a picnic blanket

For my friend Annie’s birthday, Geoff and I sent her a blanket from Kate Spade Saturday in honour of the picnic we had had for Geoff’s birthday in May. We feasted on pizza and beer, and it was such a happy occasion since we were so glad she was in town.

For years we had been using an old sheet as a picnic blanket, and I have always hated that thing (too thin!) and wanted an upgrade. I liked that the Saturday one was canvas (sturdy! Durable!) but I couldn’t justify spending the money on something for myself. Besides, they don’t even ship to Canada. So, DIY to the rescue.

(Wrinkles via my friends’ bums)

I went to the fabric store and found a nice weight of cotton canvas on clearance for $2 a meter. Score! It was sold as-is because it had some faint red markings on it, but I had a feeling they would wash out. I got six meters, and then I just made it up as I went along (and the markings did wash out!).

I cut the yardage into quarters and tie-dyed it much in the same way that Bre dyed these shorts in this tutorial for Of a Kind. Lots and lots of elastic bands. I used grey and peach dyes that I had on hand (purchased from Dharma Trading Co.), but only in very small amounts because I am not an expert at dyeing and was going for something subtle anyhow. The colours are very dreamy/cloudy/sky-like to me. Perfect.

I cut the pieces of canvas down further so that I ended up with seven inch pieces (seven of each in grey and peach) and then four wider pieces. I wasn’t exact about it; I just made sure that the pieces were even, and sewed them together. Vertical stripes on one side and horizontal on the other.

Once I had my front and back pieces, I used techniques I had learned from making a quilt years ago to baste my quilt sandwich (I put cotton batting in the middle for extra padding). This part was definitely the most tedious, and I killed my back while hunched over to put in all those pins. Once that was done, I bound it with bias tape, which I had also tie-dyed (it turned out a little more lavender, interestingly).

Even though it’s essentially a quilt I haven’t actually quilted it. Maybe that can be a winter project.

For the carrying strap, I used things that I happened to have lying around: cotton webbing and twill tape. Again, I just made it up as I went along, but think it turned out pretty cute.

I’m pretty thrilled with it! Maybe one of these days it will stop raining and I will be able to take it to the beach.


  1. It's so pretty! You did a fantastic job!

  2. Clever you, that looks fantastic. I love the dreamy colours. Alas, in Wellington there are about two good picnic days per year, and they happened for me back in January, but it's nice to think I could still sit on something nicer than an old wooly blanket.

  3. fantastic! now i think i need a picnic blanket.

  4. It looks really great :)

  5. So dreamy. Love the quilting techniques! Everyone should picnic more.

  6. love this! such a great idea, will be coming back to this post to make one for myself, thank you!


  7. So pretty! I especially love the carrying strap.

  8. Em K G9.7.13

    Absolutely gorgeous idea! x


  9. Oh wow, I am super impressed! This is gorgeous!

  10. Girl, this is so good!