Here’s my story of how I created this tutorial for these faux wool blankets that decorated my porch for a few seasons recently: Like most homes built in the 1920s for 1920s families, Hawk Hill House has had several additions. Some kept true to the house’s character, and others are less authentic, but one thing this old house is never lacking is quirkiness: which is how I ended up with 4 porches. Yes, four! Far from the grand, meandering porches of some period homes, Hawk Hill’s porches are mostly modest.
80 years ago visitors would have been welcomed via the largest porch, but the small side-porch added in the 1980s proves to be a more convenient entrance for me and a more intimate, modern space to receive guests.
Unfortunately, this side porch is the smallest porch It’s just a modest covered slab, step, and stoop. Just enough room to demand some sort of decor, but just small enough to make decorating difficult! After struggling with it for two years, I stumbled across a Pinterest pin from Country Living and I finally got inspired!
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All I needed was rich, vintage-looking, wool blankets to add cozy comfort and style. Then I checked the price for the gorgeous Pendleton wool blankets I dreamed of, found out that they’re about $150 for new wool blankets and $50-$75 for off-brand vintage wool blankets) and I realized that curating a stack for my porch was way out of budget!
A few weeks later, wandering the aisles of a new fabric store in Joplin, MO, I discovered bolts of flannel woven in plaid, checks, herringbone, and other classic patterns that reminded me of wool blankets. The lightbulb in my brain went on! Unlike shaggy printed fleece, flannel patterns included the pattern woven in, for a more expensive look without the high end price tag of patterned wool blankets.
Initially, I thought I’d purchase yardage and simply wrap a few old towels to create the look of folded blankets that keep in step with my seasonal decorations capsule home decore “wardrobe” and equestrian inspired decorating style, but my idea kept developing: I decided to stitch the thin flannel to cheap backing fabric and create functional, washable, vintage-look faux wool blankets. This project turned out so well, and my total cost for each blanket was under $7!
Here are my instructions for creating the same warm, washable faux wool porch blankets on a budget:
1. Find & Choose a Woven Flannel that looks like Wool:
Flannel: Any flannel classic flannel weave should work. Choose according to color, or in varied styles for a warm-looking mix of colors and textures.
Backing: Any thick, neutral colored fabric should work. In an turn of luck that totally justified my huge hoard of stashed fabric, the backing fabric I used for my blankets was a thick upholstery-grade felt purchased at a thrift store for next to nothing a year or two before starting this project. While one side featured a southwest print, the back was a perfect, plain solid grey. You can use old or out-of-style blankets, or other sturdy large scraps to back your thin flannel material.
2. Pick Size of Blanket:
Since my fabrics were relatively wide in width, I constructed each with 1.5 yards of fabric. This is is smaller than a twin size blanket but has been perfect for covering 2 people’s laps when I take my faux wool blankets to picnics, stadium games, and events.
3. Prewash fabrics:
This is a very important step since you will likely be frequently washing your faux wool blankets: prewash! Running your fabric through a wash and full dry cycle before stitching will prevent the stitched-together fabrics from shrinking unevenly when laundered later.
4. Lay out your fabric & choose how to bind edges:
Since there is no turning inside out involved, just stack your fabrics as they should be on the finished product: pretty sides facing out. Below you can see that I’m hiding the southwestern print of my field backing by placing it against the backside of the plaid flannel.
Choose how your edges will be bound. You can add blanket binding, leave the edges unfinished and let your flannel fringe, or turn fray-able edges under before stitching for a plain, but durable edge finish that will wear well through washing.
Because I chose to turn and stitch my flannel’s edges to the no-fray felt, I cut my flannel 1/2″ larger than the felt on each side, then used an iron to fold and press my flannel to fit the dimensions of the felt.
5. Bind Blanket Edges
Once edges were prepared, I began to stitch my edges with a blanket stitch using embroidery floss, however, I am a pragmatic person and after about 2 sides done on the first of 3 blankets, I decided the hand-stitch didn’t add enough “wow” to the final product to justify the extra time, so I buzzed through the rest of the blankets with my old sewing machine.
This was a quick project, taking a total of about 20-30 minutes for each faux wool blanket and finishing at a cost of under $7 per blanket, and I’m thrilled with creating a luxury-inspired look of vintage wool blankets on my now so-cozy porch for a fraction of the cost of using traditional wool blankets.
To create the look of the Country Living porch, I needed a bench as well, however, my little side porch is so small that in order to get a bench that looked appropriate and wouldn’t stick out too far, I had to build one. Luckily, woodworking is one of the many hobbies I have discovered since building a “creative homestead” at Hawk Hill, so one Saturday afternoon I whipped one up.
Download my Free Woodworking Plans for a Small Decorative Porch Bench
This free woodworking plan is delivered in the form of an SKP file format, which can be opened using the free web-based application SketchUp. With Sketchup, you can zoom, pivot, and explore every side of this 3D model- while viewing measurements, angles, and wood dimensions in depth. It actually includes 3 benches: a porch swing, a full size freestanding bench, and this diminutive little guy.
All in all, I’m really pleased with my new porch decor. I find that when I add a new element like this, it actually takes me a while to get comfortable with it and arrange it in a way I like. I like the winter decorations so much more than these original fall styling below- I can’t wait to see how it transforms into spring!
These blankets sold in my flea market booth when I sold the house to create a new tiny home in Seattle, but they lasted for many years of being only-barely sheltered from the elements. Where real wool blankets would have begun to rot or be eaten by moths, my faux blankets happily camped out on my porch for three seasons each year, durably and easily transitioning from decor to cozy lap blankets and back again, holding up well to many heavy washes, though they wouldn’t fit in my portable washing machine. If you are considering decorating your space with similar faux wool blankets, it’s impossible to be the value on these adorable wool look lap blankets.
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