DIY Craft: Travel Blanket
This lightweight blanket takes up as little space as possible and can be folded flat to fit into your luggage or rolled up in your handbag or pet carrier. The blanket pictured is 100 percent cotton in a floral print with a soft, comfy fleece for the backing. A printed cotton fabric contrasts well with a plain, cushioned backing fabric like fleece, but you can use any washable fabric of your choice.
Scissors for paper and fabric
Patterned cotton fabric for the top panel
Fleece fabric for the backing
Sewing machine and thread
Double-fold bias tape in a matching colour [see sidebar for buying tip]
Cutting Out the Fabric
Decide how long you would like your blanket to be. Do this by cutting a large piece of pattern paper, sitting your dog in the middle, and drawing a rectangle 6 to 8 inches (15–20cm) away from his body all the way around. Your dog should have enough space to lie down on his side. As a guide, my blanket sizes are as follows: small, 24” x 20” (60 x 50 cm); medium, 40” x 24” (100 x 60 cm); large, 48” x 40” (120 x 100 cm). Cut a paper pattern to your chosen size, fold it in half [crosswise], then in half again [crosswise], then draw a curve [in the outside corner] so that when you open out the paper you will have a rectangle with four evenly curved corners. Use the pattern to cut out a top and bottom panel in patterned cotton fabric and fleece. Cut a 1 3/4” x 36” (4 x 90 cm) strip of each fabric for the strap.
Making Up the Blanket
Place the top and bottom panels together with the wrong sides facing, and pin them in place. Machine-stitch the two fabrics together, keeping as close to the edge as possible so that the stitching will not show outside the bias-tape edging (see Fig. 1).
Once the two panels have been sewn together, pin the double-fold bias tape all the way around the edge of the blanket, encasing the raw edges. Start in the center of the one side of the blanket, and ease the bias tape around the curved corners. Leave enough hem allowance to overlap the edges at the join before you cut the bias tape. Machine-stitch all the way around, sewing as close to the edge of the bias tape as possible, but making sure that you catch both sides of the bias tape within the line of stitching (see Fig 2).
Making Up the Strap
Roll up your blanket and check that the tie will be the correct length. Trim it if necessary, and cut curves around the corners of the ends to make it easier to attach the bias tape. Pin the cotton and fleece strips together with wrong sides facing, and machine-stitch all the way around. Pin bias tape around the edge of the strap, easing it around the corners and machine-stitching it close to the edge.
Attaching the Strap to the Blanket
Lay the blanket right [cotton] side up. Measure about 4 1/2” (11 cm) from the corner along one short edge, and mark this position with a pin. Fold the strap in half [crosswise] to find the center point [of its length], and mark this with a pin. Pin the strap right [cotton] side up on to the blanket at the marked points, making sure it is perpendicular to the edge of the blanket (see Fig. 3). Machine-stitch across the strap, matching the stitch line attaching the bias tape underneath.