Do it Yourself Mama: Ribbon Tag Blanket

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This DIY sewing project upcycles clothes you already have into a new toy for your little one.

When I was little, my mom taught me how to sew. Since then, I have made many different items with fabric, but one of my favorite things to do is upcycle fabrics we already have into something new.

This DIY ribbon tag blanket tutorial upcycles jersey and flannel from worn out (or too small) clothes that are already languishing in your closet.

A few tips before you start:

  • In this project, the more textures you have, the better! I included ribbons of various widths, textures, and materials, along with actual tags from one of my nursing tops. Also, when I cut my t-shirt squares, I selected a section of shirt that had not only a word printed but also had some embroidery.
  • Sewing with jersey fabric can be difficult because it can stretch and slip and slide. There are two ways to combat this: by using a walking foot on your machine OR by pinning, pinning, pinning! In this tutorial, I do both.

What you need:

  • A soft t-shirt (or jersey fabric)
  • Soft flannel pants (or flannel fabric)
  • Various tags (at least 2.5 inches long) and ribbon scraps (at least 4 inches long) – 16 pieces is a good number for this
  • Scissors and/or rotary cutter
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine (*You could do this project sewing by hand, but it would take decidedly longer!)

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Step 1: Cut (2) 9 ½ inch squares from your t-shirt and (2) 9 ½ inch squares from your flannel pants.

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Step 2: Layer your squares in this order: flannel (face up), t-shirt (face up), and flannel (face up.) Save your second t-shirt square for later.

Step 3: Begin pinning your ribbons onto your fabric stack. Fold each ribbon in half, leaving the tails sticking out. There should be at least 2 inches of each ribbon (or tag) laying on the flannel.

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Leave one ribbon/tag off and leave a space.

This is what your ribbon tag blanket looks like now:

sewing, DIY, crafts

Step 4: Place your second t-shirt square (face down) on top of the fabric stack. Pin between the ribbons, leaving a space to turn your project. My mom taught me to double pin on either side of the space – this serves as a reminder to start/stop sewing.

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Here’s what it looks like when you’re finished with pinning:

sewing, DIY, crafts

Step 5: Sew (from double pin to double pin) at ⅜ inch and again at ¼ inch, removing the pins as you go. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end, if you’re using a sewing machine.

sewing, DIY, crafts

Step 6: Using scissors or a rotary cutter, trim all of the ribbons and tags back to ½ inch or so.

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Here’s what your ribbon tag blanket looks like after trimming:

sewing, DIY, crafts

Step 7: Turn your project right-side out. Place the last ribbon and pin the opening closed.

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Step 8: Top-stitch your project at ¼ inch and ⅛ inch.

Here’s the final product:

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Now, your little one has a new toy! You can play around with the dimensions of the materials to make smaller or larger tag blankets, and you could even add more textures by using tags made from tweed tape or other washable materials. You can also make your blanket “crinkly” by adding a layer of crinkle paper. You can purchase crinkle paper online, or DIY it by using a flattened baby wipe package. Just keep in mind that you won’t want to toss it in the dryer if it’s got that crinkle layer in the middle.

sewing, DIY, crafts
My son checking out his new toy

What kinds of things have you upcycled for your little ones?


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