Reading Blanket Tutorial

How to Sew a Reading Blanket

Yeah! Counting hanging chads, I got 10 votes for a tutorial how to sew the sleeved reading blanket that I had made. The reason why I asked my readers to weight in is that I want to blog about things that my regular readers would enjoy. I know some of my free patterns and tutorial get a lot of views. It’s people who come to the site, grab the pattern and leave. That’s a great amount of traffic that will has crash my site now that I’m on a cheaper hosting and made it worse for my regular readers. Since I don’t have advertising or affiliate links on the site, extra traffic does not benefit me. And in all fairness since the blog doesn’t make money, I can’t afford to spend more on hosting for random strangers who are just looking for free stuff. Sorry that got a bit ranty. Let’s get to the tutorial…

Instructions and diagram on how to sew a reading blanket are below.

Reading Blanket Instructions

** Don’t attempt to use this diagram ** It’s just plain wrong **

What? You don’t understand that? Neither do I. Ha! I had made so many changes, especially, with the cuffs I’ll have to reverse engineer the pattern.

Supplies

  • 2.5 yards of fleece 59″ width. Solid or non-directional prints like the donut one I used is recommended.

Donut Fleece Print

  • thread
  • machine that can do a zig zag stitch.
  • armhole template

armhole template download button

 

Cut Pattern Pieces

  • Cut a 49″ x 64″ rectangle. This will be the body of the blanket.
  • Cut two rectangles 23″ x 24 5/8″. These will be the sleeve. Mark the 23″ edges with pins or tailor tacks.
  • Cut two rectangles 9″ x 24 5/8″. These will be the cuffs.

Cutting diagram

  • From the body rectangle. Cut two 7″ circles for the armholes. The holes are 17″ apart. This will leave 16.5″ from the outer edge of the hole to the edge of the fabric.

Cut Armholes

 

  • The best way to do this is to fold the body piece in half (see dotted line in diagram above). Mark the center with a pin. From the pin measure out 8.5″ and place your armhole template. Double check that your measurements match the diagram above before cutting.

Armhole Cut Out

Body Construction

  • Hem the sides of the body piece with a 1″ hem. I folded over 1″ and did a zig zag with a 4 width and 4 length.
  • Hem the top and bottom with a 3″ hem.

Hem Body

  • I hem from the wrong side so I can see that I’m catching the hem. Nothing is worse than unpicking on fleece fabric.

Hemming fleece

  • Here’s the finished hem. There are cleaner ways to finish the hem but I choose the quick and dirty method.

Hem

 

  • Sew up the sleeves. Remember the pins I had you put in? You want to sew the 2 edges with the pins together to form a tube. This tube will be your sleeves. I used the same zig zag stitch and sewed using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Sleeve Construction

  • Set in the sleeves. You want to match the seam of the sleeve with the inside edge of the hole.

Sleeve placement

  • Sewing the cuff is a bit complicated if you haven’t done it before. I recommend looking up a few videos on YouTube for sewing a thumb hole sleeve to help make it more clear.
  • First you need fold the cuff in half (see diagram below).

Cuff 1

  • Mark the cuff edge at 1″, 2 3/4″, 1.5″, 2 3/4″ and 1″ with pins. Pin each layer separately. Do not pin them together.

Cuff 1a

  • Sew rights side together between the 1.5″ section in the middle.

Cuff 2

  • This is where thing get tricky. Rotate the cuff 90 degrees. Open up the cuff into a “X” or butterfly shape.

Cuff 3

  • Grab the top “wings” and put them right sides together.

Cuff 4

  • Sew from the end of the previous stitching to the pin.

Cuff 5

  • Repeat for bottom “wings”.
  • Next you want to open up the remaining little flaps and put right sides together. Sew from where the previous stitching stopped to the edge of the fabric.

Cuff 6

  • Repeat for the other little flap.
  • Turn the cuff inside out. You should have a cuff with a slit in the seam for your thumb.
  • Repeat for the other cuff.
  • Sew the cuff to the sleeve matching up the seams. I put right sides together and zig zagged together. There are cleaner methods of finishing this seam. I like the quick and dirty method.

Cuff 7

 

Congratulations!

You made yourself or someone you love a reading blanket. Say “good bye” to cold arms. If you spot any errors, please let me know in the comments so others can be alerted. If you made a blanket send me a pic. I love seeing that people are actually sewing my tutorials and patterns. Don’t be that random person who comes for the free stuff and leaves.

Finished Reading Blanket

 

Other Design Feature Ideas

  • I have thought about making a small pocket for a book, reader or remote control (for those who watch TV instead of reading). This would make the blanket go on in only one direction so I wasn’t sure about adding it. If you’re interested, e-mail me and I’ll attempt to describe to you my idea on how to make the pocket 2 directional. detectivehoundstooth at gmail dot com.
  • Mcathur on Pattern Review suggested adding an LED light to the collar. It’s a great idea. I just have no idea how to execute it. You’re on your own.
  • You can also make this a longer length i.e. Snuggie type of blanket for lounging on the couch or other places where you don’t have a blanket.
  • Obviously the best design feature is using all the great fleece prints available. There is a fleece for everyone, from John Deere tractors to Hello Kitty. I could see these making great holiday gifts for book worms, TV buffs, knitters, hospital patients… I spent about $20 in fabric so it’s pretty inexpensive, though time consuming so make sure the recipient is worthy of your precious sewing time.

 

Happy reading blanket sewing,

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Reading Blanket

It’s Finally California Cold

Here’s in Southern CA it was hot through October. Hot as in shorts weather with temperatures in 80/90s in the days. Finally in November we’re getting some cooler weather. Nights have been particularly cold here, dropping into the mid-low 40s. In the day time I’m bundled up. At night I can’t sleep with long sleeves or pants because my clothes will strangle me from my constant turning. Instead I hide under 3 layers of blankets. The problem is the time that I’m reading in bed. My bare arms are totally exposed to the cold. 🙁

Reading with Exposed Arms

The Reading Blanket is Invented

I have a sleeved blanket but the length just adds a 4th layer and I get too hot. I thought to myself if only there was a short version that only cover the exposed limbs. Yup, you guessed it. I sewed up this little idea. Couldn’t resist the donut print fleece.

Reading with Arms Covered

But wait! There’s more!! I improved on it by adding a thumb hole so that the sleeve doesn’t slide down your arm if you’re laying flat.

Reading Blanket with Thumb Hole

I tested several different methods and this one was the best. It’s secure and doesn’t add too much bulk that would make it difficult to hold a book or restrict your fingers for page turning. The problem is that the sleeves are pretty wide and lets a cold air in. I simply close up the open space and the fleece clings to itself a bit and keeps it close. Maybe on my next version I’ll taper in the sleeves at the cuff.

The last surprise benefit is that this reading blanket can be used right side up or upside down. If you can get both arms in you’re good to go. I had planned on adding a pocket in the middle for a small book or reader but that would make it one-directional. I do have a pocket design that can be used right side up or upside down but I haven’t experimented with it yet. And I’m also concerned that I’ll wash the reading blanket with a book or reader in the pocket. That would be a disaster.

Reading Blanket

Let me know in the comments if anyone is interested in a tutorial on how to make one. If I get at least 10 votes for a tutorial I’ll write it up.

Link to my Pattern Review.

Edited to add link to the tutorial.

Happy sewing reading,

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