Snuggle up, furfriends! This post continues from where we showed the prep work for a custom fleece blanket that can be used as a ridiculously easy no-sew blanket or fancied up with layers, edging, binding, or other trim. DIY fleece blankets with bound edges are an easy sewing project. We’ve adding a homemade microfiber quick-dry binding to the edge of our blankets for an attractive, cosy, easy-care finish. Check out the DIY details!
Why Make Homemade Blankets for Dogs?
Why did I decide to make blankets for our dogs? Well, they’re big boys so many pet blankets are too small but people blankets are bigger than needed. Bigger is fine of course, but it also means more to wash and dry and requires buying more blankets for the same availability. So why not resize a ready-made blanket into multiple dog blankets or make some from other materials? Plus, crafting is fun!
Creating your own blankies or other pet supplies also lets you customise the look, style, and features (not just the size, as above). You can be a cute, quirky, or refined as you please! In a dog-crazy home like ours, having some colours that blend helps the place look like less of a blanket covered shambles. Haha! I’ve also used materials that will wash easily and dry quickly so that blankets can be cleaned often and quickly rotated back into use. I line dry all of our laundry, so quick-dry is definitely a bonus!
Experimenting, Practising and Improving Crafting Skills
Pet projects are awesome for practising and/or trying new techniques as they won’t care if you make a few mistakes or things look a less than perfect! Practising binding application on small projects, like these basic blankets, is a great way to learn or refine sewing skills. I’ve been finding these projects great for adapting and improving my sewing recently. Since we have some very special DIYs in upcoming prepped posts that involve binding, now is a great time to share a few starter projects.
Tip: If you’re new to bindings and know more about different types, ready-made vs. homemade, materials, and more, hop over to our special introduction post for a full post about understanding, making, and using binding tapes.
Material Selection and Design Factors
Blanket and Binding Materials
Between senior dog Oli’s light bladder leakage issues (the subject of a some very special posts coming soon), general dog life, and my preference for air drying, quick dry blankets are very popular at our place despite being synthetic. In order to keep these polar fleece blankets quick dry, the binding was made with a polyester microfiber instead of a usual cotton or poly-cotton type binding. It’s a little less robust, but has a subtle stretch, a gorgeous silky feel, and dries very quickly.
My binding for this project was homemade (see below) and I used bed sheets instead of by-the-meter fabric. You can use ready-made binding instead, of course. Ready-made is very convenient and makes bound blankets a super quick and simple sewing project.
The Benefits of Binding
Binding can be a subtle complimentary trim or a loud and proud style statement of its own. For fray-prone materials or in multiple layers (our follow-on layered blankie), casing the raw edge is not just pretty but functional too. For a simple material, like the single layer of no fray fleece the finished edge isn’t as essential, but it will help these blankets hold shape as fleece on its own tends to stretch or deform and befits from the added stability of a finished edge.
Upcycling Sheets into Homemade Binding Tape
Binding takes a little time and patience to make, but is otherwise easy and very economical, especially is using a lot, which I am in my multiple matching projects. I couldn’t find what I wanted in the fabric store, so I bought (on massive sale) some quality microfiber bed sheets and sliced them up instead. The long strips (I didn’t cut on the bias) has the added benefit of requiring far less joining to create a massive length of binding for this and other sewing projects.
Other than some serious quality time with the iron (my big binding is larger than my binding tape maker, so I hand folded), it was easy work. If you’re keen to DIY, I highly recommend giving it a try. You can read all about making binding tape in our previous post.
Making a Fleece Blanket with Bound Edges
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar blanket you will need polar fleece (or other material of your choice), binding tape or material to make binding, suitable thread in a coordinating colour, cutting tools, and a sewing machine. Bindings can be fully hand sewn, but it would be a very long sewing project! Everything can be measured and cut with scissors, but a rotary cutter, matt, and straight edges are handy if you have them. An iron and ironing board (with pressing cloth if needed) are also recommended, if your chosen fabrics allow. Fusible tape is also optional.
- Fleece fabric
- Scissors or rotary cutter and matt
- Straight edge (either as a cutting guide or to mark a guide line)
- Square object (optional to assist with checking corners)
- Measuring tape (optional)
- Double-fold binding tape (or material for making binding)
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
- Iron and ironing board
- Source materials as listed above, or preferred alternatives.
- If appropriate for your chosen fabrics, prewash or preshrink prior to use.
- If using homemade binding tape, make a sufficient length of binding for the project. See our post on making binding tape for information, if needed.
Cutting Fleece for the Blanket Body
- Prepare the fleece by trimming selvage edges, cutting to size (if needed), and ensuring all edges are straight and corners squared. See our post about cutting fleece for blankets for full details on selection and trimming.
Attaching Binding to the Blanket Edges
When machine sewing binding, everyone likes to do things a little differently. Most methods work similarly if your careful with your positioning and sewing. Do what works for you. It often depends on the materials, project, and person. I’ve tried several different application techniques, and confess that I prefer sewing and top-stitching the top/right side. My still developing sewing skills are tidier on the top! We have an intro to binding here on the blog and additional resources are available on our pet craft help Pinterest board.
Positioning and starting the binding:
As noted in our post on making and using binding, my preferences for ends depends on the project. I will usually sew and trim the tails (So Sew Easy has a great visual on this method). For straight binding, I sometimes cheat on the sleeve method and use a little bit of fusible web to “hem” my outer (visible) strip at the joint.
- Select a starting point on the edge of the blanket, ensuring it is far enough away from the corner not to interfere with turning the binding (at least two full unfolded widths at minimum).
- Unfold the end of the binding and position it at the starting point, right sides facing, so that one raw edge aligned with the raw edge of the prepared fleece.
- Depending on your preferred method of joining the ends of the binding when they meet, leave sufficient excess.
- Sew the binding into place along the first fold line, taking care whilst turning corners.
- To turn the corners on the first pass, I like to use the use the fold-and-press method. This will make the binding self-mitre (magic) when opened and folded over to topstitch on the other side.
- Stop sewing at least the unfolded binding’s full width from the corner.
- Remove the item from the machine.
- Fold the tape upwards 90 degrees. Ensure it is in line with the next side (perpendicular to the current side). Iron to press a crease. Unfold.
- Return the item to the machine (same position) and resume sewing.
- At the fold crease, pause sewing. With the needle down, lift the foot and rotate the item towards the corner. Lower the foot and sew along the crease line all the way to the edge.
- Remove the item from the machine.
- Refold the tape upwards 90 degrees. Ensure it is in line with the next side (perpendicular to the current side), then make another fold downwards at the edge. Iron (or pin/pinch) and carefully return the item to the machine, positioned to sew the next edge starting from the folded over edge.
Joining the ends:
- When you have fully sewn around the blanket back to the starting point, join with your preferred method as noted at the start of the DIY project.
Topstitching the binding:
- Trim threads and turn the blanket over.
- Wrap the binding over the edge, carefully topstitch (or other technique, if/as you prefer) the binding into place, taking extra care to ensure the corners are neatly folded on both sides. As I reach a corner, I like to remove my item from the machine, ensure the corner is folded as neatly as possible (checking both sides) before sewing the turn and continuing.
- Trim threads if/as needed.
- Ironing (if fabric allows – don’t iron polar fleece directly as it may melt) and/or washing is optional prior to use.
Ready for More Snuggles?
This is one of several new winter warmer projects that we’ve prepared for upcoming posts. Check out our directory of DIY pet beds and blankets for more ideas for snuggling in comfort and style. We also have some extra special outdoor dog gear coming up, including a DIY cosy fleece winter dog coat and a fully lined DIY dog raincoat for our wild wet winter days. Woofs!