Nesting Series 1: Tutorial - Flannel Receiving Blankets

One of the BEST things for a newborn is a receiving or swaddling blanket. WHY? Most newborns -- I say most because not all fall into this category -- LOVE to be swaddled all day and night. 

My daughter was swaddled until she could roll over. She was pretty sneaky though... we would swaddle her nice and tight at bedtime and when she woke up for a night time feeding she would have one of both arms free. We called her "mini houdini". 

My son wasn't always keen on being swaddled. We kept him bundled up at night but he liked to wiggle -- and hasn't really stopped since! I would use his receiving blankets as on-the-go blankets, sun shields, and nursing covers. They are small enough and light-weight enough to throw in the diaper bag and pull out when needed. 

I have had a lot of fun getting some x-large swaddling/receiving blankets ready for my little girls arrival in about 13 weeks. I used to sell these in my Etsy shop and at craft fairs, but now I mostly give them away to friends who are having babies! My friends LOVE these receiving blankets because they are at least 10" larger on both sides than store bought flannel receiving blankets -- making them perfect for bigger babies, or ones who like to be swaddled for a l-o-n-g time! 

My tutorial is for making serged receiving blankets -- with a serger of course

First of all... if you like to sew and DON"T have a serger yet... put it on your Mother's Day or Birthday list! I cashed in some credit card points for a gift card to Wal-Mart to get mine a while back.. and I haven't regretted it one bit! I have a Brother 1040D. Once you figure out how to use your serger you will seriously want to SERGE EVERYTHING!! 

1-1/4 yd of snuggle flannel
serger and thread
rotary cutter, ruler and mat

Normally I say to wash and iron all of your fabric before starting. NOT in this case. It's so much easier to cut everything before you wash it. Especially if it was wound neatly on the bolt at the store. Most snuggle flannel is 42" wide. You will want to cut your flannel to 42" in length so that you end up with a perfect square. {Before you cut, double check the width of your flannel -- just to be sure it is really 42"}.

Then fold it in half -- take the right side of your rectangle and lay it on the left side. 

Don't worry about cutting off the edge of your fabric with the designers name or print name on it. This will come off when you serge. If you want to cut it off, measure the new width of your fabric and adjust your length measurement so that you will end up with a square. 

**If you don't have a serger, see instructions below on how to finish your edges.

To get those picture perfect rounded corners, I turn to my trusty tools: rotary cutter and a cereal bowl. 

Line up your bowl with the corner of your fabric. I find I can easily cut through all four corners at one time. JUST BE SURE TO CHECK WHERE YOUR CORNERS ARE BEFORE YOU CUT!!!  You don't want to line up your bowl, cut through your layers, and discover that you rounded the center of your blanket -- I did that once! Learned quickly from my mistake.

You can also cut through each corner separately, or two corners at a time. Whatever you are most comfortable with. 

Just for fun... here's a view of my preggo belly as I sit on the floor and cut fabric. I am begging and pleading with my hubby to build me a workbench. In another month or so I will end up stranded on the floor until he gets home from work to help me up! 

Our plans for a workbench/workcenter/homework station/fabric storage area is in the works... I am SOOO hoping for it sooner rather than later! 

Now... time to wash and dry your fabric. Once it's done take it out of the dryer immediately... otherwise you will have to iron before you can serge it. {I'm always looking to make things a little easier!}

Here's a look at my serger settings when I make my receiving blankets. All sergers are a little different. I always test serge on a scrap of fabric that is the same as what I will be doing to make sure my settings are just right. 

I usually zip through the straight sides of my blankets.. but GO SLOW around the corners. If you don't they won't lay flat. 

When it comes time to meet back up with where you started here's what I do. {I don't know if it's the right way or not, but it's the way I do it!}

I overlap the beginning and ending serges {don't know if that's the right term or not} then gently pull my fabric out of the feeder foot and needles and just trim off the excess thread. 

Lastly, pull off or trim any loose threads and steam iron all the way around your blanket. You will want your iron set on the highest steam setting for cotton fabric. This helps to set the serging stitches. 

Now make a few more to give away!! When the flannel goes on sale at JoAnn's I usually buy a bunch. Then I am ready for future baby showers! 

These three are for me and my new bundle to come! 

If you are giving them away, use some simple baker's twine and a cute embellished tag and your gift is ready to go! For girls, I like to include a matching flower clip and headband with my receiving blanket gifts. 

** If you DON'T have a serger yet.. I suggest making the following alterations to the tutorial.

Unless you are an expert seamstress -- and really if you are you wouldn't need my tutorial -- I suggest you keep your corners square. 

After washing and drying your fabric, you will want to heat up your iron and make sure that your flannel is nice, smooth, and flat. 

Then fold over each side about 1/4" inch and press in place. Then go back and fold it over another 1/2" and press. Straight stitch this fold in place as close to the edge of your fold as you can. Be sure to line up your corners so that they are nice and straight. Back stitch at the beginning and end of your stitching to secure everything then steam iron your stitches to set them. 

The sides of your receiving blanket will be a little thicker and your blanket will be a tad smaller than if you serge it, but it will still be 10" or more larger than most store bought flannel receiving blankets. 


This is the first in a series of nesting tutorials. On tap are nursery curtains, changing pad covers, boppy pillow covers, nursing cover, car seat shade cover, and anything and everything else I can think of. If you have a suggestion, please comment with it and I'll see if I can do it! 


  1. I am so excited for the rest of the series! I am 30wks preggo and learning to sew... so this is perfect for me. Thanks:)

  2. Thanks for hosting! I am a new follower as well. Stop by and join my Mom's MOnday Mingle Blog Hop today!

  3. Thanks for this! Did you use both needles for this or just one?

  4. Thank you so much for the size recommendation! I'm just starting to make some receiving blankets for my baby I'm expecting this summer and am happy to hear that bigger is better. Luckily for me I have a serger and a large stack of flannel that are all cut to 1 1/4 yards so I'm all set.


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