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How To Sew a Picnic Blanket

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Years ago Emmaline was gifted a picnic blanket from her mother-in-law. Since then, she has used it as a pattern to make many new ones that she has gifted to others. The picnic blanket has been used on picnics all over the country, on grass, on picnic tables, and sometimes on her living room floor. What a fun way to make mealtimes memorable with your loved ones.

  • Choose 2-3 coordinating fabrics for the backside/binding, front, pockets, and napkins. The size will be dependent on the size of the blanket you want. For 4 people you will want a square piece. If you want rick-rack or ribbons for dressing it up you will want to get those as well. I like to use it on the tops of the pockets and around the napkins. You can also dress up the center square if you desire.

  • Cut your back fabric first to the size desired. Cut the top fabric 5 inches shorter than the back for both length and width. Cut your napkins into 13-inch squares. Cut your center 17 inches square. For your pockets, either cut an 8.5-inch square or cut out back jean pockets 1 inch from the pocket edge.

  • Center and pin the top fabric to the back fabric with the wrong sides together.

  • For the corners, cut off the tip of the backside corner leaving a 1/2 margin from the front fabric. Be sure this is a 45-degree angle from your sides so that it lines up properly. Sew the corners by placing the correct sides together and matching up that corner you just cut to create a new mitered corner. Start at the folded edge and be sure to leave 1/2 inch from the edge to turn under as a seam allowance.

  • Turn your corners, pin, and sew the seam allowance under forming a nice binding. Measuring the binding as you pin keeps the size of the border nice and uniform. We like to do a double seam as it adds more detail and durability to the piece.

  • Next, we will be building our pockets (Unless you are recycling jean pockets, then you can skip this step.). The first step in forming the pockets is cutting and angle at the bottom which gives it more of that classic jean pocket look. Cut off about a 30-degree angle from the edge center point to form this. Next, sew your ribbon about 1 inch down from the top edge. I used a red rope-type ribbon to add texture and that country feel. Then, you want to press 1/2 inch under around all the sides, pressing down the top last. Sew the top of the pocket. Now we want to add some decoration which will also help the pocket hold its shape. Don’t worry about back stitches at this point as you will be going across this section many times and it looks better without the doubling at the ends. Stitch from the bottom side corners up to the top corner just below the ribbon. Do another row of stitches 1/4 inch on each side of the previous row. Repeat on the other side of the pocket. I like to use a contrasting colored thread to help this stand out more.

  • Napkins are the next step for this blanket. It is so easy. Just turn under the edges twice at 1/4 inch toward the right side of your fabric and either sew a decorative stitch or sew on a ribbon/rick-rack around the edges.

  • Press 1/2 inch around your centerpiece toward the wrong side of the fabric. Find your center point on both your blanket and your centerpiece. Place the centerpiece either with the blanket as a square or turn it so it is like a diamond. You can even double up centerpieces with the second cut of fabric if you like. Pin it in place. Pin your pockets evenly around your blanket. Sew around each pocket, leaving the opening open, and sew around the centerpiece.

  • Tuck your napkins in the pockets with the corners peeking out and you are ready to go on a picnic.

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