Hey guys! This is Bonnie from the blog Whisk ‘Em, where I share my love of family, fashion and sewing! I’m super excited to be here and teach you how to make this fun picnic blanket that folds into a tote bag. Everyone needs a patriotic blanket for picnics and firework-watching, don’t you think? Let’s do it!
What you’ll need:
- Large square of home decor fabric (mine was a 56″ square that I bought at Ikea; or about 2 2/3 yards of 56″ wide fabric)
- 6 1/4 yards of coordinating bias tape
- just over 2/3 yard of coordinating fabric for pocket and strap
- Begin by sewing the bias tape around your square of fabric. You can also choose to make your blanket two layers thick (a front and a back side) but mine was thick enough that I chose not to.
You just sandwich the raw edge right inside the bias tape and stitch close to the folded edge. If you look closely, you’ll notice that bias tape has one side that is slightly shorter than the other. Be sure to put this shorter edge on top of the fabric so that your stitching catches the longer edge underneath.
- When you get to a corner, stitch all the way to the end of the fabric, then flatten our your bias tape corner as shown below.
Fold the rest of the bias tape around the adjacent side of the fabric, creating a mitered corner like in the picture above. Resume stitching right at that folded corner (you can use pins or binder clips to hold it in place). Repeat with all four corners until you’re back where you started.
- Stop stitching just a few inches from the beginning.Unfold the raw end of the bias tape and fold down horizontally about 1/2″. Fold your previous folds back in place, overlap the beginning of the bias tape and sew to your blanket.
- Once your bias tape is in place, you’ll begin your pocket! Cut two pieces of coordinating fabric into 14″ squares (you might need to adjust the size of your pocket if you make a bigger blanket than 56″). Lay the pieces right sides together, and sew around 3 sides. Clip the corners of your seam allowances and turn pocket right sides out.
(A portion of my 4th side is sewn shut in the above picture but just ignore that goof! 🙂 Press all your seams and corners well, and fold in the open raw edges of that 4th side about 1/4″ to the inside.
- Create your straps by cutting a strip of your pocket fabric 40″ long x 5″ wide. Fold it in half lengthwise and press. Stitch down the entire long side opening, creating a tube of fabric.
Turn your tube right side out and press well.
- Insert your straps into the open edge of the pocket and topstitch this open edge closed.
- Now topstitch your pocket to a corner of your blanket, along 3 sides, right along the bias tape trim. Be sure the edge of the pocket with the straps is on one of the sides facing into the blanket, not along the bias tape (and leave this edge unsewn to the blanket!). When you’re done, it should look like this:
Voila! All done! Now just fold up your blanket like this:
Fold it in half, then in half again lengthwise. Then fold it into quarters, ending with the edge where the pocket is. Turn the pocket inside out so that it surrounds the blanket and the strap hangs free. Bonus: you can stash your wallet, phone, water bottles & any other essentials inside the bag when it’s all folded up!
Fun, huh? Now I want to make all my blankets into blanket-totes!
Be sure to come visit me over at Whisk ‘Em: you can find the free pattern I used for this patriotic knit dress HERE and also check out one of my very favorite DIY posts on upcycling shoes HERE!
Thanks so much for having me, Mandy!