Ah, summer. It’s a magical time. The days are slower, the weather is fantastic (here in the Midwest anyway – sorry, Southern readers!), and everyone seems happier. Are you taking the time to soak up some sun and enjoy all that nature has to offer? If you aren’t outdoors-y enough for camping or hiking, try going on a picnic! Food always tastes better in fresher air, and with a DIY waterproof picnic blanket under your legs, you may never want to eat inside again.
If you’ve ever gone on a picnic, you’ll know the ground is almost always wet. Grass soaks up moisture, and staying seated on the earth for too long gets a little… damp. This DIY picnic blanket has a vinyl backing to keep moisture away from your lunch.
- Thick, non-stretch fabric (I’m using a cotton duck with a fun indigo print)
- Vinyl fabric
- A wide piece of elastic
- Coordinating thread
- Sewing machine and pins
- Masking tape
Cut your fabric and vinyl to the same size – however large you want your waterproof picnic blanket to be. This will differ with what you need out of your blanket. Some blankets are square, some are roughly the size of a twin-sized sheet. I cut mine smaller, since I only needed enough room for two people to fit on it. If you want a blanket larger than the width of either your fabric or vinyl, you may need to sew two pieces together to make a larger piece.
Lay the fabric and the vinyl together, right sides facing in. Pin along all sides.
Sew the fabric and the vinyl together with a straight stitch, but leave a 5-inch opening on one side. Through this opening, turn the blanket right-side out.
Turn the edges of the opening inside the blanket, and pin in place. Next, topstitch all edges of the blanket, closing the 5-inch opening as you go.
When sewing with vinyl, a small adjustment needs to be made to your sewing machine. Vinyl doesn’t slide smoothly under the foot of the machine like regular fabric does. To help move the vinyl along, lay down two strips of masking tape on either side of the feed dogs (the part under the foot that moves the fabric). Do the top-stitching with the vinyl sitting on the bottom, and the regular fabric on top.
The blanket is done! If you’d like to create a strap to keep the waterproof picnic blanket rolled up tightly when not in use, you can do so with a bit of elastic and some more vinyl. Cut a 3-inch piece of elastic, and then cut a strip of vinyl twice as wide as the elastic, but a little shorter than the circumference of the blanket when it is rolled up.
Making the strap requires another slight adjustment to the sewing machine. As the strap has vinyl facing out on both the top and bottom, you will need to add masking tape to the foot of the machine too. Take two small strips of masking tape and stitck them to the underside of the foot – make sure you leave an opening for the needle to pass through.
Fold the vinyl in half lengthwise, and position the elastic on one end. Stitch the elastic in place with a straight stitch, and carry the seam down the open side of the vinyl. Fold the strap in half, and stitch the other end of the elastic into the opposite end of the vinyl. Carry the seam up the other side, and tie off.
Seriously though, this gorgeous weather we’ve been having in the Midwest makes me want to move the dining room outside permanently. You really can’t beat a picnic in the park.
You’ll need something to carry your new blanket in – learn how to make a picnic basket backpack!
Hallo! What a pretty blanket!! Could you perhaps send me the link to the vinyl fabric that you used? Thanks so much, Sandra
@Sanda – Thank you! The vinyl was picked up in a clearance bin at my local Jo-Ann fabrics last summer, so unfortunately I can’t provide a link. However, I always seem to find lots of pretty vinyls in the discount section of my fabric store. Hope that helps!