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Sew Americana Picnic Blanket (with tutorial!)

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Hello and thank you for stopping by my post for the Sew Americana Blog Tour. I used a combination of an old table cloth and leftover denim to create a picnic blanket for the kids. If you are interested in creating one of your own be sure to check out the tutorial included in this post.

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I’m sure I’m not the only person who associates the summer and 4th of July with picnics, so what better way to showcase Americana than with a picnic blanket?

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The top fabric for my picnic blanket actually comes from a table cloth that I thrifted years ago. I used it for play picnics with Seb when he was younger until the hem started to come undone and fray. It sat in my “I should fix this bin” for years before I had the idea to upcycle it into this Americana inspired picnic blanket.

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Not only does the denim add blue to the red and white but it also weighs down the lighter top fabric keeping the blanket from sailing away with a breeze. This is one of the reasons why I think the table cloth ended up sitting neglected for so long, it might of looked cute but it was a pretty bad “picnic blanket” for outdoor use.

I think the basic idea for this project would make for a great thrown blanket if you swap out the heavy denim for something soft like 100% cotton french terry. Mmm cozy!

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The frayed rag edges not only adds a decorative folk-art touch but also makes the project a quick one with no seams to press neatly.  Not counting the time being tossed around the washing machine, I completed this picnic blanket in under 90 minutes WITH my two year-old “helping” on every step.

Since both materials I used were “used” I had already pre-washed the fabric but both materials still had plenty of fraying life left in them.

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Picnic Blanket Tutorial

Materials Required:
Mid or lightweight 100% cotton fabric for the top
Heavyweight 100% cotton fabric for the bottom*
Coordinating Thread
Fabric scraps for embellishments
Basic sewing notions such as scissors, needles, and pins
Ruler
Water soluble marker
Basting spray (optional but handy)
Retanyne and color catcher sheets (a must have if you are working with fabrics that bleed)

*The same technique as described in the tutorial could be used for a throw blanket. I recommended a 100% cotton french terry or jersey to use as the backing if you wish to make a cozy blanket.

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Step 1: Lay your chosen fabrics wrong sides together on top of each other. Use basting spray, pins, or a combination of the two to hold the fabric together for stitching.

 

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Step 2: Stitch around the perimeter of the fabric sandwich 2″ from the edge.

Optional but useful for keeping the two layers together neatly: Stitch several lines between the perimeter you just stitched. This creates a quilt-like grid. Very similar to what is done in my doll quilt tutorial.

 

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Step 3: Remove a square from each corner being careful not to clip through the stitching.

 

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Step 4: Create the fringe but cutting in 1″ increments along the edge being careful not to cut through the stitching.

 

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Step 5: Trace stars onto the wrong side of your chosen embellishment fabric. I free handed my stars for a folksy vibe but you can print out a template from the computer.

 

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Step 6: Cut out the stars and place theme into position on the blanket. I used basting spray to keep them in place.

 

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Step 7: Stitch the stars in place leaving a slight seam for the purpose of fraying.

 

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Step 8: Dark denim is known to bleed which is why I used a dye fixative a several color catchers during the washing step. This is a really good idea if you are using any fabric that might bleed. If you skip this step, do so at your own peril.

 

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Step 9: Wash and dry your sewn blanket. My version went around twice in the washer, along with some towels, and once in the dryer.

 

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Step 10: Enjoy your Sew Americana Picnic Blanket.

 

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I’m really glad the table cloth found a new life as a fancy picnic blanket for the kids to enjoy. If you make one of your own I hope you will enjoy it as much as we will ours.

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The kids also thinks the picnic blanket doubles as a pretty awesome toy!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my stop on the Sew Americana Blog Tour. If you have any “Americana” themed creations be sure to add them to the tour link-up.

 

 

Take a look at the AMAZING lineup for the Sew Americana tour!

Monday, June 27 
Wild & Wanderful | Sew and Tell Project | Call Ajaire
Paisley Roots | Wally and Grace

Tuesday, June 28
Sew Thrifty | Coles Corner and Creations | Rebel & Malice

Friends Stitched Together | The Wholesome Mama

Wednesday, June 29
Sewing by Ti | EYMM | HattieLu Handmade
Daydream Believers | PenSebRox | Handmade Boy

Thursday, June 30
Beatnik Kids | Phat Quarters | Sew Starly | Sew Sophie Lynn
The Kisses Co. | Adventures with Bubba and Bug

Friday, July 1
Very Blissful | That’s Sew Kari | Sew Happily Ever After | Pear Berry Lane

Mae and K
 | Musings of a Seamstress | Sew and Tell Project

As a special bonus for our readers, use the code ‘ SEWAMERICANA ‘ and enjoy a 20% discount at www.THREADandGRAIN.com  You’ll find a ton of maker-inspired goodies!
(All created by your tour guide, Katy, from Wild & Wanderful.)


 

21 comments

    Oh my gosh, that last picture killed me a bit. Nice tackle!
    And the blanket? Love so much. We have a Mexican blanket that we tote around in our car for picnics or any sitting-on-the-ground kind of moment but it’s not the softest. I probably should break down and make something like this. Way cuter too!

      Thank you! It will be nice to not have to dig around for a blanket I don’t mind using outside every time we need a ground cover.

    What a super quick way to make a great blanket. I really need to do this because I am NOT a quilter. The washing tips were great too! My denim always bleeds.

    Oh that is so amazing! I love it!

    I also love that you had a special tablecloth for playing picnic with your kids anyway 🙂

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