Wednesday, August 1, 2012


DIY Travel Picnic Blanket - Gingham.

I love picnics.  Just the idea of one makes me smile.  On our honeymoon to Italy, I knew we would have many great picnic opportunities, and I wanted to be prepared.  A large picnic blanket was not entirely practical when walking or hiking, so a smaller travel version was needed.  I came up with this one that is light-weight and packs up small to be carried in a totebag, backpack or purse.

This is super easy to make with just a square of gingham fabric from the local fabric store.  I bought the biggest square I could, based on the width of the bolt. (example: if the fabric is 36” wide, then buy 36” of fabric)

(1)    Trim the edges to give you a perfect square.  Use the pattern of the gingham fabric as your guide.  Gingham is great to cut because the ‘grid’ pattern gives you an exact cutting and hemming line.

(2)   Preparing the edges and corners: First, identify the point represented by the red dot below and use this as a guide to fold in the corners.  Then turn each edge over ½” and press with an iron. 

How to make the perfect corner - fabric

(3)    Turn each edge over ½” again and press.  This should give you perfect corners (where the red dot ends up being the location of the finished corner).

(4)    Hand stitch the edges.   You can do this on a machine of course, but the hand stitching made it a little more special for me.

DIY Gingham Travel Picnic Blanket

(5)    Fold the finished piece into a small square suitable for rolling into a small package for carrying.  Find the spot in the center of the outside edge to attach a 24“ piece of ribbon or trim.  Attach in the middle of the ribbon with a few stitches to secure.

DIY Gingham Travel Picnic Blanket - Tie

This turned out to be a great little picnic blanket for our honeymoon.  We used it to set our food on while sitting on a park bench or as a tablecloth for our balcony table.  Looking at it brings back memories of picnics of bread, cheese, prosciutto and fresh fruit.

(view from our balcony in Positano, Italy)

(picnic in a park in Cortona, Italy)

Since our honeymoon, I find myself packing this for hiking, climbing, car trips, picnics in local parks, etc.   You never know when it will come in handy.   It’s so small that it barely takes up any space. 

I think this makes a good gift.  My brother and his wife were talking about a trip to Italy so, as a gift, I made one of these and included the Rick Steve’s travel book on Italy and Rick Steve’s Italian Translation Dictionary.   (Tip – also include 3M tabs so they can mark their favorite locations).  The Rick Steve’s books were recommended by friends and given to us as a wedding gift and these were our ‘go-to’ books for our trip (despite the others we had also acquired).   You can’t go wrong with any book in the Rick Steve series of travel books!

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