How to Sew a Covertible Picnic Blanket Tote

Published by Darron Toy on



a picnic is not complete without a picnic blanket welcome to Professor pincushion I'm Tova and I'm here to show you how to make a simple picnic blanket tote carrying everything you need for the day at the park isn't easy but our picnic blanket project is a must make not only is it a practical blanket but it quickly folds up into an easy to carry tote interested to see how it's all done let's go ahead and get started I'm using these supplies for creating the picnic blanket I have two yards of fleece I'm using 58 inch width that should be enough for the main blanket and for the flap quarter yard of hook and loop fastener and then 1/3 of a yard or 12 inches of one inch wide webbing for the strap you need a fabric marker or chalk sewing gauge pencil for creating the pattern I also have some pattern paper here but you don't need that you can just use regular paper and then also a ruler for doing the pattern a 9 inch length zipper three packages of extra wide double folded bias tape of course I'm going to be using in my sewing machine all-purpose thread straight pins and my fabric scissors the only pattern piece you need to make is going to be the flap of your picnic blanket you can see I already drew up my pattern it's actually quite easy to make first draw a rectangle that's five and a half by eleven and a half so you just have your rectangle and then on one corner from the corner go down two inches here make a mark two inches here make a mark and then just draw a smooth curve I just kind of eyeball this once you have your curve you can go ahead and erase these lines over here and that's going to be your pattern piece you can go ahead and put cut too because we're gonna cut two out of your fleece and then on one side sew the opposite side of the curve side is going to be the side that you're going to place on the fold before I cut out my two flap pieces I like to cut out my main blanket piece first so it's just 55 inches by 55 inches it's a big square if you have a rotary cutter and a mat it definitely makes it a lot easier but it's definitely not necessary you can cut it out with your scissors so just take your two yards and cut out a piece of 55 by 55 take one of your flaps lay it on the table right side up if there's an obvious right side and you're going to mark the center of the top curved section so you see it's curving up here so I just marked the center with my fabric marker then I'm gonna take nine inches which is a quarter yard of one set of the hook and loop this is actually the rough side but you can do the other side as well I also mark the center of the hook and loop I'm going to place it on the right side of my flap that I'm using here and it's going to be one inch down from the top and the center lines aren't matching up so I'm going to measure down one inch here and also do it right here just to make sure that it's level then you're going to pin it into place because next we're going to stitch around the perimeter of our hook and loop you can see that I'm stitching around the outside perimeter of my hook and loop here and when I get close to the corner I'm just going to put my needle down go ahead and lift the foot pivot your fabric put the foot down and then you can continue sewing and that's I can take care of the corners next I need to draw a box for placing my zipper so I'm from the hook and loop I'm going to measure down to inches and I'm going to draw a line from this line I'm going to measure down 3/8 of an inch and I'm going to draw another line on each side I'm gonna go in 1 and 3/8 1 or 3/8 and draw a line and you end up with a box you can just ignore these lines right here because that was an accident so I have a box for placing where I want my zipper to be on my flap now because this fabric tends to stretch what I'm going to do next is I'm gonna do a basting stitch around the box and I'm not going to do it directly on the line because I'm gonna cut on the line but I'm just gonna do it right past the line and just go around the whole thing the basting stitches is going right outside my box it doesn't have to be perfect it's just basically there to kind of stabilize the area so it doesn't stretch too much when we're putting in our zipper you just want to use the longest stitch that your machine can do and you don't need to worry about doing any back stitching once it's dippers in we can go ahead and remove this next I'm going to cut out the fabric that's inside the box so I'm cutting on my fabric marker line for the Box not where my basting stitches you can still see my basting stitch is still intact just cut along the fabric line once that is cut out you can go ahead and take your zipper and it's going to be placed into this box section now just to prep my zipper I just did a quick little light press here with a no very hot iron because this is plastic so you don't want a chance melting that just to make it a little bit more flat and then here on the end I just undid my zipper a little bit brought the ends together and did a couple attacking stitches with just some all-purpose thread just to kind of hold it together so I'm gonna take this I'm gonna place it right underneath there so it's coming right in the center of my box here once you have it centered you can go ahead and pin it into place because then you're going to stitch around the perimeter and that'll keep your zipper in when sewing on a zipper you may want to switch to a zipper foot just to make it a little bit easier as you're going around for this one you're going to do a regular straight stitch and don't forget to do some back stitching take your second flap lay it on the table right side up now this time we're going to be measuring from the bottom edge so this is the curved edge we're dealing with this edge down here you're going to measure up two inches and if you need to draw a line go ahead and draw a line you're gonna take your 12 inches of your webbing and this tends to fray so if you want to make sure that the end is not going to fray you can use some fabric sealant on the end there and you're going to place it so it's at that line so two inches away from this edge now this end should be one inch away from this edge and the same thing over here so after you line it up go ahead and just pin the ends into place one inch in from the end of my strap I'm going to do a box and then do an X right in the center of that box and that is going to be where I'm doing my stitches for attaching my strap you can see I already did that on this side and you just need to do a regular length straight stitch take both flaps and place them together wrong site on wrong side so this is the right side so I'm laying it on the table right side down and then I'm taking the one that has my strap I'm playing it right on top so the edges match up so you have the right side of the flaps on each side I'm going to pin and I'm going to do a basting stitch again that's a lot longest length stitch that you have on your machine and you're going to do it around the whole thing next we'll attach bias tape to this outside curved area so you don't need to place it here just here take your bias tape your just needing one package for now and you're going to unfold it so the side where you have the nice seams that's the right side this would be the wrong side you can see the bra edge there so it goes right side to the edge of your flap and you can see I'm doing it with the zipper side up if you do it the other way it's not going to hurt anything it's just the way that I prefer so I'm gonna take one side this raw edge of the bias tape and I'm going to line it up right here with the edge of the flap and I'm just going to pin all the way around here when you get to the curved areas you may have to put a little bit more pins but it should be able to be pinned without getting any wrinkles so once the whole thing is pinned you're just going to stitch in the first crease mark that you have so when the crease using a regular straight stitch and don't forget to backstitch refold the bias tape so it goes over to the other side and where you have your stitches from sewing on the bias tape you want it to cover those stitches so I'm just going to fold it so it looks like this on one side and then it looks like this on the other side and I'm going to pin it all into place because you're going to take it back to your machine and you're going to stitch right along the edge of the bias tape and catch it on the other side as well and then that's gonna stitch it all into place when sewing down the bias tape you can just do a regular straight stitch don't forget to do some back stitching you don't want to get too close to the edge but I would say about an eighth of an inch away from that edge next we're going to attach our flock to our main blanket piece so if you have an obvious right side you're gonna lay this right side up and you're I'm just picked one side it's 55 by 55 so it's pretty much a square I'm just designating one side is going to be the top and you're gonna want to mark the center so if you need to fold your blanket in half to mark it go ahead and do that and you're also going to mark the center of your flap as well I have this up so I have the zipper right up and I'm lining up the centers I'm gonna take this I'm gonna fold it over or flip it over so now it's laying on top of my blanket on the edge and this raw edge and this raw edge is going to line up so your raw edges are meeting and you're going to pin and do a seam right across the top I would just do a half inch seam allowance for this don't forget to back stitch and you're just doing an a regular length straight stitch take the bias tape that you have left you should have two full ones to the one that you partially use and you're going to sew them together and to end because that should be enough to get around the whole blanket because we're gonna finish all the edges now we're doing fleece so it doesn't really need to be finished I just think it looks nicer I'm going to take one end and if you want to lightly press it you can and you can see I unfolded it this way so this is the right side of it so I'm going to unfold it then I'm going to take my next one from my other package I'm also going to unfold it so this is the wrong side this is the right side I'm going to place them so they're right side to right side but that they're perpendicular to each other someone's going this way one's going this way and I'm going to kind of roughly line up the Raja's that I can you can see it's not perfect here but I'm just doing the best I can and I would just throw in a couple of pins and I'm actually gonna put my pins in diagonally this way then if you want to draw a line with your fabric marker just to make it easier you can go ahead and do that and you're gonna draw a line from the end right here this corner you're gonna draw a diagonal line from this corner to this corner here this is gonna go like this and that's where you're gonna do your stitching so you're just doing a regular length straight stitch just like this so make sure you do it in the correct direction if you lay it like this you need to stitch this way not this way otherwise it won't work out so I'm going to go ahead and do that part now after you do your stitch you can go ahead and trim off the excess seam allowance so you end up about a quarter of an inch so now when I pull this apart you can see I end up with a single strip again so now with the other end I'm gonna sew another piece which is my third piece so you should end up with one long strip next we're attaching bias tape around the perimeter of the blanket and I'm just going to start where my seam allowance this with my flap I'm keeping my flap on top of the blanket because we're going to enclose all the seam allowance inside the bias tape so I'm just sort of starting in the middle now I unfolded it so it's right side of the vise tape to my blanket but just on the end here I'm just gonna fold this about a half inch and I'm going to start pinning it and I wouldn't pin it all the way around the blanket just pin it to your first corner because we first need to do a mitered corner and so I'm going to show you how to do that at the sewing machine I'm stitching in this first crease make note on what your seam allowances whatever your seam allowance is you're going to measure up from the corner and then I just put a pin just to mark where that is so when I get to the pin which I'm getting pretty close right now I'm going to put my needle down lift my foot go ahead and remove that and then I'm going to rotate my fabric so now I'm stitching diagonally to that corner so you were doing a straight stitch and now you're doing a diagonal one and then once you get to the corner you can go ahead and cut your threads and take your blanket out of the machine this is that same corner I'm gonna take this bias tape and I'm taken with my left hand and I'm bringing it up and rotating it so now it's going in the other direction so this is still lining up with the raw edge here and we have a folded edge here it's lining up with this edge the more precise you are the neater it's going to look so then I could go ahead and start doing pins and continue sewing in this crease going in this direction and you would start sewing from this edge and just continue on so just to show you again real fast it's laying flat they lift it up rotate it it kind of folds in on itself and now I can go ahead and pin it and sew it so you're gonna repeat this every single time you get to a corner once you come back all the way around again so this is where I started this is where I'm finishing up all you need to do is just overlap this other end with the beginning I'd say about a half inch and just lay it on top like that and then you can continue sewing and don't forget to backstitch here now we can refold our bias tape and you can see all this seam allowance here from the flap that's going to be enclosed in that bias tape and you want to make sure that you're covering up your stitches on the other side so we don't see that you can then pin it and you can start sewing right along the edge on the bias tape let's talk about what to do in the corners so if I was to unfold this you can see that I'm ending up with a mitered corner on this side but what do we do on the back so I'm just going to start folding it on the edges here and pinning it into place and I'll do this one as well you can see it just kind of sticks up like this so I'm going to basically fold one side at a time when doing a corner so I'm going this way you can see all the folded edge is going in one direction and then I can bring this back in this direction so if you fool with it a little bit you end up with a nice corner on this side and a nice corner on this side as well so once I have it folded like I want it then you can go ahead and just stitch it down into place the last thing we need to do is the other hook and loop placement so to do that we're going to fold up our blanket just as we would if we were going to put it in the tote form I'm going to take each end and you can see my blanket is just lying flat and the flap is sticking out so I'm going to take this side and I'm going to fold it to this edge of this bias tape here of the flap and I'm going to do the same thing on the other side as well so just fold it like this and do the same thing on this side then take each side and you're going to take them and you're going to fold them into the center so I can do this side first and then I can fold the site on top of it the picnic blanket should look like a long strip I just rotate it so be a little bit easier to show you this next step I'm going to take the end of my blanket and I'm going to fold it to the bottom of the flap and then I'm just going to take this folded edge and fold it again so that's how you can fold it and now I can just bring the flap like this now we can do the placement for the second hook-and-loop so this is the soft side all I'm gonna do is just carefully lift this up and that kind of gives me the placement on where I want to put it so you can either mark it with your fabric marker or you can just pin it with straight pins you just have to be careful because obviously when you're sewing it you only want to sew through a single layer of blanket and if you're pinning it like this you may actually go through more than one layer so here's one that I already finished so this one is actually stitched into place and you just go around the perimeter like you did with the one up here as an option at each corner you can add an eyelet so this is a small eyelet that I can just stake you might blink it down if it happens to be a particularly windy day and you can just use little golf tees or something like that we have tutorials on how to insert metal eyelets or doing an embroidered eyelet like this as a nice accent here is the completed picnic blanket it's nice and compact and it has an easy to carry handle here flip it over we have our bias tape as an accent you can open it up now the whole flap here is a pocket because we added the zipper so you can add your golf tee stakes you can add your keys whatever you need to bring with you and you have a handy picnic blanket for your next outing we hope you enjoyed this tutorial please subscribe to get notified of our weekly releases also check out professorpincushion.com to view our plate library well over 350 sewing tutorials if you would like to directly support us you can check out our patreon campaign and earn some exclusive perks thanks for watching


23 Comments

Joanne DiFrancesco · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Tova you are my guaranteed go-to for all sewing questions. Without your videos I would not have been able to start sewing. Please keep it up as I dream of being able to truly sew on my own someday and your videos are the best tool I have in my progress to make that happen. Oh. and I love that your nails always look amazing too!

SUNBLISS · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

good job !

Juhani139 · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Love it! Definitely going to try this.
Though I don't know about the fleece. I'll make one side normal fabric, the groundward side waterproof and sandproof (maybe pvc based material?) and maybe add some padding inside.
Great idea. I LOVE the pocket.

Sharee Flower · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

This is a great tutorial, so easy to follow. I have one question about the zip. How does it not fray if you don't edge it?

ClaireNicole33 · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

You're awesome! I'm going to make this to go see my son in the National Guard next week. Thank you:)!!

Leslie Zimmermann · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Very easy-to-follow directions! Thank you!

Knittyneeds · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

What a fantastic tutorial. Well explained with step by step easy to follow instructions. You are sooo talented. It "looks" easy or I might say "you make it look easy" and I must try it too. Thanks for sharing and caring. ๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

lookinggrl · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Love it, love it, love it. I will make this for next picnic season. I would like some advice on doubling the blanket to use oil cloth or some other water resistant fabric on the side that will be on the ground. Wow, this is just what I have been looking for. Thank you!

Jasmine Little · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

This looks fun to make… I've always been afraid of zippers. It may be time to conquer this fear.

Karin .DuBois · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

thank you! Of course now I want to make one.

Sally Schilling · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

If folks use polypropylene webbing rather than cotton webbing, they can sear/melt the cut ends of the webbing with a match or lighter.

Sally Schilling · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Love this idea! I need to make on that is 72' longย x the width of the fleece. With this in mind, how much should I increase the size of the flap to?

reeooww · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

GORL, you are so crafty. I didn't even know I needed this blanket in my life, but you were so clear with your instructions that I feel the need to make this

Lovaine Niblock · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Absolutely brilliant as always Tova thank you. I just love the way you explain everything so well x

Lori Bernard · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

great tutorial!

Darlene Farmer · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Nice!

Fancylooks · May 16, 2019 at 8:06 am

Absolutely fantastic, especially all the details about the bias tape are very useful to me! Thank you