Last Sunday was my husband’s birthday and we decided to have a low-key celebration in our backyard (seeing as I am full-term and ready to pop). It is amazing to see how different our parties have gotten in the past year. Most of our friends are having babies and there were 4 little ones at this shindig. I felt a little bad for my “inside baby”, because he was missing out on all the fun!
One of the dads was holding his baby and had the receiving blanket draped across the little guy’s back for warmth as the evening grew cool. My husband said, “There should be a baby blanket that looks like a Superman Cape!” and although I’m sure he forgot about it as soon as he said it, my creative, nesting mind started churning.
I honestly couldn’t decide if I should make the blanket as a classic red cape, with yellow and red emblem, or do a blue blanket with a red and yellow emblem (which I thought would look better, but I am a stickler for authenticity and I knew it wouldn’t REALLY be THE Superman cape). I decided to combine both ideas and make it reversible. That way the stitching where the applique is sewn to the blanket would be concealed.
I bought 1 yard each of red and blue flannel from Jo-Ann’s and two rectangles of recycled plastic felt in red and yellow, so this project cost me about $6.50 (with coupons). I cut the flannel to match the size of a receiving blanket I already own and I rounded the corners using a canister of sugar as a guide (yes, I need a curved ruler).
The classic Superman shield was easy to lay out. I simply printed one out from an image search on the internet and then traced it onto “Lite Steam a Seam”
I was not happy with how see-through the yellow felt was, when placed on the red flannel, so I added a white cotton backing. This also acted as a great stabilizer when I appliqued the red and yellow felt together.
Here is a wonderful tutorial on sewing an applique at “Sew, Mama, Sew”. Of course, Elizabeth at “Oh Fransson” wrote this detailed tutorial. This was how I learned to do the applique on my baby blanket and it was SO easy, even though I was quite intimidated to get started. I will just say that Lite Steam a Seam, and Sewer’s Aid are you friend! Also using the buttonhole stitch around the applique is ingenious.
The “Liam” shield was a little trickier, since I had to design it. I thought of simply using an “L”, but it looked funny and didn’t fill the space within the shield well. I ended up designing a shield in Photoshop, printing it out and sewing it the same way as the “S” shield. You can also draw it by hand or use your design program of choice to layout the shield. There are even talented super-fans out there who will design one for you.
Appliqueing the shield using the buttonhole setting:
There are actually 5 layers going on here: White Kona Cotton, Lite Steam a Seam, yellow felt, Lite Steam a Seam, and red felt. I would highly suggest the Lite Steam a Seam, since it adds no bulk. This will keep your applique as soft as possible.
Close-up of stitching. The zig-zag is quite narrow and I just grazed the edge of the red felt.
Sewing the applique to the flannel.
Once the applique was assembled, I cut the white cotton down to about 1/8″ smaller than the outer edge of the shield. MORE Steam a Seam was applied to the back of the applique to attach it to the flannel while I sewed it on. I did not use pins on the applique at all during this entire process.
After the appliques were sewn to the flannel, I laid the two pieces of flannel with right sides together and stitched around them, leaving a 6″ opening in the bottom for turning. I want to note that the blankets are also upside down from each other, so that the appliques do not fall on top of each other, creating extra bulk (does that make sense?). Once sewn, I trimmed the seam allowances to 1/4″, pressed the seams open over a pressing ham, and turned and pressed flat. The 6″ opening is hand stitched closed.
I am hoping the baby can also use the blanket as a costume when he is a little older. I can attach velcro to the corners and he will be set to be a superhero!