Dyed & Personalized Swaddle Blankets w/Tutorial

I really wish I would’ve known (or thought of) gauze swaddle blankets. Lillian was almost 10 pounds, so she didn’t really fit in a store-bought swaddle blanket, and she never liked them much (probably because she didn’t fit) and always broke out. My friend is having a little boy in April; her shower was yesterday, so I’ve been antsy to show these off!


I found the tutorial on how to make the gauzey swaddle blankets from Dana Made It, and let me tell you, I will make a zillion of these. A definite personalized adorable shower gift, for sure.

I knew I wanted a lime green and blue set of blankets, so I decided to dye my own white gauze because there was none in the store, and I didn’t want to order any online. What? I’m impatient.

Here’s the tutorial on how to dye fabric:

Supplies:
RIT dye
white cotton gauze (1 1/4 yards per blanket)
washing machine

Step 1: Pick a color.
You’ll want to check out the ColoRit Color Formula Chart and pick out your colors. I wanted a lime green and bright blue pair, so I opted for #243 and #602, found in the Green 3 and Blue sections of the chart. I typically use the liquid for dying, just because it’s easier to store, but I opted for the powder this time because the store had none of the liquid (go figure).

In the chart, they’ll give you the recipe and color dye(s) you’ll need. I needed Teal, Lemon Yellow, and Royal Blue.

Step 2: Get your fabric.
I made 2 blankets, each requiring 1 1/4 yards, so I got 2 1/2 yards at Joann’s (don’t forget your 40% coupons!). Some fabric shops have tons of colors, the local Joann’s always just seems to have white, brown, black, and a beige color.

Step 3: Commit to the washing machine.

I’ve always used our washing machine to dye because it’s incredibly convenient and practically no mess. It provides the perfect amount of space, agitation and temperature water for the amount of fabric for this project. Here are super detailed directions from RIT about dying in the washer. I’ve never had an issue with the dye staining the machine or anything strange happening, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. A rinse cycle w/bleach afterward is your friend.

Of course, if you choose to go with a different method (which you can find here), the rest of the directions and recipes are generally the same, unless you’re going with a drastically smaller amount of fabric and water.

Step 4: Get your recipe(s). Then multiply.
Original Recipes:
#243 Lime Green:

1 Tablespoon Lemon Yellow
1/4 Teaspoon Teal

#602 Olympian Blue:
1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoons Royal Blue

Since we’re going with the washer on the smallest load setting, I only multiplied by 2. That’s because the weight of the fabric is quite light. If you’re doing 3+ yards (or a heavier fabric), you’ll want to multiply by 4, 8, or 16 and adjust the washer setting accordingly. If that’s the case, you can also choose to follow this chart. 

Multiplied Recipes:
#243 Lime Green:

2 Tablespoons Lemon Yellow
1/2 Teaspoon Teal

#602 Olympian Blue:
3 Tablespoons Royal Blue (Confession: I only used 2 Tablespoons, because I thought I had another packet, which I didn’t. I decided to just let it soak a little longer for a brighter color.)  

Step 5: Dye It
*Because of the washing/drying process, I don’t want a wonky shaped blanket with lots of frayed edges, and off-color threads, so I’m dyeing first, sewing second. *

– Fill your washer with hot water. Set your washer on the extended wash cycle, use hot water, and the smallest load setting.

– Dissolve your powder in 2 cups hot water.

– Add the dissolved dye to the washer and mix it up.

– Wet the fabric in hot water and wring it out before adding it into the dye bath.

– Put your fabric into the dye, making sure it’s all under the water.

– Close the lid and start your wash cycle. The color will get darker the longer you leave it in the water, so if a 20-30 minute cycle isn’t giving you the color you want, just reset the cycle and check on it as you go. Usually, mine is good to go in the single cycle. This one, because I only had 1 packet of the dye, I let it run for an extra 10 minutes.

After a 20 minute cycle.

See?

After an extra 10 minutes, 30 minutes total.

Step 6: Rinse It
I let my cycle complete and rinse, then go back and set it to rinse again, until the water runs clear. Usually mine takes once or twice. If you don’t want to use the rinse cycle, you can just rinse with cool water in the utility sink until it’s clear.

Step 7: Wash & Dry
I gently wash the rinsed fabric in one normal wash cycle, just to get the excess dye out of the fabric. After this full wash cycle (don’t forget to adjust your settings back to your original settings. I always forget.), you can either hang your fabric to dry or toss it in the dryer. I air-fluffed mine to keep the wrinkly softness.

Step 8: Clean Machine
As you dry your fabric, you’ll want to rinse and clean the washing machine to get all the dye out. I fill the washer on the highest load setting and use cold water, with bleach and laundry soap. Just one regular cycle should do it!

After the fabric is dry, you’re ready to sew the swaddle.

This is where the original tutorial from Dana comes in.
Again, here’s the original link from Dana Made It.
I folded and ironed my square because it was laying a little goofy. The next set I make, I’m thinking of just overlocking the edges instead, but I like the finished look of these and I’m not entirely sure what the fray-factor will be with just a serger. Anyone, anyone?

I chose to use Heat-N-Bond to make iron on decals, instead of sewing them on because I didn’t want the threads to show. If it’s on my own blanket, I probably wouldn’t care too much. So do what you like!  I chose an “e” for his first name and an anchor because I love them, and it’s adorable. She and her family also vacation on the St. Lawrence River and do boating and water activities, so it totally fits. The iron on’s are done in black jersey, by the way. If you go the Heat-N-Bond route, you’ll want to wash them in cool water and either air dry or use a cool setting because over time, the adhesive will loosen up.

Here are the pair of finished swaddles! I totally love them. So much.

I have a shortage of swaddle-able babies, so Lilly’s sock monkey offered to stand in. Just imagine a super cute wrinkly baby instead.

Our second child is due this June and two of my other girlfriends are also due this summer (don’t drink the water. It HAS to be poison), so get yourself ready for more blanket posts!!

This project is linked to…

     

10 Comments

  1. Hi Chrissy, my friend was so excited to see them at her shower, and her first son was a 10-pounder, so I'm thinking this second one will be too, so I know he'll fit in them & they feel so cozy! Perfect for a summer kiddo.

    Thanks for the invite to share – I definitely will be stopping by!!
    Best-
    Kim

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