work, with my limited sewing experience, but it was so super worth it all! Once of my favorite things I’ve ever made!
Of course, most of you don’t have access to Pendleton wool scraps, but this same basic project can be done with recycled wool clothing (like plaid shirts and skirts) from thrift stores, or with felted sweaters! So, I’ll tell you how I made mine…
I started by cutting all the pieces in blocks to make strips of all different widths. I cleared my living room floor to spread the project out and plan out the blocks as I cut. After I took the above photo, I decided to make it a bit bigger, so I added more blocks to each strip. Then I stacked each strip in order, and lined them up so I’d know how they were meant to be sewn together:
I sewed each pile together into the strips, just as I’d laid them all out before, with a basic straight stitch, right sides facing. As I finished sewing each one, I laid it back out on the floor, to keep everything in order:
Then I ironed all those seams open on the back of each strip:
I used the wool setting, with maximum steam… Here are the seams before and after ironing:
The strips after ironing:
So then I sewed all the strips to each other. Starting at one end, the first to the second, then the second to the third, and so on, until the whole thing was one big piece. Careful to keep the ironed seams flat when sewing over them:
Here’s the whole thing after that step:
The next step, of course, was to iron all those seams, completing the top layer of my blanket:
Then I made my lining layer. I didn’t have any one piece large enough for the lining, but I did set aside a few of the largest scraps to piece together for the back side. Once the top layer was complete and I measured it, I figured out exactly how to put the large pieces together to make a block of exactly the same size… There’s a screenshot of my iPad app where I worked out the measurements, just for fun:
(All those numbers are inches; after it was finished, the final blanket measurements ended up being a bit over 6 feet by a bit over 5 feet.) I sewed those together and ironed the seams, and then I had my lining:
I laid out the lining with the top layer on top, right sides facing…
…got the layers all smoothed out the best I could, and pinned the edges together:
Then I sewed all around the edges, leaving about a foot open to turn it back right-side out.
After sewing, I trimmed some parts where the edges didn’t line up perfectly, and clipped the corners to minimize bulk. Then I turned it right-side out, ironed the edges well, and hand-sewed the part that was left open.
Lastly, I sewed around the whole thing, about 1 1/2 inches in from the edge:
I thought about different options for connecting the layers – tying or quilting or something – but with my lack of experience with this kind of crafting, and with how much I loved the blanket as it was, I didn’t want to risk messing it up. It functions perfectly as is, so I don’t see any reason why the layers need to be attached…
So there it is! Pete’s giant Pendleton blanket! I made it for him, but it happens to be huge enough to keep both of us warm at the same time – I’m sneaky like that!
Some more beauty shots…
It’s hard to tell the thickness and weight of it by the photos, so just trust me, it’s big and heavy! I love it so much!
And then, there’s more! With some of the extra scraps, I made a pillow to match, before I started sewing the blanket, to kind of practice. I wanted to make sure I knew the best way to sew and iron the seams before starting the blanket, so I cut these extra scraps, to fit a cheap Ikea pillow…
…sewed them together…
…ironed the seams…
…and sewed on the two overlapping pieces for the back:
And tah dah! Pillowcase! This project took about a half hour, so I definitely plan on making more of these!
On the pillow:
And the back side:
So that’s everything, except for one last note. Throughout all the steps…
…Banzo had to claim the wool as her new spot. And now, of course, it’s her blanket. I may have made it for Pete, but we all know who it really belongs to!
I’d love to see if anyone uses my process to make a blanket from recycled clothing fabrics! Just be careful if you make one with sweater pieces – the stretchiness will make the seams buckle if you don’t figure out how to best sew them (I know from experience as a self-taught sewer, and have never really figured out the best way to avoid buckling). Sewing with the woven wool was still tricky, as the different scraps had varying amounts of stretchiness. I had to figure out how to hold the 2 pieces with different tensions to make the seams even… But I made it work in the end. Yay!
And just so you know, I’m writing this post curled up on the couch with the blanket over my legs, and the kitty curled up at my feet. We are both very snuggly and warm!