Gauze Swaddle Blankets DIY


I was given an aden + anais swaddle blanket when my daughter was born and really loved the lightweight material.  The makers call it muslin but I have learned that is what it is sometimes called outside the US.  Here, it seems to be called cotton gauze.  It makes a great blanket for hot places like TX so you can wrap your baby up but not overheat them.  Audrey loves the blanket still and likes to sleep with it a lot.  Thankfully, she isn’t a kid who is attached to only one object that she can’t be without, but she really does love her gauzy blanket.

I have been wanting to make some for a long time and even considered making some long ago for my shop…part of the problem was finding the “muslin”….I never could.  Thankfully, once I discovered its other name it was easy to find at most fabric stores.  I got 3 yards at Jo-Ann’s with a coupon.  They usually only have it in white and cream though so I knew I wanted to try my hand at giving it some more flair.

I had seen Dana’s tutorial on MADE for making one which was helpful.  I decided to just use my serger for the edges though so there was no extra bulk from folding over the edges to hem it.  Since I was going to be making two blankets I decided to try my hand at two different techniques.  The first one I had seen in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine back in the February 2001 issue.  (Yes, I still have the page torn out from then in a notebook with other diy ideas…this was WAY before Pinterest.)   I was pretty excited to try it out.  The picture in the magazine showed a curtain they had made by making swirls with mustard on the fabric.  They gave the step by step on how to do it.  So, I went out and bought some mustard and got to work.  It was easy to do (except that my hand hurt for DAYS from squeezing that mustard bottle).  It took me about 20-25 minutes to put swirls all over my blanket.  The directions did say it worked best on silk and wool but I hoped it will still come out ok.  I let it sit for 30 minutes and then washed it off with the sink sprayer like it said to do, except that instead of the mustard just washing off….it dyed the whole thing yellow.  I was so dissappointed.  What was the point of killing my hand with swirls to just dye the thing yellow?  I could have stuck it in a bath of RIT dye if I wanted to do that…and my house wouldn’t have smelled like a hot dog vendor.  Here are a couple pictures of the process.  I am so glad I took photos since it is all I have left of my lovely work.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, to set the mustard, the instructions were to do the heat and chemical ways.  First I immersed the fabric in warm water and vinegar to do the chemical version.  Then I put the fabric in a big zip loc bag and microwaved it for 5 minutes on 50% power (watching to make sure it didn’t scorch).  I line-dried it and then pressed with an iron.  The instructions said that just drying it in a clothes dryer don’t get hot enough to set the dye.

The other method I was going to use was to make a potato stamp and hand stamp an image all over the white background.  I looked online and found this beautiful blanket and then the next day Mer Mag had these.  It was so funny to me that she and I were both wanting to make these blankets for our upccoming babies at the same time.

I really liked how the feather looked on the first blanket so I used the same feather that I had used for my diaper clutch.  I just cut my sweet potato in half, traced the feather on it with a pencil and then carefully cut away at the edges of it.  When I poured the paint I had bought onto the plate I was a bit shocked.  It looked PINK!  From the bottle it looked almost like a happy red orange color and the name of it was crimson red, so I knew that either way it should be gender neutral…but pink, not so much.  I was hoping that it was just the bad kitchen lighting giving it that glow and that also when it dried it would look more red.  So, this was after I had just had my first mess up with the mustard…not a good DIY night.  But I persevered and I really loved the turnout.  And it is a lot more red now that it is dry.  Here’s a picture of the stamp.  See how pink it is?!  (Oh, and that little stick at the end of the feather is a toothpick I used to hold the end on because it broke a bit as I was cutting the feather.  It worked perfectly.)

Here’s the end result…

Because the stamping worked out so well the first time I decided to stamp a design on the yellow blanket with the other half of the potato.  Actually, I did try to make a really cool geometric print first using a piece of cardboard for the stamp but it was looking awful so I stopped partway into that and went back to the potato and made a little star.  I made most of it a teal type color and then added 5 gray stars just to mix things up a bit.  After the paint dried I just cut off the side of the blanket that went wrong and so now instead of a bigger square blanket I now have a rectangular one…but at least it can still be used as a lightweight cover up and my fabric isn’t going to waste.  That poor blanket really tryed its hardest not to be created.

Here is the final product…

After all the painting was finished I serged the edges, which is really fast, and now I have two blankets.  Both had their (sometimes multiple) oops moments but overall I am happy with them.  It seems lately all the projects I have done have had some sort of  “oh, great!” moment in the middle of the project.  Nothing ever seems to come easily.  At least if it is worth while.  I guess that’s kind of like this baby that is almost ready to come.

I went to the Dr. yesterday and got encouraging news that things are starting to get going.  It is the farthest along  I have ever been at this point in a pregnancy and although it could still not mean much, it is comforting to know that at least if I am induced I have gotten a good head start.

8 thoughts on “Gauze Swaddle Blankets DIY”

  1. I honestly can’t believe you are still blogging and crafting!! My prayers and wishes for a fabulous, painless, worry-free delivery. Can’t wait to hear the news, Jocelyn. 🙂

    1. I think it is a combination of the nesting instinct and the realization that baby is coming very soon and I won’t have the energy to do it afterward to make me go in diy overload! Thank you so much for your prayers and wishes, I can definitely use them!! Thankfully, I think I am done with all the diy-ing for now…although I’m still catching up on documenting it. I am still waiting on a couple items for the kids’ room before I photograph it.

    1. Great question! I just reread my post and was surprised that I didn’t give those specifics. For the red feather paint I used soft and matte fabric paint that is tulip brand. It says it can be washed after 72 hours of drying. I can’t remember if I did anything to set it. If it requires setting it the best way to heat set it is to iron it by putting an extra piece of cloth or rag over the image and pressing the iron over the image for 20 seconds. For the turquoise color I wasn’t finding a fabric paint I liked so I went over to the acrylic paint section in the craft store and picked out a color I liked. In that same area they had bottles of textile medium. You mix it with your acrylic paint and it makes it permanent, flexible and washable fabric paint. The brand I got is Delta. The instructions on the bottle say to set it using an iron and to wait on washing it for 7 days after painting. Both paints seemed to work well and felt the same. I liked that I could have more variety of color options by buying the textile medium. I would just read the instructions on whatever you end up using.

      And thanks for your kind words. I really enjoy it when I have the chance to make things with my own hands. If you end up making some of your own I’d love to see them!

    1. Hi Jamie,
      I looked back at the original directions I followed for using the mustard and it said to “immerse the fabric in 10 quarts of water with one cup of vinegar, agitating it to remove excess mustard. Seal the wet fabric inside a microwave-safe plastic bag and heat on 50 percent power for 5 minutes so it doesn’t scorch. Line-dry the fabric, then press with an iron to further set the design.”

      I doubt I used 10 quarts of water so I probably just made an approximate guess as to what would be a similar ratio. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. If you make one I’d love to see it!!

        1. That’s smart. As you can see, my blankets turned out differently than I had originally intended so it’s not a bad idea to play with it first. I look forward to the pictures!

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