Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quilted Picnic Blanket: Tutorial!

(Click here for a backstory about my quilted picnic blanket!)

So you want to make your own quilted picnic blanket? Here is what you will need:


A. Colorful quilt fabric. I would recommend using darker colors and a busy print, so the dirt won’t show easily.

B. Quilt pattern. Use a simple, fun pattern. I recommend Crazy Old Ladies’ “Diamond in the Rough” layer cake pattern, but you can always just sew squares together.

C. Muslin. I used muslin instead of quilt batting. It keeps the blanket lightweight and portable.

D. Oilcloth. I found great oilcloth on Denver Fabrics’ website. I sewed two pieces together to get the correct width. Click here to for tips about sewing with oilcloth.

NOTE:  You can always combine supplies A and B (and save time) by buying a colorful patterned bed sheet!

"Bistro" fabrics by Moda

Varieties of oilcloth.


1.  Piece your quilt top! If you have an old top that you never got around to backing and quilting, this is a perfect project for it.  You can also use a colorful patterned sheet.

Sample quilt top.

2. Pin the muslin to the wrong side of the quilt top.  Quilt as you would a normal quilt top (yes, it will be only two layers of fabric:  the quilt top and muslin). I used a stitch-in-the-ditch method, but you could easily do free-motion or fancy patterns. Just remember that the finished project will not have the same definition or 3-D effect as a normal quilt because the "batting" is just flat muslin.

3. "Birth" the Quilt:"  This is an easy method of adding a backing to a quilt without needing an outside binding.  It is sometimes called "birthing" because you turn the quilt inside out to finish it.  You can find a great tutorial about this process on the HGTV website HERE.

   3a.  Align the quilt and oilcloth so the right sides are facing each other, and stitch around the perimeter of the quilt. Do not stitch all the way around the perimeter:  leave a gap of about 8 inches on one side.

   3b.  Reach into the gap and turn the quilt sandwich right-side out.  You have just "birthed" the quilt!  Smooth the fabrics and make the corners nice and pointy (use a knitting needle if you have one).

4.  Top-stitch around the perimeter of the turned quilt.  This will help the quilt lay flat and close the gap in the quilt.  NOTE:  I found that it was easier to keep the oilcloth on the top side when you use the sewing machine (the feed dogs on the sewing machine had trouble pulling the oilcloth along).

Front and back of the quilt.  I stitched around the perimeter with brown thread (nearly invisible on the top fabric and coordinating with the bottom oilcloth).

5. Your picnic blanket is ready to use! If the blanket gets dirty, spot-clean the mark with some OxyClean or handwash it.  Don't worry too much...a picnic blanket is meant to get used!

Ready to use!

PS: If you use this tutorial, please send me a photo of your completed project and I will post it!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! Thank you. I've just been using a big piece of denim as a picnic blanket -- I see I'll have to go "up" in this world. . . {:-)


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