Make A Thing: Water-Resistant Picnic Blanket and Matching Napkins

Welcome to the gazillionth installment of Make A Thing where we make handmade gifts for people. Or ourselves. Or our cats. Mostly our cats.

Header by Rory Midhani

(I was so excited to ask my friend Torre to make this picnic blanket for all of you. She’s pretty much the coolest, craftiest person I know and you’re going to love it! – Hansen)

It is summer and basically I get a little pouty if I don’t get to be outside 90% of the time. I will find any excuse to be outside. This means bikes, canned champagne on my patio, naps under trees and picnics. Picnics combine two of the best things. Food and naps under trees. One way to totally ruin my picnic experience is soggy grass. No one likes soggy bum especially if you are wearing a cute picnic outfit.



Water-Resistant Picnic Blanket With Matching Napkins

Supplies needed:
+ 2 Yards of pre quilted fabric (this should be a layer of fluffy batting sandwiched between two layers of a cotton blend. At Joann’s Fabric this came in 42″ panels)
+ 2 Yards of a water resistant nylon blend (at Joann’s Fabric this came in 60″ wide panels)
+ 6 ½ Yards of ½” extra wide double fold bias tape
+ 1/2 Yard of complimentary cotton fabric (for the napkins)
+ A smattering (technical term) of fun buttons
+ Needle and thread
+ Cutting and measuring tools (scissors, rotary cutter, measuring tape)
+ A Sewing Machine
+ Iron and Ironing board


1. Pre-wash and dry the quilted fabric and the cotton fabric. Do not bother with the nylon. It won’t shrink and will probs melt in the dryer (do not iron the nylon, it will melt).

2. Because this is a big project I just dedicated my living room floor to the cause. Lay out your nylon (right side down). Lay the quilted fabric down on top (right side facing up). Even up two of the perpendicular edges.


3. Pin the two fabrics together along the edges (wrong sides together). I bought my fabric at Joann’s Fabric and annoyingly they sell their quilted cotton at 42 inches wide and the nylon at 60 inches wide. So trim off the excess nylon.



4. Baste stitch using your sewing machine around the entire edge. Baste stitching will be the longest stitch setting your machine has available. I used a 5/8″ seam allowance. I also rounded the corners (this is optional).


5. Trim off any excess fabric around the corners.


6. Then comes the super fun task of pinning the bias tape around the entire edge of the blanket. I started on a part of the blanket about 8″ away from one of the corners. You will want to try to pin the bias tape on evenly so that the blanket edge is nestled right in the center fold of the double fold bias tape.



7. Work your way around the entire blanket. When you find yourself back at the starting point trim the bias tape with a bout 1 ½ “ overlap. Fold that overlap under and pin in place.




8. Using your sewing machine set at a 2.5 length stitch work your way around the entire blanket. I went around the entire blanket twice: First using a 5/8″ seam allowance, then following the very inner edge of the bias tape.



9. I like to hide any imperfections with buttons the way Bob Ross uses birds in his paintings. That stitch that squiggled around on you? It’s a happy little decorative button now. I hand-sewed a few buttons on the corners mainly for decoration but added a few extras around the border where I had battled with the bias tape.


Tada! Water-resistant picnic blanket!

Adorable Cloth Napkins (for cuteness and the environment)

1. Cut out 4 12”x12″ squares of your pre-washed cotton fabric.


2. Using a hot steamy iron, press a 1/2″ fold into the edge of the square.


3. Then press the corners in 1/2″ at a 45 degree angle.


4. Press the border another ½” inward. The corners should form a nice mitered edge.


5. Using your sewing machine, still set at a 2.5 stich, topstitch around the entire napkin with a 3/8″ seam allowance.


6. Then press using steam again. Pressing with steam as you go results in a more profesh looking end product (do not press the nylon fabric – it will melt!)


I tested out the new picnic set with Kiyomi (my platonic life partner) and her girlfriend Serina who are pretty much the two cutest humans ever.


You, too, can have a perfect summer picnic with beautiful queers if you make this thing!

Torre lives in Denver where she is finishing up her A.A. before pursuing a degree in costuming. She once made felted devil horns in two minutes. It’s probably a world record but she does it for love, not trophies.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Queer Femme Jill-of-all-trades who is always way too busy. I live in Denver, love vintage stuff and I am pretty obsessed with cheese.

Torrebelle has written 1 article for us.


  1. Yay Torre! Excellent amounts of measuring and cutting and sewing skills put to use here! I really want to come to a picnic where one of these blanket/napkin sets + dapper queers are present!

  2. FINALLY the world gets to learn from the craftiest hottest pinup I know. Congrats on your foray into writing!

Comments are closed.