Sewing Project

Picnic Cloth

Don’t you just love picnics in the park or out in the country? Who needs a picnic table when you have your own picnic cloth. Keep it folded in the back of the car, ready for an impromptu lunch. It’s simple, It’s stylish, it’s practical – what more could you ask for? Valori Wells and Carolyn Spencer show us how.


13 different cotton prints ½ yd each
3.2 m (3 ½ yds) of cotton fabric for backing sides
1 yd of cotton fabric for backing centre
6 strand embroidery floss/embroidery thread
Embroidery needle
Finger cots for embroidery
15” square ruler

Finished picnic cloth:  72 ½” square


Cut 2 × 38 cm square (15” square) from each of the 13 different cotton prints – you will have 1 left over.

Cut 4 × 4 cm (29 ¼”) x width from the 3.2 m of cotton fabric or the backing sides

Cut 2 × 39 cm (15 ½”) x width of the 1 yd cotton fabric for the backing centre.

Start Sewing

Seam allowances are ¼”

1. Use the floor to arrange the cotton squares into a colour arrangement that you like (5 rows by 5 squares each – see front layout). Remember you’ll have one piece left over.

2. Stitch together the squares in each row first.

3. Press the seam allowances for each row in alternate directions to the seams nest when you stitch the rows together.

4. Pin the first row to the second. Nest the seams of opposite blocks, pinning at the seams. Stitch row 1 to row 2.

5. Repeat step 4 to pin and stitch row 2 to 3, row 3 to 4 and then row 5 to 4. You now have a completed front. Press.

6. Cut off the selvedge edges from the backing pieces. Stitch together the short edges of the 2 backing side pieces and repeat for the remaining pieces. Press the seams in alternating directions as before.

7. Refer to the diagram a long side and stitch the panels together, matching the centre seams.

8. Press the backing and lay it on the floor. Centre the pieced front right side down on the backing and trim the backing edges even with the front edges.

HANDY HINT: if the front is wider than the backing, don’t panic! Piece the extra fabric that was trimmed from the backing ends as needed to make a strip log enough to go down the side. Stitch the added strip to the backing and then press.

9. Place the backing and the pieced front right sides together and pin.

10. Use envelope-style construction to stitch around the edge leaving a 15” opening to turn through.

11. Trim the points from each corner but ensure you don’t cut the stitching.

12. Turn the picnic cloth right side out. And press.

13. Use large safety pins to pin the layers together, pinning every square to keep securely in place with the backing.

14. Use embroidery floss that complements your colour scheme to embroider and keep layers together.

HANDY HINT: Use the programmed stitches on your sewing machine to create a decorative pattern.

15. Finally whipstitch the opening closed.

Use up scraps of fabrics, fat quarters and make several in different colours to give as presents. The picnic cloth is ready for use – choose your favourite spot, pack a tasty lunch, and enjoy!

Further information

This project has reproduced with the kind permission from C&T Publishing. Oh Sew Easy Lifestyle by Valori Wells & Carolyn Spencer (ISBN 9781571204448) is ideal for beginner sewers or those who don’t have much time to spare will find some nice easy makes to brighten up their home. There are 20 projects for a variety of items for kitchens, bathrooms and living areas, plus some great gift ideas for all members of the family.  The projects are made in an array of bright and cheerful fabrics and come complete with detailed instructions and clear diagrams. Sewing basics are included with step-by-step techniques for sewing seams, hems, piping and decorative hand stitches. This super book is published by C&T and retails at £14.99 in paperback. For further details or to order a copy contact the Roundhouse Group on tel: 01273 704962.  




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