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5 days to sewing and quilting a fabulous picnic set

5 days to sewing and quilting a fabulous picnic set

by Julie Plotniko

There’s nothing quite like a picnic to bring family and friends together. No matter the weather, food always seems to tastes better and the conversation is easy. With a basket full of supplies simply add your favorite foods and you’re ready to head out for a relaxing adventure.

My picnic basket was used for my wedding pictures (with champagne of course) and has taken my family to countless places over the years. I think it’s time to give it a fresh new look.

Over the next five days, I’ll show you how to use a variety of products from UNIQUE, Heirloom, Fairfield, Gütermann,Sulky and SCHMETZ to create a fabulous picnic set with ease.

I’m using the April Showers fabric collection from Northcott throughout. This lovely collection features beautiful vibrant flowers, butterflies and of course umbrellas. Don’t worry though. It won’t rain on our picnic. Let’s get started!

My picnic basket is ready for its new supplies

Day 1 – reversible weighted picnic tablecloth

I love the luxury of a beautiful fabric tablecloth so we’ll start off our new picnic set by making one that is reversible. This way we can change the look of our picnic set simply by reversing the tablecloth. What fun!

A variety of notions will aid in the construction and make this tablecloth one that is uniquely suited to outdoor use.



  • 2¼ yds each of two different fabrics; April Showers 22594-10 and 22595-81 was used in this sample

My tablecloth fabrics from the April Showers collection

2 packages UNIQUE curtain weights (4 to a package)

UNIQUE curtain weights

UNIQUE Crafter’s Choice fusible backing

Fairfield Poly-fil Project Fleece

Heirloom plastic head quilting pins


Preparation and sewing

I’m using a fun no math way to construct the table cloth. To accomplish this I’m trimming just one piece of fabric to start. It doesn’t matter which fabric as the table cloth will be reversible.

Using a rotary cutter, quilting ruler and cutting mat straighten both of the short sides of the fabric.
Be fairly generous with the amount that you trim off. This piece needs to be about 2″ shorter than the second piece of fabric.

Straighten the edge of the fabric on the long sides removing the selvedge edges as you do this.
Once again, this piece of fabric needs to be narrower than the other piece, so trim off at least ½” extra beyond the selvedge edge.

Next, use UNIQUE SEWING 2-in-1 Marking Pen to mark placement lines along the two long sides.
Measure 10″ in from the corner and place a mark on the wrong side of the fabric.

Measure over 18″ and place a second mark. Repeat working from the opposite corner. You’ll now have four marks along one long side.

Mark the opposite long side the same way. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be exact.

Mark the edge for the placement of the weights.

It’s so nice to have a tablecloth that stays on the table while you’re enjoying your picnic. The batting inside will help with this but we’re adding a fabulous notion to make it even better!

UNIQUE curtain weights are normally used to weight the bottom of curtains so that they hang straight.

This little notion is a real treasure for quilters. I like to keep them on hand to weight the bottom of wallhangings and art quilts to make them hang perfectly. Today I’m using them to help stop the tablecloth from lifting off the table on a breezy day.

To attach the curtain weights to the tablecloth fabric I rely on Crafter’s Choice fusible backing, another great notion from UNIQUE. This firm, fusible interfacing is suitable for a variety of craft projects. I’m using it to create little pockets to hold the curtain weights in place.

Start by cutting eight strips 2″ x 6″ from the Crafter’s Choice fusible backing.

The shiny side of Crafter’s Choice fusible backing is the fusible side.

Fold each piece in half with the shiny, fusible side in. Your pieces will measure 2″ x 3″ and the shiny sides will be touching.

Fold the strip in half with the shiny side in

Center each folded strip over top of one of the markings on the wrong side of the trimmed and marked tablecloth fabric and pin in place.

Once sewn this will form a pocket to hold one of the curtain weights.
The fold should be against the outside edge.

Prepare the sewing machine with an all-purpose foot and a SCHMETZ 90/14 Quilting Needle.
This needle will easily sew through the layers.

Thread the machine with Gütermann 50 weight cotton in a color that goes well with your fabric.
Strong and durable yet oh-so-pretty this is the perfect thread for construction, topstitching and quilting. I used white as it looks beautiful on both of my fabrics.

Sew the two sides and across the folded bottom.
I used the edge of my foot to sew a little less than ½” away from the edge on the sides and sewed close to the folded bottom edge.

You’ll need a little more than a 1″ space between the two lines of stitching so that your weight will fit.

Don’t sew the top yet. Sew the remaining pockets the same way.

Now for the fun!

Sew the sides and bottom in place where indicated by the dotted lines.

Slide a UNIQUE curtain weight inside one of the pockets made of UNIQUE Crafter’s Choice fusible backing. The channel is quite narrow to keep the weight in place width-wise but has plenty of room for the weight to move up and down. This is so you can slide it out of the way while sewing. As you insert each weight slide it down the channel and stitch the top of the pocket closed.

Slide a weight inside and sew across the top opening

It’s time to layer and complete our picnic tablecloth

I’m using an easy layering technique to complete the tablecloth.

Start by smoothing a piece of Fairfield Poly-fil Project Fleece out on a table or other flat surface.
The batting should be several inches larger than the trimmed tablecloth piece.

Next, smooth the second untrimmed piece of fabric on top of the batting and with the RIGHT side facing up.

The batting should be larger than the fabric

Finally lay your trimmed and weighted fabric on top, right sides DOWN. You should have about an inch extra of the un-trimmed fabric all the way around to make it easy to pin and keep everything flat.

Use the Heirloom plastic head quilting pins to pin the three layers together all the way around the outside edge.

Pin through all layers around the outside edge

Replace the multi-purpose foot on your sewing machine with a walking foot to help ensure that all the layers move through the machine evenly.

Stitch around the outside edge leaving a 6″ opening on one side used to turn the piece right side out. It’s better to use a generous seam allowance here. I used the edge of my walking foot as my guide.

Move the weights up in their pockets as you come to them to give you room to stitch.

Move the curtain weights up to allow you to stitch past them.

We’re almost done!

Double-check that you’ve caught all your edges and that everything is laying flat.
Use your rotary cutter, ruler and mat to trim off the extra batting and fabric so that they’re even with the edges of the top fabric.

Carefully trim a little extra off the corners.

Reach inside the 6″ opening and turn the tablecloth right sides out. Like magic, the batting is now on the inside.

Turn the tablecloth right sides out.

Press well ensuring that the edges are nice and even but don’t press where the weights are yet.
Slip Stitch the opening closed.

Topstitch close to the edge all the way around. This will add strength and stop the edges from rolling in during use. Remember to push the weights up out of the way for stitching.

If you topstitch at ¼”, it would secure the opening where you turned without having to hand stitch.

Give the tablecloth a final pressing.

This time push the weights all the way down towards the topstitching and press.
Our UNIQUE Crafter’s Choice fusible backing will fuse to itself sealing the pockets so that the weights no longer slide up and down.

Note: Though beautiful the way it is, you could also use your tablecloth to practice quilting.
You don’t want to overdo it and draw in the edges so a simple walking foot grid would be perfect.

The beautifully finished tablecloth

Our reversible weighted picnic tablecloth is ready to use and a wonderful way to start filling our picnic basket.

Notions from UNIQUE and Heirloom, Fairfield batting, SCHMETZ needles and Gütermann thread have made creating our project a breeze.

Join me tomorrow as I use more of the April Showers collection to create some wonderful double-sided fabric napkins to add to the picnic set.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: 5 days to sewing and quilting a fabulous picnic set

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