Before the twins were born I was on strict bedrest…for about ten thousand years. Pure torture by boredom. For part of the day M would let me sit up and during my “sitting time” (as opposed to my laying time – and there was zero walking or standing time) I would get to sew, draw, paint, whatever task I could do as long as I was sitting.
Here’s one of my favorite projects, I hope you like it!
When I first read the tutorial on MADE (how to sew your own muslin/gauze swaddle blankets) I wondered if it would be possible to use stamps and an ink pad to “print” on the fabric. The beauty of stamped ink is it has a softer feel than most fabric paints. It is also semi transparent so it gives it an airy, artsy vibe. The bummer about stamped inks is sometimes they are only permanent when they get on your clothes by accident. I’m not sure why this is – but it seems to be a universal law. I made about 10 of these blankets and the ones that I stamped with Hero Arts Shadow Inks seemed to work the best. They faded to just the right color and I heat set them in my dryer. The ones I heat set with an iron and my dryer were a different brand are barely visible after washing.
Buy gauze fabric – the same fabric that you see on those popular muslin blankets are made out of gauze. They call it muslin in other countries like Australia. Here, muslin is something else. At Joann’s gauze comes at 44″. Wash and iron your fabric, then cut it to 44×44″ squares – I say roughly because these things don’t have to be perfect the fabric is so wrinkly that there is a lot of room for error.
Sew all the edges under 1/4″. On MADE she says to iron all the edges. I didn’t do this, later on she says she rolled the seems under – this worked great. Do it that way. Once you have all your edges sewn it’s time to start stamping!
Get out your stamps and ink pads and use a scrap piece of fabric to test them out. Make sure you place a piece of cardboard or newspaper under your fabric so you don’t ruin whatever surface you are stamping on.
Iron your scrap and throw it in the washer. This step is optional. I didn’t do it and I’m happy with how mine turned out. But, if you have extra time on your hands or are planning on selling or giving this away you may want to know the final product first. To be honest, I stamped, waited 24 hours for the ink to dry, and then I threw them into the dryer on the highest and longest setting x 2. Then I washed/dried them. And by them I mean the actual blankets, not the scrap.
Stamp your blankets. For two of my blankets I chose a feather stamp. I placed it very randomly and you can see that on the navy feather blanket the feathers are closer together than the peach feathers. I think both ways look great : )
Make sure you stamp on the edge of the fabric and let your stamp hang off the edge – this makes the pattern look more natural and gives a better final product.
Pop the blanket into the dryer for two rounds on the highest setting.
And this is a tough one! Hang it up, lay it flat, do whatever you need to do but leave it alone for at least 24 hours. Letting it sit really lets the stain take hold and helps cure the ink. Let it sit up to a week if you like. Then wash and dry it for use.
Note: if you happen to have a t-shirt press then just heat it up to 350° F and spend 2 minutes on each press until you’ve pressed the entire blanket. Mine is sitting in my parent’s garage an hour and a half drive away…since driving wasn’t part of my bed rest (or ironing forever) my dryer did the trick.
The beauty of this project is you are only limited by your imagination. You don’t have to just stamp these sweet little swaddle blankets. You can stamp many other things like bibs or even a favorite t-shirt. You also can make your own stamps out of potatoes or foam or whatever your mind thinks up.