Tutorial: Picnic Blanket


I randomly became obsessed with needing a picnic blanket while walking through target and seeing their picnic blankets this summer.  Clearly I needed one to be able to spend time under the trees outside with Indie.  I could just use any blanket. However, I thought it would be silly to spend so much money on a picnic blanket when I have loads of fabric already. (note that those who know me will be aware of my fabric “problem.” for those of you who aren’t aware, I have bins upon bins of fabric).  Here’s the process that I took for my blanket.


  • Fabric of your choice (I went vintage 70s)
  • Batting (size will vary based on how big you want your blanket.  I also went with low loft batting)
  • Thread and needle/sewing machine
  • Scissors and pins
  • Embroidery floss (somewhat optional depending on tying method – explained below)
  • Rotary cutter and board (optional)
  • Binding (optional)

1. Find fabric.

  • This one was not hard for me, I have way too much fabric as it is.  The fun was finding fabric that fit into a theme.  I decided to go with vintage 70s.  All the fabric I used is from my stash of vintage fabrics.  I thought this fit well for being a picnic blanket.

2. Decide how large of a blanket you would like.  You can choose to go with a standard size for your batting or you can make a non standard size and cut your batting accordingly.

  • I personally did not go with a standard size and cut down my batting to the appropriate size.

3. Determine what size block you will need based on the intended size of your blanket.

  • If your length and width are divisible by the same number, you can make squares for your blanket.  Otherwise, you will need rectangles to accomodate the difference.  To be honest, I went the route of just cutting out rectangles first without measuring and measured the blanket after the fact.

4. Cut out all your pieces.

  • You can do this with scissors or with a rotary cutter.  I wasn’t going for perfection so I went scissors.

5. Lay out your pieces to determine how you want the top of your blanket to look. 

  • I wanted to make sure I had a good distribution of colours and patterns so I laid out the whole thing first so I could easily move blocks around.

6. Sew your pieces together and press when complete. The top of your blanket is complete.

  • I decided to hand sew my pieces together.  This isn’t something I usually do, but it allowed me to watch Mad Men with Eric while I crafted. 🙂

7. Cut the bottom of the blanket to the appropriate size. 

  • You have a couple of options here.  You can cut it to the exact size of the top if you want to use binding for an edging. 
  • I decided to cut the bottom of my blanket 2 inches wider and longer.  This allowed me to fold this over the top and use it as a binding.  Much easier!

8. Cut your batting to the size of the top of the blanket (if needed).

9. Lay out your blanket to sew.  Bottom of blanket with right side down, wrong side up.  Place the batting on top of the wrong side of the bottom of the blanket.  Place the top of the blanket, right side up on top of the batting.  Pin in place.

  • When you are done with this step, it should basically look like your end product, but unfinished around the edges.

10. If you are going the route of using binding around the edges you can baste the three layers together and then add binding. 

11. To use my method. Break out the iron.  Fold the extra to inches of fabric from the bottom piece up and over the front piece and iron.  Then fold the fabric under one more time so no unfinished edges are showing and iron.  Pin in place.  Corners can be tricky so take your time on those. I chose to hand sew around this edging, but you could quickly sew it on the machine as well.

12. Tie your blanket to keep all three layers together.

  • Tying is a simple and easy way to finish a quilt or blanket.  Additionally, I think it adds a little extra nostalgia to the picnic blanket.  Basically tying is a series of knots tied at regular intervals throughout the quilt or blanket.  I like to use embroidery thread and have the knots tied on the front side of the quilt and leave the ends of the embroidery thread longer. 
  • Other options for tying:  to minimize the appearance of the knots use a thread that blends in with your blanket and tie the knots on the back and do not leave a “tail.” Tie the knots on the front and add some fun with buttons. (this I did not do because Indie will be on the blanket whenever I use it and buttons + baby is not a good combo)


Filed under Tutorial

3 responses to “Tutorial: Picnic Blanket

  1. well….I will never be able to do all that but that blanket is the cutest thing ever! oh wait, maybe the baby on it is:) very very cool blanket though:) I’m passing on the instructions in case someone else can use them!

  2. Love your tutorial! Such a cute idea and great information too! Thanks for sharing!

  3. bernadette hoyt

    your mother is proud!! and a tutorial to boot…i’m really proud!! and you do have way too much material…but this is a great project to use it up on…did i mention i was proud 🙂

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