Summer Picnic Blanket tutorial
Designed by Heather Jones for Coats and Clark
This easy project is perfect for all of your picnics and BBQs you have coming up this summer. With a laminated cotton top and sturdy canvas backing, clean up is a breeze. Just wipe any spills up with a damp cloth and you’re good to go! The fun, bright fabrics will make the perfect backdrop for lots of great summer memories. Here’s how to make your own!
Please read though all of the instructions before getting started.  All seams are 1/4″. I’ve also put together a printer-friendly version of the instructions as a free pdf for you on Google Docs.

Supplies:
2 yards laminated 58″ cotton fabric (I used Groovy in Olive from Heather Bailey’s line Freshcut laminated cotton for FreeSpirit Fabric)
2 yards home dec weight 58″ cotton fabric (I used Caiman Stripe in Pink from Heather Bailey’s line Garden District for FreeSpirit Fabric)
1/2 yard quilting cotton fabric for binding (I used Jelly Bean in Pinky Purple from Heather Bailey’s line Freshcut for FreeSpirit Fabric)
Coats and Clark Dual Duty XP Heavy thread in a coordinating color

sewing machine
rotary cutter
ruler
cutting mat
scissors
pins
iron
quilting gloves (optional)

Instructions: 
1. Square up the laminated fabric with a rotary cutter and ruler.
Square up the home dec fabric with a rotary cutter and ruler. 
2. From the quilting cotton, cut (7) 2 1/2″ x the width of fabric strips for the binding. Remove the selvedges and put them to the side. 
3. Remove the selvedge and trim the width of the laminate fabric so that it is 56″ wide, by cutting along the length with a rotary cutter and plastic ruler.
Then, remove the selvedge and trim the width of the home dec fabric so that it is also 56″ wide, by cutting along the length with a rotary cutter and a plastic ruler. 

Note: If you have never sewn with laminated fabric, I’d suggest practicing on some scraps before you start sewing the picnic blanket. You may need to adjust the stitch length or the tension, or change the foot on your machine. I found that my machine worked best with my stitch length increased and by attaching my walking foot to help move the layers of the laminate and home dec fabrics through.

4. Unfold both pieces of fabric and place the laminate on top of the home dec fabric, wrong sides together. Pin the two pieces together, making sure to keep the pins in the seam allowance. Since the laminate is coated with vinyl, any pin marks you make in the fabric will also pierce the coating and won’t close back up, as they do in most other types of fabrics. 
You’ll notice that the fabrics are quite heavy, especially when they are pinned together, so it’s a good idea to drape them on a table while you sew. 
5. Sew the laminate and home dec fabrics together around the perimeter of all four sides. Make sure to stop the machine with your needle down when you get to a corner, then raise the presser foot, and pivot the fabric before you stitch along the next side. When you get back to the beginning of your seam, backstitch over the first few stitches that you made to lock them. 
6. Sew the (7) 2 1/2″ strips together to form one long strip of binding. To reduce the bulk in the seams, sew each end together by placing one on top of each other, right sides together, laying the top piece perpendicular to the bottom, and extending each strip approximately 1/4″ over each other.  Then stitch diagonally along the center where the two pieces meet, making sure to backstitch to lock the seam. 

This is what the strips will look like after they are sewn together.

Using a pair of scissors, snip the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.  Continue this step until all seven strips are sewn together. 
7. Press all of the seams open with a hot iron.
At the beginning of the strip, make a fold by bringing the wrong sides together to form a diagonal crease, about 1 1/2″ from the edge. Press with a hot iron.

Then fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, along the entire length of the binding and press.

8. Place the binding along the home dec (bottom) side of the blanket. Starting in the middle of one side, line up the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the blanket,


and begin to pin in place about five inches down from the fold at the beginning of the binding, again making sure to keep the pins in the seam allowance.

When you get to a corner, leave about 2″ unpinned,
and fold the binding up perpendicularly on itself,

and then bring it back down on itself along the edge of the next side of the blanket to create a mitered corner. 

Continue to pin along the next side of the blanket. Pin the binding in place all along the lengths of all four sides of the blanket, mitering each corner.

Once you’ve reached the side of the blanket that you started on, leave about 12” of blanket the unpinned. 





9. Stitch the binding onto the blanket using a 1/4” seam allowance. I found it helpful to use a pair of quilting gloves to help move the fabrics through the sewing machine during this step. 



When you get to the folded edge of the binding at the corner, stop sewing and leave the sewing machine needle down. Remove the pins and unfold the binding at the corner. You should see a fold in the binding that runs diagonal to the side of the blanket you are working on.


Continue to stitch just until you reach the fold in the binding, about 1/4” from the edge. Backstitch to secure the seam.
Remove the blanket from the sewing machine and snip the threads, then pivot the blanket to sew the binding on the next side. Backstitch at the beginning of the new seam, and continue to sew the binding to all four sides of the blanket, until you reach the unpinned section on the side you started on. Backstitch at the end to secure the seam.

10. Open the unsewn section of binding and lay it flat against the edge of the blanket. 

Bring the unsewn section of the binding that is to the right (the end you started with) and lay it over the other end of the opened binding.



Using a water soluble pen or a pencil, lightly mark a line on the tail end of the binding, along the edge of the diagonal fold at the beginning of the binding. 

Open up the fold and line up the two ends of the binding so that they’re perpendicular to each other, just as when you constructed the binding from the individual strips of fabric in Step 6. Pin the two ends together, placing the crease on the top piece directly over the line on the bottom piece that you just marked.

Pin together, and using the crease in the fabric as a guide, sew a seam and backstitch at the beginning and end to lock the stitches.


Remove the blanket from the sewing machine and lay the unsewn section of binding along the edge of the blanket to check that it is the proper length needed to finish.

Pick up the unsewn section of the binding and trim off the excess fabric, leaving 1/4” seam allowance. Press the seam open, and then fold the unsewn section of binding in half and press with a hot iron. Tip: be careful using a hot iron around the laminate fabric; since the binding is sitting directly on top of the home dec fabric, you shouldn’t have a problem, but try not to touch the iron to the laminate side or it will melt. 


Pin the unsewn section in place and sew with 1/4” seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.

11. Turn the blanket over so that the laminate side is facing up. Pull the binding up from the back so that it lays flat, extending beyond the edge of the blanket. Tip: I usually work on one side at a time before I move onto the next side of the blanket.

Fold the binding down over the raw edge of the quilt and press with your fingers. 



Pin in place, making sure your pins stay within the section covered by the binding so not to cause excess holes in the laminate fabric. Pin all along the length of one side of the blanket.
When you get to the end of the side, create a mitered corner. Fold the edge of the binding so that it creates a 45 degree angle,

and then fold the next corner over, and continue pinning along the next side of the blanket. Repeat this step until all four sides are pinned and all four corners are mitered. 


12. Move the blanket to the sewing machine and topstitch just along the edge of the binding, removing the pins as you sew.

When you reach a corner, sew just until you reach the fold in the binding, lift the presser foot on your sewing machine and pivot the blanket,



and continue to sew to the tip of the corner, then backstitch until you get back to the edge of the binding on the next side of the blanket.

Lift the presser foot, pivot the blanket and continue sewing on the next side along the edge of the binding. Continue sewing along the entire perimeter of the blanket until the binding is attached on all sides, and backstitch to secure the seam at the end.


Congratulations, you’re done!


 Your picnic blanket is ready for use. Here are some detailed photos of the finished blanket.
My little girl loves it and is ready for lots of picnics this summer!
Heather Jones is a designer and modern quilter. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Jeff, and two young children, Aidan and Olivia, who are her biggest supporters as well as her greatest sources of inspiration. Heather founded the Cincinnati chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild and she recently completed her first line of quilting patterns. Three of her original quilts were chosen as winners of the Modern Quilt Guild’s Project Modern Challenges, a year-long national quilting competition. For more information on Heather and her work, please visit her blog at www.oliveandollie.com.
About the Author


Lynn is Director of Consumer Services with Coats & Clark.

3 Responses to Summer Picnic Blanket Tutorial
  1. I love this tutorial. Thank you. My question – is the laminate fabric comfortable to sit on or is is like sitting on plastic? I love the idea of this with the laminate fabric perhaps on the underside, as sometimes the grass is wet from dew, and the regular fabric the side you sit on.

  2. Good question. I've found that the laminate is not uncomfortable to sit on, but you could certainly just flip the blanket over if you prefer to sit on the other side. Our thought behind this project was that any spills that occurred during use could be wiped off of the laminate side with a damp cloth.

    Thank you!
    Heather

  3. You could do both sides in laminated cotton fabric, if its comfortable to sit on! then you could use either side!


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