How to Make a Picnic Blanket

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Even though the summer is starting to draw to a close, there’s still plenty of time to go outside and have a picnic! Why not picnic in style this year with a custom, quilted picnic blanket? Picnic blankets are great to store in your car for kids sporting events, concerts, and, of course, picnics. Stow a picnic blanket on your boat for a nice place to sit on trips to shore! Today we’re going to show you how to make your own quilted picnic basket and also include a tip for making sure it won’t blow away on a windy day.

There are many different styles of picnic blankets, and we’re going to outline one way to make one today, but you can customize your design to be exactly how you want it. To make our plush picnic blanket, we chose two outdoor fabrics, which will make the blanket durable and reversible. As added protection against the wind, we added grommets to the corner of the blanket that can be staked into the ground with golf tees or other stakes, so wind won’t disrupt your meal.

Picnic Blanket Materials:

How to Make a Picnic Blanket:

1. Decide which of your fabrics you want to wrap around the other. That will be your top fabric and the other will be the bottom during construction. Also determine the finished size you’d like your blanket to be. Ours is 47” x 64”.

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2. Cut the bottom fabric and the batting to the desired finished size of the blanket. Measure and cut the top fabric to the finished size plus 2-3/4” on each side. This extra fabric will make the border.

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3. Stack all the pieces so the top fabric is on the bottom, then the batting, and then the bottom fabric.

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4. Run a row of basting tape along the edge of the larger piece of fabric.

5. Fold the fabric over the tape to create a small hem.

6. Baste along the hem and fold over the batting and smaller piece of fabric.

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7. To create a mitered corner, pinch the fabric at the corner and fold the extra fabric to create a triangle. Fold the triangle of fabric under one side of the border so the border creates a 90-degree angle at the corner. Pin the corners in place.

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8. Sew a row of stitches around the perimeter of the border about 1/8 inch away from the inside edge of the border.

9. Find the center location of each side of the blanket and mark it with a fabric marker.

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10. Using a ruler, connect the center locations to form a large diamond. Run a row of stitches along the lines you traced to quilt a diamond in the blanket.

11. Measure out from each sewn line 6 inches on either side and draw a line. On the inside of the diamond, measure in 6 inches and create another diamond. Continue to measure and create lines and diamonds until you have your desired quilted design.

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12. If desired, add a grommet to each of the four corners of your blanket to accommodate for stakes to windproof your blanket.

13. Have a picnic and enjoy your new blanket!

All of the materials needed to make your own picnic blanket, including a great selection of outdoor fabrics, are available at www.sailrite.com.

Where is your favorite picnic spot? Have you ever made a picnic blanket? Share your experiences and stories in the comments!

5 comments
  1. Ernie L said:

    I made two of these as Christmas presents, for wife and grown daughter, and they were a surprise hit. I found it surprisingly difficult, though. I’m a complete noob and everything I’ve done before involved things without batting. I wish I’d spent a little time going through quilting websites first. I’ve since made two more with variations for others. There were three things I would add to this post.

    First, I found it very difficult with striped top fabric to keep a straight edge when sewing with the batting and backing in place. Sewing down from the back left my seam wandering along the stripes. For my second two I switched to a bag design, sewing good sides of top and bottom together, turning inside out, and then stuffing the batting inside. That gave me neat edges but had a downside (see below).

    Second, I didn’t have much success marking the quilting lines and then following them when the fabric was striped or didn’t have a clear repeating pattern, like the coral patterns. I was much better off using a regular repeating pattern, like the square knot fabric illustrated, and sewing down the diagonal. That gave me neat quilting seams. In the pictures it looks very close to what was done. (You want to be sure your pattern fabric is centered.)

    Third, I didn’t realize how important basting was in the quilting process. For my first two (done with this foldover process), I used 777 spray to keep material from moving around. That worked pretty well, although I didn’t realize it was helping, as the batting and the fabric kept mostly in place. For the second two, I obviously couldn’t use spray, and I discovered the hard way the layers were moving all over the place, and while the top of a seam was clean the bottom was a mess, with fabric getting folded over and whatnot. I sure used my threadpicker. To keep that from happening, I had to pin all over, every three inches or so.

    So my best result was using a bag design, a striped fabric on one side and a regular repeat fabric on the other, with a gazillion T-pins.

    • Nikki said:

      Thanks for your feedback, Ernie. I’m sure those comments will help others. Glad to hear the picnic blankets were a hit this Christmas!

  2. Ernie L. said:

    Here’s an add-on for this. The blanket is somewhat bulky but compresses down. For easy transport, one can make a simple bag cover, with nylon webbing for a carry strap and a zipper or snaps to close the bag.

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