Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit
Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit
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Quilts, Blankets and Afghans

This project is a wonderful way to provide warmth and comfort for the children of Operation Smile. Community volunteers can help craft blankets, sew quilts or knit/crochet afghans for children receiving an Operation Smile surgery.

All quilts, blankets and afghans need to be appropriately sized for a child: 45 x 45 inches or 54 x 54 inches. Quilts should be made from lightweight cotton and must include light batting. Blankets can be made from lightweight fleece. Light to medium weight cotton or acrylic yarn is preferred for afghans. Ideas and Instructions for several types of blankets are included below:

No-Sew Double Fleece Blanket

What you'll need:

  • 1-2/3 yds. of print micro-weight fleece
  • 1-2/3 yds. of a solid micro-weight fleece
  • Tape measure
  • Safety pins
  • Sharp shears or scissors

Step by Step Instructions for Double Fleece Blanket:

  • Cut your fabric so that it measures 54" square. Remove the selvages (machined edge.)
  • Place the fabric squares together, matching corners, with the right side of fabric facing out. You can safety pin the pieces together to help keep fabric from shifting.
  • To create your “no-sew” blanket, you will cut a fringe and tie the pieces together.
  • Place fabric on a solid surface (floor/table).
  • Cut a 4" square from each corner.
  • Cut fringe 1" wide and 4" deep on all sides.
  • Use an overhand knot to tie the front and back fringe together. Start at one corner and tie every other fringe. Be careful not to stretch the fabric.
  • Flip the blanket and finish tying all remaining fringe. Gently pull the knots to create a smooth finish. This creates a tidy, no front or back look to your blanket. 

In no time at all you'll have a cuddly no-sew blanket that will bring joy to a child recovering from surgery.

No-Sew Light Weight Fleece Blanket

What you’ll need:

  • 1-1/2 yards of bright colored or printed micro-fleece
  • Tape measure
  • Sharp shears or scissors
  • Seam ripper

Step by Step Instructions for Fleece Blanket:

  • Cut your fabric so that it measures 54" square. Remove the selvages (machined edge) and even up all uneven sides.
  • To create a light-weight single layer “no-sew” blanket, you will cut a fringe and loop the fringe through a small slit to create a finished edge.
  • Place fabric on a solid surface (floor/table).
  • Cut a 4" square from each corner.
  • Cut fringe 1" wide and 4" deep on all sides.
  • Use a seam ripper to make a small slit at the top of each piece of fringe.
  • Feed the end of the fringe from the back side through the slit you made and pull through gently to create a tidy, finished fringed edge.

Your blanket will bring warmth and joy to a child receiving a life-transforming surgery.

Machine Quilted Blanket

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/4 yards printed decorative quilt fabric
  • 1 yard solid color quilt fabric
  • Quilt batting
  • 1 1/4 yards woven flannel
  • Large safety pins or needle and thick thread
  • 1” Masking tape
  • 1 yard solid cotton fabric
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine

Step by Step Instructions for Quilted Blanket:

1. Cut a square from the decorative fabric, a little bigger than you intend for the finished quilt. You can use the width of the fabric and make a 44-by-44-inch square. Cut squares of flannel and batting - make sure they are just a few inches bigger than the decorative fabric.

2. Place the square of decorative fabric (the "quilt top") and center over the layer of light-weight quilt batting. Take the fabric and batting and put them on top of the piece of woven flannel.

3. Use the large safety pins to baste or hold the layers in place.  Or you can baste the quilt by sewing long loose running stitches by hand.

4. Place a piece of masking tape diagonally (corner to corner) across the top of the quilt. Line up the tape with the edge of the sewing machine presser foot, and use the tape as a guide to stitch across the quilt. Use a larger machine stitch to look more like hand-quilting.

Tip: To keep stitching secure, start sewing just off the top fabric (in the batting), and end just off the top fabric on the other end.

5. Remove the tape, then line it up against line just stitched, and stitch another line in the same way; repeat, moving from the center out to the corners in both directions.

6. When you have finished machine-quilting the entire blanket, trim off extra batting and flannel around edges of top fabric.

7. Cut 3 and 3/4-inch strips of the solid fabric for the binding.  Sew together end-to-end to make one long strip that is at least 5 yards long. Press the strip in half lengthwise.

8. Pin raw edges of strip to the raw edges of the quilt, all the way around on the back of the quilt (flannel side). Stitch the binding using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, mitering the corners.

9. Flip the binding over the raw edge of the quilt, and sew the folded edge to the front of the quilt with a decorative stitch.

When finished, you will have a soft, warm quilt ready to give to a child receiving surgery from Operation Smile. Adapted from “Simple Baby Quilt” instructions on marthastewart.com.

Knitted Child-Sized Afghan and Crocheted Child-Size Afghan

Afghans need to be appropriately sized for a child: 45 x 45 inches or 54 x 54 inches using light to medium weight cotton or acrylic yarn. For free afghan patterns and directions, please see the following sources who have kindly allowed us to link to their pattern directories:

Shipping Guidelines

When you are ready to ship the blankets/quilts/afghans, please fill out the Service Project Inventory Sheet to accurately record your efforts. Remember to collect donations or work with a local business to cover the cost of packaging and shipping the supplies to Operation Smile international headquarters.

Operation Smile
Attn: WAREHOUSE/Service Project
3641 Faculty Boulevard
Virginia Beach, VA 23453 USA

Print a blank form and fill it out. Complete multiple forms if shipping several boxes. Include completed inventory sheets in each box. Please place the inventory form on TOP of contents in the box. Shipments of multiple boxes should be numbered: 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3. 

If you would like to receive an acknowledgement for community volunteer efforts and the donation of supplies, please clearly fill out the inventory form with your name, club or group information.

For your records, handmade items have the following values:

  • Smile Bags $2.00
  • Smile Dolls $5.00
  • Hospital Gowns $5.00
  • No-No Arm Bands $2.00
  • Quilts/Blankets/Afghans $5.00-$10.00 depending on materials

Please keep copies of your inventory form for your records. Need more information? Contact our Donor Relations Team at drelations@operationsmile.org or call 888-677-6453, Monday - Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. EST, Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST for assistance.

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