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How To Make A Waterproof Patchwork Picnic Blanket And Carry Pack


Ah, the English Summer! What does it mean to you?

For me, it’s day trips to the coast, balmy evenings sat outdoors until after sundown, weekend breakfasts in the garden, outdoor concerts in the grounds of old ruins……in short – being outside.

And being outside is made all the more perfect if you take that most quintessentially English thing with you – a picnic. Dressed down with sandwiches and a flask of tea at the seaside, or glammed up with champagne and a candelabra for a classical concert, everyone loves a picnic, with a soft, warm, waterproof picnic blanket to relax on in comfort…….

……except we haven’t got one.

Well, we didn’t have until recently when I decided to take advantage of being part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network and make one.

I didn’t want to make just any old picnic blanket, oh no, I wanted the ‘deluxe’ version, something a bit special, so decided to make a patchwork blanket with a waterproof backing and a carry handle. As there are four boys in the house (if you include Mr H-L), anything too pink and girly was out of the question, but I thought I could get away with a small floral print if the main colour was blue.

After much deliberation, this is what I finally ordered: – 1.5m each of plastic coated red gingham,Β  floral patchwork print polycotton, and denim blue polycotton. This makes a blanket approximately 1.25m x 1.25m.


My Olfa Quiltmaking Kit came with this mat, rotary cutter and 6.5″ square ruler, so I kept things simple by cutting the patchwork squares the same size as the ruler.


Cutting through folded fabric made short work of all those squares as I could cut through four layers at a time – using a rotary cutter and the quilting ruler ensured that they were accurately cut, which is essential in patchwork.


In no time at all I had two piles of neatly stacked patchwork squares, 36 of the floral and 45 of the plain making 81 in total.


The easiest way to keep accurate seam allowances is to line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the machine foot, the needle in the central position. On my machine, that means a seam allowance of 1cm throughout.


Whilst it may sound obvious, there is a quick way to whizz through all those squares.

Start by sewing them in pairs, each floral with a plain, right sides together. You will need to make 36 pairs which should leave you with 9 spare squares – 5 plain and 4 floral.

Don’t bother reversing your stitching at the beginning and end of each set, cutting the thread and repeating with the next pair – just keep feeding the pairs through the machine one after the other as shown below.


When all the pairs of squares are sewn, snip the joining stitches to separate them.



Repeat this process with the pairs of squares…


….until you have rows of 4….


….then sew the rows of 4 together to make rows of 8. Now add one of your left over squares to the end of each row.

You should now have 9 rows of 9 squares.

Press all the seam allowances to one side.


To minimise any bulk at the seams, you may wish to alternate the direction in which you press them flat.


Join these rows along the long edges, matching and pinning the seams as you go.



Continue until all your strips of patchwork are sewn together into one large square.



As I reached this stage, I made the spontaneous decision to add a layer of wadding between this top layer and the bottom layer. (I had plenty in my stash, but you can buy it here.)

I cut a square of wadding slightly larger all the way around than the patchwork piece, laid it on top of the wrong side of the patchwork and pinned it around the entire edge.



Stitch close to the raw edges all around the outside and trim the excess wadding as shown.


Now the wadding is secured, you can use large tacking stitches through both layers to stop them shifting whilst quilting.

Stitch in the ‘ditch’ using a long stitch length until the whole blanket has been quilted along the seam lines.


Place the quilted layer onto the vinyl backing, wrong sides together, and trim the backing so that it is 1.5cm bigger than the top all the way around.


Using clips, fold the excess vinyl over to the right side of the blanket and secure in place.


A teflon foot makes the vinyl move smoothly through the machine, and a leather needle with its wedged shape will stop any skipped stitches (discovered through trial and error!)


A simple long straight stitch close to the raw edge of the vinyl is all that is needed.


Mitre the corners as you go for a neat finish.


I was left with a few scraps of fabric and vinyl, so I also designed a fabric roll to act as a carry pack for the blanket.

For the carry pack, cut 3 floral and 2 plain squares the same size as before and sew them all together in a single row. Press.

Cut a piece of spare vinyl 1.5cm smaller than the patchwork strip and place in the centre of the strip, wrong sides together.


Turn a narrow hem…..



….and stitch in place close to the inner folded edge around all 4 sides, mitring the corners as you go.

Cut two pieces of vinyl for the handles, each measuring 20cm x 5cm.

Fold the long upper edge in to the wrong side by 1cm, and bring the lower edge up to meet it, overlapping a little to encase the raw edge as shown below.


Stitch close to the raw edge.

Repeat with the second handle.


Position the two ends of the handle in the corner of the carry pack using the photograph as a guide.


Stitch in place with a 1cm seam.


Fold the handle to the outside and turn over, vinyl side down.

Cut a 12cm strip of velcro hook and loop fastener and sew the hook side to the fabric side of the carry pack, being sure to catch the handle in the ‘up’ position, securing it in place at the same time.

Repeat with the loop side at the other end of the carrier.


When the blanket is rolled up, wrap the carry pack around it and press the velcro strips together.



For a picnic in the garden (or anywhere), just add bunting, a squishy cushion and a hamper full of goodies.


Sun is a bonus for a picnic, but not when taking photographs (too much contrast)…


The perfect fusion of girl/boy styling that anyone would be happy to sit on.


No more damp bums!


A lovely layer of wadding for added comfort.


The carry pack with handles means that it’s compact and easy to transport.


Marley was interested to see what was going on – sometimes our hens are just a little bit too friendly!



Now all we need is for Summer to return so we can actually use our lovely new picnic blanket!!

Author: sewchet

Sewing, Crochet and other loveliness!

59 thoughts on “How To Make A Waterproof Patchwork Picnic Blanket And Carry Pack

  1. Beautifully done, and a great tutorial! (Nice to know picnics are really traditional there.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fab tutorial! I think I need one of those for my cricket picnics! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh that’s lovely and a clear tute too. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the pretty fabric choices and great tutorial too πŸ™‚ I’ll bet there are many, many happy days to come on your lovely picnic blanket πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This looks great! Thanks for taking the time to photograph every step.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh this is perfect! Your seams are spot on and your tutorials are always so clear. I love that it has wadding in it – I can imagine it’s so nice and comfy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Beth, It’s good to have positive feedback on tutorials as I never quite know if they’re clear enough or have enough/too many photographs. The wadding was a last minute addition which I’m so glad I did as it makes all the difference when sat on the ground for long periods.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great, great project and idea!! Makes me want to go on a picnic!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a lovely blanket. Simple but really effective! As it’s waterproof you really can picnic rain or shine, if it rains just sit under it!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is something I’ll try to sew by using all my fabric remanants….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A great make. I’m sure this will inspire many to make the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great idea. That waterproof layer is something missing from all my outdoor blankets.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ll be trying this. Love the wadding idea too. So cute!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sheila this post gets a double wow!! Not only can you use your tutorial for a waterproof blanket but also a regular cloth quilt! I saved this one in my favorites. As always thanks a ton! You rock!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lovely clear tutorial and a great picnic blanket – far more stylish than me and my non-waterproof blanket plus ground sheet. I may have to make one. Won’t ask how you wore the last one out.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is perfect for combatting wet bottoms! I might try to add a waterproof backing to the blanket we already have – thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am just about to make a liner for my picnic basket, a matching blanket sounds ideal. Very clear tutorial – thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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  18. Your tutorials are truly the best and so are the lovely projects you make! Marianne xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – I’ve got a few gifts I’ve made this week which I can’t wait to blog about. Not my own designs but the finished items are just so pretty. I do enjoy making tutorials in as clear a way as possible. Sharing the love of crafting is such a fun thing to do. x

      Liked by 1 person

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  21. A fantastic tutorial on picnic blanket making. Super easy to follow! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sorry, I’m very new to this. If I cut 36 of 1 fabric and 45 of the other won’t I be left with 9 of the same fabric after making 36 pairs? Am I missing something?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Really enjoyed that great make

    Liked by 1 person

  24. That’s a clever little carry handle, and even better that they’re matchy matchy! Your blanket looks so comfy

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Great idea to make waterproof back into the binding
    How do you wash the blanket?

    Liked by 1 person

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  27. Very nice but I would have liked to see measurements in inches for those of us in the U.S.


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