When browsing aisles of vintage goods, there are a few things I am always looking for and certain to come home with. Linens. I have always been drawn to textiles. I love their colors and how they feel…… and those that have had a history before they make it into my hands are all the more treasured. Sheets, pillowcases, embroidered bits and pieces. A big yellow suitcase in my sewing corner houses them all. I know this obsession drives my dear husband a little crazy. He jokes that while some people collect bells or lighthouses or even a zillion pairs of shoes….. his wife collects fabric. I’ve been collecting summery colored cotton sheets for awhile with a patchwork project in mind. It finally all came together just this spring.
A patchwork picnic blanket. It’s really a simple quilt with a few shortcuts that make it an afternoon project. You need at least two vintage sheets for the project, but it certainly is fun to have several. I had five prints for the one pictured here and cut five squares from each.
2 or more vintage cotton sheets for patchwork top
1 repurposed flannel sheet for batting, or about 3 yards of flannel (45 inch width)
3 yards of Linen or another sheet for the backing (45 inch width)
1 Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler *optional*
Wash & press all fabric. The flannel batting doesn’t need to be pressed, just washed. Cut the sheets for the top into 25 14×14 inch squares.
Lay the fabric out on a bed or on the floor to choose a layout for your squares. If you are pressed for space, just fold them up into quarters. The layout can be something random or a repetitive pattern, whatever you like. Pick the squares up one row at a time in order so that it’s easy to keep them in the pattern you’ve chosen as you sew.
Begin by sewing the squares into rows of five, pressing the seams open. Then sew the rows together, pressing the seams open. Your patchwork top is done! Now you need to square it up with a large ruler and scissors or rotary cutter.
Cut your backing and flannel to match the size of the top. If you are using store-bought flannel or linen, you may need to sew two pieces together to make the piece large enough. Square up the flannel & linen pieces so they are the same size as the patchwork top. I actually used a piece of 60 inch linen and trimmed my patchwork top so I could use just 2 yards of fabric. Next you will lay out your pieces in the following order: Patchwork top right side up on the bottom, backing wrong side up in the middle, and flannel lining on the top. Double check to make sure the right sides of the backing fabric and patchwork top are facing one another.
Pin the sides, leaving a six-inch space for turning the blanket right side out. Sew around the blanket with a 1 inch seam, being sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. Clip the corners of the blanket 1/4 inch from the seam. Turn the blanket right side out and press the edge.
Topstitch the blanket with a 1/4 inch seam to finish.
Now you may leave the blanket as is.
Or you can use cotton embroidery floss to tie the quilt at each corner of the patchwork squares.
Roll it up and take it along for a picnic dessert with fresh strawberry rhubarb cobbler and your best vintage silver.
Stephinie is a wife, mama, gardener, homeschooler, earth lover and writer of Gypsy Forest . She spends her days in a house full of wild kids, funny pets, a guitar playing man, sewing items for the shop, and snapping photos along the way. Her family is currently learning to live sustainably in the south, wondering where the next move will take them and always dreaming of their someday farm.