Step 1: Gather your materials
- Two recycled and laundered tablecloths, sheets, or curtains from a thrift shop (we used a heavy polyester tablecloth for the backing and a cotton checkered sheet for the top).
- Sewing machine and thread
- Measuring tape
Step 2: Lay out and measure
Decide how large you would like your blanket to be. We used the black tablecloth as the guide shape. Lay out your two pieces of recycled materials on top of one another, aligning to the top left corner, and eyeball how much excess fabric there is around the other two edges.
Step 3: Trim your material
Trim off the excess of one or both pieces to create two pieces of materials that are the same size. NoteL be sure to leave an extra inch of fabric on the raw edges so you can fold them under and hem them.
Step 4: Hem raw edges
Fold under the raw edges on the trimmed material 1/2 inch, then fold again another 1/2 inch. Using a medium length straight stitch, hem the raw edges. Most likely, your piece of material (if it’s a sheet or tablecloth) will already have hemmed edges, so you’ll only need to hem the edges you just cut.
Step 5: Pin blanket together
Line up the edges of the two sides of the blanket – right sides facing out – and pin them together.
Step 6: Sew blanket together
Carefully stitch around the edges of the blanket, leaving 1/4 inch seam allowance. Go slow and make sure you’re catching both sides of the blanket in your seam, and that there aren’t any puckers.
Here’s what the blanket looks like when its stitched together. We used a contrasting zig-zag stitch, but you can use a straight stitch too, and choose a matching or contrasting thread color.
Step 7: Mark blanket ties
Fold the blanket in half, then fold in half again. Roll the blanket up and mark where the two blanket ties will go. Use a pin to mark two spots equal length apart along the bottom hem.
Step 8: Cut fabric strips
Using the liner fabric or another, contrasting fabric, cut 4 strips of fabric 22 inches long by 2 inches wide.
Step 9: Iron fabric strips
Iron the four fabric strips in half, then slightly fold the bottom edges inside the fold and iron again.
Step 10: Sew fabric strips
Sew the fabric strips, ensuring the bottom sides are folded and tucked inside. One one end, fold the raw edges inside and sew across one end of each of the four ties to create the finished edge.
Step 11: Attach ties and roll up the blanket
Pin the ties onto the bottom hem of the blanket where you marked before and stitch them on securely.
Fold the blanket in half, then in half again and roll it up into a neat little burrito and then wrap the ties around the rolled blanket and knot them into a bow.
Step 13: Go have a picnic
Now you are ready to spread out your new blanket and have a picnic. Trust me… your friends are going to love it.
All photos by the author