Take a look at a larger image of the finished picnic blanket.
1.75 m (70 inches) laminated fabric, approx 1.5 m (60 inches) wide
1.5 m (60 inches) waffle-weave cotton blanketing, approx 1.5 m (60 inches) wide
8 m (8-3/4yards) wide bias tape hem facing
All-purpose thread to match
Sewing machine fitted with 11/90 vinyl or leather needle
Self-healing cutting mat, or fabric shears
Pins and iron
1. Using rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat, trim selvages (and ends, if necessary) of cotton blanketing to make 1.5 m (60-inch) square.
2. Using rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat, cut 25 cm (10-inch) wide strip across width of laminated fabric. Trim selvages. From strip, cut two 6.5 x 50 cm (2 Ì‡- x 20-inch) strips of fabric for ties. From strip, cut two 25 cm squares; cut each square diagonally in half to make four triangles total. Trim selvages and ends of remaining large piece of fabric to make approx 1.5 m square.
3. Cut four 35 cm (14-inch) lengths of bias tape. Fold under 2.5 cm (1 inch) at one end of remaining bias tape. Matching long edges, fold each bias tape strip in half lengthwise and press to form binding strips.
4. Carefully pin short binding strips along long edges of pockets; edgestitch, being sure to catch both sides of fabric.
5. Fold one tie strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together; finger press. Using zigzag stitch and short stitch length (1 or 1.5), stitch raw edges closed. Repeat with remaining tie strip.
6. Working on large, flat surface, layer laminated fabric, right side down; cotton blanketing, right side up; and pockets, placing one triangle in each corner, right side up and matching raw edges.
7. Matching one short end of each tie with blanket's raw edges, pin ties in centre of one side.
8. Starting in centre of side opposite ties and beginning with folded-under end, sandwich fabric layers inside folded binding strip. Wrap binding strip around entire square, pinning at regular intervals and mitring corners. Trim remaining binding, leaving enough to lap 2.5 cm under folded edge at beginning; pin.
9. With straight stitch and medium stitch length (2 or 2.5), beginning at overlapped ends and catching edges of binding strip on both top and bottom, sew around entire blanket. If desired, backstitch over ties and at corners, as well as at beginning and end of stitching for added reinforcement.
10. To store, fold blanket in thirds, with ties at top; roll up. Wrap ties around blanket and knot.
Designer's notes: Be sure to keep pins within binding, because pinholes make permanent marks in plastic-coated or vinyl fabrics. Wipe your picnic blanket clean with a cloth dipped in mild soap and water. Don't put it in the dryer or iron it – you'll end up with a sticky, melted mess.
This story was originally titled "Take it Outside" in the August 2011 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!
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