Summer Craft: How to Make the Perfect Picnic Blanket
I LOVE summer! Cold days are my nemesis, so the second the sun makes an appearance in my neck of the woods, I am out enjoying it! One of our favorite summer activities is going to the park and taking a picnic lunch or dinner. Or my personal favorite, just letting the kids play while I sit on a blanket and thumb through a magazine or read something on my tablet, soaking up the sun.
The problem with that is I live in Oregon, and even during the sunny season, we still get rain. Lots of rain. The grass is wet more times than not in the late morning, and I hate having a soggy blanket to throw back in the car. Or worse, have my bum all wet after sitting on the blanket for any amount of time.
The other problem is that with four kids, just going to the park is an ordeal. They always have something they want me to keep track of, whether it be a small toy they brought along, their water bottle, their shoes, their snacks. That's not including the stuff I have to bring; wipes, sunscreen, keys, phone, sunglasses and whatever else the day calls for. All that clutter on a blanket makes it hard to just lay down and enjoy it. Then what if I get up to go push a kid on the swings or throw a ball? I don't really want to leave my keys and phone out on a blanket for some toddler to wander off with. Also, what if a breeze comes along and blows up the edges of your blanket? Annoying.
How to Make the Perfect Picnic Blanket
This blanket, made with Riley Blake Designs, has been the perfect solution to all of my whining!
- 4 yards of "top" fabric (I used the Fly a Kit in Cream)
- 5 yards of "bottom" laminate fabric (I used the Laminate Fly a Kite Ice Cream in Pink)
- A sewing machine
- An iron
Isn't it the cutest fabric? It's perfect for summer and kids and picnics and everything else! This is a super easy project; it should only take you an afternoon, as long as you don't have a million interruptions. You need to know how to sew a straight line. That's about it. Oh and how to iron a seam open. Easy peasy.
- Cut your fabric in half to create more of a square blanket shape, as the fabric pieces are long and skinny. First things first, you need to fold the fabric in half, making sure it is smooth. Iron if necessary and cut in half. I ironed the seam to help me cut a straighter line.
- Put the fabric right sides together to make a bigger wide piece. Pin it together.
- Do this for both pieces of fabric, top and bottom.
- Sew your first straight line, connecting the two pieces of fabric, and press it open. Repeat this on the other pieces of fabric.
- When you lay it out, you'll see there is a lot more laminate than the regular fabric. That's because you will fold it over to make the pockets. Put your fabric right sides together and make sure the top fabric is centered over the bottom fabric, so that both sides of laminate are even. Pin it.
- Sew it up—more straight lines. Sew both sides. I used a zig-zag stitch here for a little more stability. Press the seams open again. When you have both sides sewn, turn inside out so that it is right sides out.
- Now my pictures are a little out of order here, I apologize, but it's pretty easy to follow. First, you need to sew the holes closed. I didn't put any batting in this blanket since it's basically just to keep us dry when we sit on the grass, and I keep it in my car...the thinner the better. Look at step one and you can see that you just need to sew along the dotted line. You don't want things going in the pockets and then find their way to the middle of the blanket. Now I didn't do this, but if you want a more finished edge on the laminate, you can put some bias tape on the edge of the flap or fold it over a bit and sew it down. Or you can use pinking shears or a serger.
- After that, you just need to sew the flaps up. Fold the flap up and pay attention to seam where you sewed the blanket together so that it lines up where you fold it. This will keep your pockets nice and straight. Tip: You can tape the bottom of the foot like I did when you sew on the laminate to make it glide a little easier. Or you can rub a little sewing machine oil on the bottom of the foot so that it can slide easily. Just be sure if you use the tape, to clean your foot off afterwards because it can get sticky.
- All that is left to do is sew the pockets. I wanted big pockets, big enough to fit a magazine or a pair of flip flops. I have eight big, roomy pockets on each side. I have yet to fill them, but the summer is still fresh! I just folded the blanket in half and put a pin at the fold, then did that two more times. Then I just sewed a straight line on each pin mark. To keep the line straight, I followed the design and sewed right down the middle of the diamond shapes.
- Take it to a park and enjoy it. Or roll it up with a set of pockets facing out and fill it up, ready for when you're out and about and see a patch of grass just waiting to be sat on.
What are some of your favorite sewing projects for the summer?
Tiffany Hewlett is on a mission to make her world cuter one kid, outfit, photograph or crafty thing at a time. She enjoys photography, art, organizing, cooking, reading, shopping and the sun. Tiffany spends her days home schooling, going on nature walks and window shopping for inspiration. She lives in the beautiful state of Oregon with her McDreamy lookalike husband and her four ridiculously adorable children. She blogs at Making the World Cuter.
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