Blanket cloth is basically any heavyweight fabric, usually sold in bulk, that is thick enough to be easily cut into large blankets. Most of the time it’s woven, and is typically variegated and brushed to give it added durability. While most any fabric can be turned into a blanket of some sort, the main distinguishing feature of blanket-specific fabric is its thickness. Crafters and manufacturers will usually still need to add some sort of binding to the edge to prevent fraying or to give a more finished look, but not always. The main idea is to produce a fabric that is thick enough and warm enough to use all on its own. Despite the name, though, blankets aren’t the only use. This sort of fabric is also commonly made into jackets and outerwear. Depending on the specifics of the material, it can sometimes also be used for home accents and even cloth baby diapers. Most distributors sell this material in bulk on bolts, and individuals and manufacturers typically buy it to fit certain measurement specifications and then turn it into whatever they please.
Cloth Styles, Fabrics, and Weave
Traditional blanket cloth is a heavyweight fabric with a variegated pattern woven through it. It usually has a soft-brushed finish and is commonly made to feel soft against the skin; as such the fabric is often napped on at least one side, and often can be found to be napped on both. The double sided napping creates additional strength and durability.
According to most accounts, the first blanket cloths were made from wool. They were tightly and thickly woven so as to be easily cut into bed-sized blankets; these were popular with homesteaders and were also a staple of most military operations for many years. The popular fabric is now also made from many different materials, including cotton, cotton and wool blends, polyester blends, and synthetics. The basic idea is the same in all cases, though the wide variety means that there can be a big difference when it comes to things like suitability for projects other than blankets and care and upkeep.
Since various blends are now used to make the cloth, blanket fabric can range from lightweight to heavy, but typically always remains quite warm. Denser threads can be tightly woven to give a slimmer appearance without sacrificing insulation. The cloth can also be found to have varying characteristics including durability, flame resistance, and high tensile strength, to name a few.
It’s also usually possible to find this sort of material in reversible styles, meaning it is a double-sided cloth that uses a different weave on either side. Each side can be independently treated with different colors, textures, and stitches. Due to the many differences in the characteristics of this type of cloth, there are many different levels of quality. The levels range from simple synthetics to high-level silks and satins.
The easiest way to make a blanket is usually to cut a portion of cloth into the desired size. Depending on the material, this may be all that is required; felted wools and synthetic fleeces, for instance, are normally resistant to fraying without any special treatment or provisions. Still, many people choose to cut the edges decoratively for effect, or add stitching or other binding as a stylistic accent. Bindings are usually required for materials that may begin to unravel with use or washing.
More intricate blankets can be made by piecing various cuts of cloth together into a pattern or design. The technique is often similar to quilting or patch working, and the creator often has a lot of flexibility when it comes to the overall look. It’s usually important that all of the materials used have a relatively similar thickness, though, as well as similar materials; pre-washing is also usually very important. Things like wools don’t often pair well with synthetics since they to tend to wash at different temperatures and shrink at different rates.
People can do much more with this cloth than make blankets. One of the long-standing uses of cotton versions, for instance, is to make baby diapers. Thick, usually double-stitched panels can be folded for maximum absorbency. This sort of cloth diaper us known for softness, durability and the ease with which it can be cleaned; it also has the same pro-environment characteristics of other cloth diaper varieties.
Outerwear manufacturers often choose blanket-style cloth for things like jackets, scarves, and hats, too; sometimes even pants and skirts are made of it. In most cases the fabric is chosen for its thickness as well as its pattern and overall attractiveness. Fleece jackets, vests, and accessories are a very common example. These are available in a range of thicknesses and designes, and are also prized for their durability, their ability to resist moisture, and their machine washability.