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Fleece Blanket with Sleeves

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This fleece project is pretty simple -- shouldn't take you more than half an hour (depending on if you have to rip and resew or not!) I'm following the excellent instructions posted by Welmoed Sisson on her site.

Start with 3 yards of 60" wide fleece -- solid color or neat patterns! You can download the PDF directions above or just follow the pictures to the right.

First, a couple of words about fleece. Fleece is great for quick projects -- it doesn't fray, so you don't have to finish seams! Next, note that fleece DOES have a right-side and a wrong-side. If you cut a piece of fleece, you'll note the edge will curl a certain direction. The edge will curl in the direction of the wrong side!

Next, fleece does have a nap! What this means is that with a 1) right/wrong side, and 2) up/down nap, that means there are four ways to join two pieces of fleece -- and 3 of them will be wrong! So ... be very careful matching right/wrong and nap when you're joining pieces!

You should use a longer stitch when you sew fleece -- perhaps a 3 or a 4. Some folks say you should use almost a basting stitch. The good part about this is that it makes it real easy to rip out if you mismatch right/wrong/nap when joining!

Finally, resist all temptation to iron or press the fleece. Just say no! Ironing will melt the fleece and ruin your iron.

In the "plan" on the right, we begin by cutting off two feet of the 60" wide fleece. Then, cut this piece in half to yield two 24" by 30" pieces. These will be the sleeves. The remainder of the 3 yards of fleece (2 yards, 1 foot by now) will be the blanket part.
We'll begin by working on the sleeves. First, many folks recommend trimming off the selvedge edge from your fleece.

I trimmed the selvedge from both sleeves -- later on, I did the same thing with the blanket part of the project.

I noticed that the selvedge edge tended to curl in the direction of the "right side" of the fleece! Once I trimmed it off, the resulting edge curled in the direction of the "wrong side" of the fleece. Remember that fleece won't fray, so you don't really need to finish any edges if you don't want to.
Next, decide if you want to "shorten" your sleeves or not. They're 30 inches long -- but you want the blanket to be kind of floppy so you can cuddle in it. You might like the long sleeves to tuck your arms inside.

My family has kind of short arms, so I decided to shorten the sleeves by hemming a cuff about 8" inches long in one end of the sleeve. I'm calling it a "cuff", but it's really just a folded in hem -- it's just that I folded it in about 8 inches. You can see it a little better in one of the following pictures.

If you decide to shorten your sleeves with a hem, be sure and check right/wrong side when you do the two sleeves! I say this after having to rip out hems in my first three blankets when I should have known better!

By the way, I left the sleeves long in my first blanket. That's why I decided I liked the shorter sleeves better. You can always leave them long, then come back and cuff them later.

To sew the cuff, just fold over the necessary length and straight stitch. I made mine about 8 inches deep.
After hemming both sleeves (or not hemming!), fold each sleeve in half lengthwise to make a tube. Lay a straight stitch down the length of the sleeve to close the tube.

Be sure that the raw edge of the cuff is on the same side of the tube as the raw edge of the tube join. That sounds meaningful, but I don't know if there's such a term as "tube join"! Just make sure that the raw edges are all on the outside (or all on the inside). Again, I say this after having to rip out and redo a few.
Close both sleeve tubes. At this point, you're done with the sleeves!

Note how you can see the 8 inch "cuffs" on the left side of the sleeves -- the patterns a little darker here because the sleeves are currently inside out; that means the folded in 8 inches is actually part of the "right" side that's folded towards the inside.

Set the sleeves aside -- we're going to have to cut some holes in the remaining piece of fleece for the sleeves.

By the way -- totally unrelated point: The pictures show this as a blue-patterned print. It's actually a purple print -- the photos have converted it to blue somehow!
If you refer back to the "plan" up top, we're going to cut two ovals. Each is about 9 inches tall and six inches wide. The top of the oval will be about 14 inches from the top of the blanket. The ovals are centered on the 60" width about 22 inches from each other.

Or, if you fold the fleece in half lengthwise, just cut a single oval all the way through the fleece about 11 inches from the fold line.

Be sure you measure from the edge of the hole, not the middle of the hole! I simply "eyeballed" my oval -- 9 inches high, six inches wide. Once I cut the ovals on my first blanket, I just use them as templates on the others I've done.
Insert a sleeve end into the oval hole. Again, watch right/wrong side very carefully; you want all seam edges on the inside of the blanket. Again, I ended out ripping and redoing several times before I got it right.

Pin the sleeve to the blanket; leave the seam edge of the sleeve tube towards the bottom of the blanket. You'll have some extra blanket on the top of the oval -- ease this part in.

Next, attach the tube by sewing a straight stitch around the sleeve/blanket edge.
When you're finished attaching your first sleeve, it'll look a little like this!

Next, do the same thing with the second sleeve. Again, watch the wrong/right side thing!

And that's it -- you've just finished your "Slanket"! You can finish the seams if you want -- but you don't have to. You can finish the edges if you want -- but you could also leave them raw. You might also "pink" or fringe the edge.
And here's the finished project again. You lay the blanket on top of you like any other blanket -- but you can then stick your arms through the sleeves for some utility without having to uncover! You can keep warm while you click the TV remote, or have a cup of tea, or even pet the cat who's sneaking up to jump on your lap! You can kind of see how I fringed the bottom of the blanket.

And how did the Maximatic do? Well, it's really a pleasure to sew with -- once you get the tension resolved. It's a very attractive machine ... there's just something about Italian syling; they make things look fast while they're standing still.

I'd be comfortable using this machine (or the Multi) as an everyday machine. Parts may be an issue at some point -- they were never that popular in the States. But, for some unfathomable reason, prices tend to be low when you find one. If you've got a thing for this Necchi, then why not keep your eyes open and pick up a second one for parts?

I'd put this machine in the "keeper" pile.


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