We have loved using the muslin baby swaddle blankets for the girls. They are stretchy and breathable as swaddles and so versatile. They are actually made from gauze fabric, not muslin. There are so many cute swaddle blankets on the market now – but I wanted to try and make some myself for a fraction of the cost. I went to my local San Francisco fabric warehouse and found some fabulous solid color gauze. I was aiming to add some details and design to the solid fabric, so I used a bleach pen to create my own unique patterns.
Read more for the full tutorial.
1. Cut the fabric to 44 in by 44 in. You want to have a square of fabric for a swaddle blanket. Wash and iron the fabric.
2. Prep fabric for a finished hem. The gauze I purchased had a nice finished selvage edge so I only had to hem the top and bottom. Press and fold over the edge twice to set your hem. I only pinned a quarter way across as it was just as easy to feed it through the sewing machine.
3. Sew the hem on the unfinished edges.
4. Lay out sheets of freezer paper on kitchen floor. Tape down the fabric on top of the freezer paper.
– Practice your design – I drew leaves, arrows and a henna tattoo inspired design.
– Using bleach pen, draw your design directly onto the fabric. You do not need a thick amount of bleach gel – a little goes a long way. Try not to get bubbles in the bleach design.
– You want to do it quickly as the bleach starts working immediately. Since you are working with thin fabric, leave the bleach on the fabric for no more than 10 minutes. I recommend having a good amount of space in your design.
– You are working with bleach – wear old clothes and rubber gloves, have good ventilation and make sure your kids are not helping you with this project.
7. Rinse the blanket under cold water. Be careful not to ball the fabric up in the sink as the bleach can leave marks all over the blanket (when I make more, I will hose the bleach pen designs off the fabric outside).
8. After bleach has washed off, soak the blanket in a mixture of white vinegar and water to neutralize the bleach. I used 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water. I let the blanket sit in this mixture for 15 minutes. I then washed the blankets many times to get rid of the bleach smell!
All photos by Sara Albers for alice & lois, all rights reserved.
Enjoy this project! I would love to see pictures of your designs!