You've got to love a quilty request and how could I say no to this one? My daughter, Ella, requested a picnic blanket with a waterproof backing to take on her adventures. I've made smaller versions with waterproof backings, like little changing mats but nothing quite so big, so I thought what a great excuse to test it out. I must say, despite my reservations it worked well. I'm not sure how waterproof the fabric is now it has holes punched in to it with the needle, but I'll settle for more waterproof than a traditional cotton and call it a win!
So here you go, this is how I made the slightly over the top Rainbow picnic blanket ....
First step was to come up with a design for the front, and as I'm a little bit rainbow mad I delved deep in to my minds sketch book and pulled this one out. I don't know if you are like me and are constantly thinking of designs, but I swear my mind is now full of mostly half finished quilts. Ella loves a rainbow too, so this felt appropriate and I've also been obsessed with 'cheats nine-patch' so I could combine the two nicely.
Making the Quilt
The quilt is made of 6 different blocks, all nine-patches, so its a great quick project, if you cheat. I love a quick cheat, or efficient process as I would have said in my old job, anything to skip the long bit.
The three rows of each nine-patch are created as one piece and then sewn together. To create the rows, you simply sew together the three individual 3 1/2" strips of fabrics, to make a long piece and then cut them in to 3 1/2" slices.
There are six blocks in total, three with a white background and three with a black background. Make 8 each of the white background blocks and 4 each of the black background fabrics.
To make the blocks:
STEP 1: Sew together the three long strips of fabric to make the rows of each block. So for Block 1, you need to make three rows by sewing together the following combinations.
- white, red, white
- red orange, yellow
- white, yellow,white
(a handy guide is at the bottom of the post giving the combinations and strip lengths)
STEP 2 : Iron the seams open and then cut in to 3 1/2" vertical strips
STEP 3: Once you have prepared all of the 3 1/2" vertical strips, you simply put them together in to the blocks.
Make 8 each of the white background blocks and 4 each of the black background fabrics.
Putting the top together
Once you have prepared all of the blocks it's a simple case of sewing them together in the layout below.
Backing and Quilting
I made this quilt with a waterproof fabric which I got from Profabrics, it's called 6oz PU Coated Nylon and is very like a medium weight Ripstop. It worked really well as it wasn't sticky like some waterproof fabrics can be. You can also get it in lots of colours which is a bonus.
I basted the quilt in the same way as usual, using spray baste, I'm not sure how pins would work as they would puncture holes in the waterproof side, but spray baste worked really well. It was quite interesting (for a quilting nerd) to see the spray on the waterproof fabric, its really fibrous, which I hadn't appreciated.
I thought quilting this would be a real challenge, but to my delighted surprise it was fairly simple. As the waterproof fabric wasn't sticky it slid through my machine really nicely and the walking foot kept everything together. I did choose to quilt it simply as I didn't want to mess it up half way through :) I went with diagonal lines going through the centre of the blocks and then back the other way to create a cross.
As you can see the blanket has been inspected by Indy (the kitten) and I think he likes it.
I hope the tutorial was helpful if you fancy making one, hopefully the sunshine might be coaxed out and then it can be properly tested.
NOTES & Measurements
It's a 1/4" seam as always and iron open the seams to get it nice and flat.
Below are the combinations and lengths of strips needed to make each row and the number of 3 1/2" vertical strips needed.
For the centre rows - 12 of each
Red, Orange, Yellow - Use 42" strips, or two 21" strips if using fat quarters.
Lime, Green, Aqua - Use 42" strips, or two 21" strips if using fat quarters.
Blue, Purple, Pink - Use 42" strips, or two 21" strips if using fat quarters.
For the white background rows - 8 of each
White, Red, White - Use 28" strips, or one and a half fat quarter strips
White, Yellow, White - Use 28" strips, or one and a half fat quarter strips
White, Lime, White - Use 28" strips, or one and a half fat quarter strips
White, Aqua, White - Use 28" strips, or one and a half fat quarter strips
White, Blue, White - Use 28" strips, or one and a half fat quarter strips
White, Pink, White - Use 28" strips, or one and a half fat quarter strips
For the black background rows - 4 of each
Black, Red, Black - Use 14" strips
Black, Yellow, Black - Use 14" strips
Black, Lime, Black -Use 14" strips
Black, Aqua, Black - Use 14" strips
Black, Blue, Black - Use 14" strips
Black, Pink, Black - Use 14" strips
The Fabrics I used:
- Black Background: Charcoal Alison Glass Sunprint (old one)
- Red: KONA Coral
- Orange: KONA Orange
- Yellow: KONA Citrus
- Lime: KONA Wasabi
- Green: KONA Peapod
- Aqua: KONA Bluegrass
- Blue: KONA Turquoise
- Purple: Violet
- Pink: KONA Brt Pink