Life’s a Picnic – Free Roll Up Picnic Blanket Tutorial

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Picnic without fear of wet bottoms or nasty picnic tables! Everyone is getting outside right now and we’ve got a simple tutorial for you for a BIG, fabulous, portable picnic blanket that will keep you dry and clean and snacking in style. It also makes a great emergency blanket to leave in the car, since it’s large, waterproof and warm. A roll-up picnic blanket makes a great gift for weddings or anniversaries in wedding colors, or a graduation gift in school colors! It’s really a perfect and memorable handmade gift for just about everyone.

This big, beautiful roll-up picnic blanket tutorial (finished size about 58” x 60”) needs:

Other materials can be used but be sure one is waterproof and one is cozy, and that both are durable and sewable. We’re using materials provided to us by Fabric Wholesale Direct free of charge so we could bring you this post and free tutorial, but all opinions are our own. Let’s take a look at these blanket-perfect fabrics!

Ottertex Canvas waterproof: This is a woven nylon fabric with a waterproof PVC backing. Per the FWD website, it is 0.55mm thickness and 600 x 600 denier; strong enough for military or camping applications. These fabrics weigh approximately 1.1lbs per linear yard making them convenient for transporting, while still heavy enough for extended use. Available in 32 colors! I’ve chosen Lime Green and Sunflower. I noticed both were well made. The Sunflower was slightly heavier and less flexible than the Lime Green.

The Polar Fleece I’m using is 100% polyester, and weighs approximately 16 oz per linear yard. Per FWD, the fabric is “intricately woven for a warm thick body that provides excellent insulation” and “has a unique tight anti-pill composition”. It’s available in 20 colors and I chose Neon Orange and Turquoise.

Let’s go! Use a ⅜” seam allowance throughout. You do not need to finish any seams.

1. Prewash washable fabrics and remove selvedges. Square up your edges if needed. Cut a 60” x 60” square (or as close as you can get depending on the width of your fabric). From the remaining piece of both fabrics, cut 1 flap using the printable pattern piece. From the remaining piece of the waterproof fabric, also cut 1 strap 40” x 4.25”.

2. With flap pieces right sides together sew the 3 sides including the rounded corners and leave the remaining long side open for turning. Clip curves and turn. Press (only if heat is OK for your fabric type! I chose to finger-press and then use sewing clips to hold the seam in place). Topstitch ¼” from the sewn edges. Also align the raw edges of the opening and machine-baste to hold them together.

3. Fold the strap in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew the long edge and turn, using a safety pin or other turning tool. I’ve got a hint here if your waterproof fabric is very stiff – carefully and mindfully run a warm iron over it to make it temporarily more pliable for turning. Topstitch ¼” from the sewn edges. You can also use a 2″-wide webbing strap.

4. Locate and mark the center top edge of your blanket. With the waterproof side of the flap against the waterproof side of the blanket (so, fleece side up), align center marks and raw edges. Fold the very ends of the strap in half and clip into place just outside the outer edges of the flap, being sure the strap is not twisted (pic below). It’s recommended to stop and baste the straps and flap here.

Here’s a real-life pic of the flap and strap placements, showing the folded end of the strap. This will help the strap hang the right way on your finished roll-up picnic blanket.

5. Lay the fleece right-sides together with the waterproof fabric, which will sandwich the flap and strap between the fleece and waterproof fabrics. Beginning on the edge opposite the flap, sew all the way around the blanket, leaving an 8″ to 10″ gap for turning – this will depend on the stiffness and thickness of the fabrics you’re using, but for stiff and/or thick fabrics, be sure to leave a gap that won’t leave you struggling.

Turn right side out. Press (again, only if heat is OK for your fabric type! I chose to finger-press and then use sewing clips to hold the seam in place) and turn the edges of the turning gap under. Topstitch ¼” from the sewn edges, all the way around.

6. Attach a snap (I used a size 20 KAM snap) or sew 2 pieces of hook-and-loop tape to the flap at the marks indicated on the pattern piece.

Fold up your blanket using the instructions below to determine where to place the corresponding snap or hook-and-loop tape, mark placement and set the remaining snap or sew the remaining tape! You’re done!

Here’s how to fold: With fleece side up and flap at the top, fold into thirds lengthwise, then fold widthwise in half, in half again, and in half again! Snap and go! 


I hope you love your picnic blanket, don’t forget to check out Fabric Wholesale Direct for these great fabrics we used, and if you love downloadable sewing patterns, check out our selection of more than 100 patterns for baby, child, women, men, and home at