My favorite birthday gift to make for grown up girls

I feel like I have been slacking a bit on the homemade gifts lately – okay I don’t just feel like it – I have!!  But you know some things take time – which I don’t have a lot of extra of!  Well I finally got my 1st little sister’s (I have 2 little sisters) birthday present done.  Only 3 weeks after her birthday!

A picnic blanket on ground with bag

I made her my favorite thing to give the adult ladies in my life – a picnic blanket!  They always turn out so cute and they are very practical, especially when you have kids.  And even if you didn’t, it’s still nice to have a dry spot to sit in a park for a picnic, or watch ball game, etc.

Originally I found this tutorial from Maureen Cracknell Handmade at the Moda Bake Shop for the picnic blanket.  It’s a simple quilt top, just large squares of fabric, sewn together for the top.  Here is the front of my sister’s blanket held up by my super tall husband (thanks honey!)  I used a Nested Owls Coral fat quarter pack from Adorn It that I got at Spring Quilt Market 2013 in Portland, OR.

A picnic blanket front

The genius part of this blanket is the bottom side!  It’s laminated cotton!  Cotton that has been coated with a plastic – so your blanket or bum doesn’t get wet from the morning dew (or the damp grass from last night’s rain shower).

A picnic blanket back

The two layers are sewn right sides together and turned so no need for binding.  To keep the layers together, I used baker’s twine to tie up the corners of each square.  It’s functional and cute.

I made my first picnic blanket for myself, more than a year ago.  Here is my blanket at the beach last year – a little sandy but this was the best picture!  I actually got fabric from the same line as the original tutorial – I loved it that much!

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After that first blanket, I have made 7 more now – 1 for a friend who wanted one after seeing mine, 3 for the same friend to give as gifts for Christmas, 1 to my BFF for her birthday, 1 to my sister in law for Christmas and 1 now to my sister.  Baby sis you will have to wait a little longer! 😉  I do have the laminated cotton for the back for 3 more blankets – just need to find the time of course!

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The friend who wanted one after seeing mine asked if I could make a bag for the folded blanket to go into for storage and transport.  By golly that’s genius!  Why didn’t I think of that!  So I made up a simple draw string bag the blanket could fit into, out of whatever fabric I had left after making the top.

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3J picnic blankets

With the bag, they really are great gifts!  The bags drawstring close tends to change every time I make them, but I think what I did for my sister’s I like.  I made button holes for the strings to come through – its cute and I didn’t have to do any fancy sewing/folding of the top!

A picnic blanket in bag

In making them now, I have strayed away from the dimensions outlined in the original tutorial – mainly because I am trying to use fabric that I already have.  As long as I can get the blocks to fit into a less than 44″ width I am good – since the laminated cotton is only 44″ wide.  I have used fat quarters, fat eights and yardage to make the tops and I have been getting the laminated cotton at fabric.com – the best price I have found anywhere since the stuff is on the pricey side.   I usually stick with the chevrons since they can go with just about anything – but there are some cute laminated cottons out there now!

I didn’t get pictures of all of the blankets I have made so far, but here is one of my sister in law’s in progress.  They initially seem like a lot of work, but I end up whipping them up in a few nights!

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Anyway, so that’s currently my favorite thing to make for grown up girl gifts – given I have the time!  I better schedule some time to make a few – more birthdays coming up soon!

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