When I was young, one of my favorite cartoon characters was Hanna-Barbera’s Yogi Bear and his sidekick Boo-Boo Bear. In fact, my sister and I used to greet each other (okay… sometimes we still do) with the Yogi catchphrase, “Hey there, Boo Boo.” I liked Yogi because he was always in search of pic-a-nic baskets, and I figured there must be yummy things in those baskets I would like to eat. So I was very happy when we decided to create a pic-a-nic blanket for some summer fun.
As usual, we weren’t satisfied with your av-er-age blanket (because we are not your av-er-age bears), so we made one side cotton sateen, the other side cotton laminate, then quilted them together with polyester batting sandwiched between the layers. Then, we created a clever carry wrap with shoulder straps. Fold and roll the blanket, wrap it up, Velcro® it closed, and you’re good to go.“Hello, Mr. Ranger, sir!“
If you are new to working with the great cotton laminates and oilcloth available today, take a look at our helpful tutorial: Successful Sewing with Laminated Cottons, Oilcloth and other sticky stuff.
Our original blanket sample features a combination of fabrics from Amy Butler and Tula Pink. Although the exact sateen and laminate we used are no longer readily available, no need to worry, there are always new options coming out each season from your favorite designers and manufacturers.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking/Even Feed foot: optional, but very helpful with the shifting layers – if available, you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system available on many of our Janome studio machines
- Ultra Glide foot or similar Telfon® type foot; optional, but very helpful when sewing across the laminate
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2⅛ yards of 54+” wide cotton sateen or similar for the blanket top and tote lining; we originally used 54″ wide Sun Glow in Lake from Amy Butler’s Home Décor Lark Collection – a 100% cotton sateen
- 2⅛ yards of 54+” wide cotton laminate or similar for the blanket bottom, tote top and tote straps; we originally used 54″ wide Frog Prince in Indigo from Tula Pink’s Prince Charming Collection – a 100% cotton with a laminate overlay
- One 52″ x 60″ (or larger) cut of Polyester Batting; we originally used Soft & Bright Polyester Batting in a twin size pre-cut
NOTE: Batting comes in many widths and is available on rolls by the yard as well as in pre-cut bedding sizes. Simply keep your final size in mind when deciding the best option. Since this blanket is meant to be used outdoors, we recommend a polyester batting rather than a cotton.
- ¾ yard of ⅝” sew-on Velcro®; we used black sew-on Velcro®
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Large safety pins for pin basting
- Clips to help hold laminate
- From the fabric for the blanket top (Amy Butler’s Sun Glow in Lake in our sample), fussy cut the following:
ONE Width of Fabric (WOF) x 62″ rectangle (54″ x 62″) for the blanket
ONE 12″ x 27″ rectangle for the wrap
- From the fabric for the blanket bottom (Tula Pink’s Prince Charming in Frog Price in our sample), fussy cut the following:
ONE 52″ x 60 rectangle for the blanket
ONE 12″ x 27″ rectangle for the wrap
ONE 5″ x 31″ strip, which should then be cut in half into TWO 2½” x 31″ strips for the wrap
- Cut the Velcro® into TWO 11″ lengths
- Cut the batting into ONE 52″ x 60″ rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Our picnic blanket finishes at 52″ x 60, so you’ll need a large flat space on which to work: a table or more likely… a clean floor.
- Place the sateen piece wrong side up and flat on your work surface.
- Mark and press back the raw edges by ¼” all around.
- Place the batting down on top of the sateen.
- Place the laminate on top of the batting.
- Align the laminate with the batting so the edges of these two 52″ x 60″ pieces are flush on all four sides.
- Adjust the laminate/batting layers so they are centered on the sateen. There should be ¾” all around from the edge of the laminate/batting to the folded edge of the sateen.
- Clip around the edge, then use the large safety pins to “pin baste” through all three layers.
NOTE: If you are familiar with laminates (or you read our great tutorial about How To Work with Laminates), you know pinning laminate it not usually recommended. So, do be a bit frugal with your safety-pinning (pin-basting), but don’t stress about the fact you are using pins. We are going for water resistant… not waterproof.
- If possible, attach a Walking foot or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system.
- Quilt the layers together a simple horizontal pattern. We marked our quilting lines at 9-10″ intervals across the width of the quilt. Quilt with the sateen side facing up. This will allow the blanket to move more easily through the machine. However, if you are having trouble with the laminate side dragging, you can flip the project laminate side up and use a Teflon® type foot, such as the Janome Ultra Glide foot – even combining it with the Janome Ultra Glide Needle Plate.
- This is a large project, it will help if you roll the blanket to get it to fit better in your machine and it will be easier to manage.
NOTE: If you are new to quilting, our good friend, Heather Jones did a fabulous Guest Tutorial for us on Straight Line Quilting. Her technique shows a much denser quilting, but you could certainly adapt it to these much wider lines of quilting.
- When the quilting of the layers is complete, you will wrap the excess sateen from front to back to create the binding.
- Place the quilted layers flat on your work surface with the laminate side facing up. The original ¼” folded-in crease lines should still be visible along all sides of the sateen.
- At each corner, fold in the point of the sateen ¼”.
- Bring in the folded point of the sateen to cover the point of the laminate. Pin in place.
- Fold in one side, creating a diagonal line at the corner. This is actually a double fold, the ¼” of the original fold-and-press and an additional ½”, encasing the first fold and wrapping around the laminate.
- Fold in the opposite side, matching the diagonal to produce a “faux” mitered corner.
- Continue folding in the sides to wrap the raw edges of the laminate and batting, and repeat the “faux mitering” process at each corner.
NOTE: We have a full tutorial on this hemming technique if you’d like more information and photos.
- Still using a Walking foot or your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system if possible, edgestitch around all four sides.
Blanket carry wrap
- Find the two 2½” x 31″ laminate strips.
- On one strip, fold in one long side towards the center of strap ¾”. Finger press.
- Fold in the opposite side ¾”, overlapping the first edge. Finger press and pin or clip in place.
- The strap should now be 1″.
- If possible, attach a Teflon® type foot. We used our Janome Ultraglide foot. Sew down center to catch both sides. Laminate will not ravel so there is no need to finish or hem the exposed raw edge.
NOTE: If you don’t have this type of foot, you can use wax paper or parchment paper between the laminate and the foot. Simply tear it away when the seam is finished. For more about working with laminates, take a look at our handy tutorial.
- Repeat to create the second strap.
- Lay the 12″ x 27″ sateen piece flat and right side up on your work surface.
- Pin one strap along each 12″ side of the sateen, aligning the raw ends of the straps with the raw edge of the sateen. The wrong side of the strap (the seamed side) should be facing down against the right side of the sateen. Also, make sure the straps are not twisted.
- The outside edge of each strap should be ⅝” in from the side of the sateen.
- Place the 12″ x 27″ laminate piece right sides together with the sateen, sandwiching the straps in between the layers. Pin in place around all four sides, leaving a 5-6″ opening for turning along one 12″ side between the straps.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides, pivoting at the corners. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 5-6″ opening left for turning.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn right side out through the opening. Pull out the straps. Gently push out the corners, using a long, blunt end tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner.
- Turn in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam and pin or clip in place.
- Switch to a regular presser foot.
- With the sateen facing up, edgestitch around the entire tote. This closes the opening left for turning and helps keep the layers stable.
- Find the two lengths of Velcro®.
- Pin the Velcro® in place on the sateen side of the tote along both ends. The Velcro® should fit just shy of edge to edge. If it overlaps at all, trim the Velcro® to fit edge to edge.
- Stitch the Velcro® in place around all four sides. Pivot at the corners and go slowly to keep your seams neat. You are creating a “box” of stitching that will be visible on the laminate side, so you want it to be pretty.
- Fold the blanket in thirds, then in half, and roll. The finished circumference should be about 24″
- Wrap the tote around the blanket and seal the Velcro®. The sateen sides come together and form a little “lip” that allows the handles to stand up straight. Sling over your shoulder and head to your pic-a-nic.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild