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A perfect picnic quilt is made of a simple quilt design

A perfect picnic quilt is made of a simple quilt design

by Julie Plotniko

Here we are at our final day of 5 Days to a fabulous picnic set.

Our baskets are full to the brim with a beautiful reversible tablecloth, double-sided cloth napkins, reversible fabric bowl covers and even a bottle of wine in its own cozy.

A variety of products from UNIQUE, Heirloom, Fairfield, Gütermann, SULKY and SCHMETZ have helped us create our fabulous picnic set. Fabric from the April Showersfabric collection has given our projects such a fresh and cheerful appearance.

No picnic is complete without a soft and cozy blanket so today we’ll finish off by making a picnic quilt that’s perfect for laying out in the sun during the day and stargazing at night.

The perfect picnic quilt to finish our set

One block quilts give a fresh modern look to patchwork.
Large pieces and simple construction make this quilt go together quickly and with only three fabrics to choose it’s easy enough for quilters of all skill levels.


All fabrics areApril Showers by Northcott

Fabric 1) 2¼ yds 22594-10 for the main print
Fabric 2) 2 yds 22595-81 for the star points and binding
Fabric 3) 2 yds 22593-61 for the accent and border

4¼ yds for a pieced backing, 22593-61 was used for this sample

The fabrics for my picnic quilt

Fairfield Soft and Toasty natural cotton quilt batting minimum size 76″ x 76″

Fairfield Soft & Toasty batting

2 or 3 packages Heirloom curved safety pins

Heirloom curved safety pins


Heirloom quilting pins

Gütermann 50 weight cotton thread for piecing and quilting

SCHMETZ 75/11 quilting needles

Rotary cutter, quilting ruler and mat

Sewing machine with ¼” piecing foot and walking foot

cutting instructions

All strips are cut the width of fabric.

From fabric 1 cut

(3) 10½” strips – sub cut eight 10½” squares
(2) 10⅞” strips – subcut six 10⅞” squares
(1) 20½” square

From fabric 2 cut

(4) 10⅞” strips – sub cut twelve 10⅞” squares
(8) 2½” strips for your binding

From fabric 3 cut

(2) 10⅞” strips – sub cut six 10⅞” squares
(8) 5½” strips for your borders

Layer each of the six 10⅞” squares of fabric 1 right sides together with a 10⅞” square of fabric 2.
Cut in half once on the diagonal. You’ll have 12 pairs of large triangles.

Layer each of the six 10⅞” squares of fabric 3 right sides together with the remaining six 10⅞” squares of fabric 2. Cut in half once on the diagonal. You’ll have 12 pairs of large triangles.

Piecing the quilt

Prepare the sewing machine with a ¼” piecing foot and a SCHMETZ 75/11 quilting needle.
The special tapered design of the quilting needle will help us to achieve accurate piecing.
Thread the machine with Gütermann 50 weight cotton thread to match your fabric.

All seam allowances are a scant quilters ¼”. This is just under a measured ¼”.

Sew all of the triangle pairs together on the long side. This is the edge where you cut the squares apart. Press the seams towards the darker of the two fabrics.

You’ll have 6 half square triangle squares of fabrics 1 and 2.

Six half square triangle squares of fabrics 1 and 2

You’ll have 6 half square triangle squares of fabrics 2 and 3.

Six half-square squares of fabrics 2 and 3

Believe it or not, you’re ready to start sewing the body of the quilt together.

Start by laying out the quilt by following the color diagram. Pay close attention to the direction that the half square triangles are facing. The 20½” square is in the very center.

Piecing diagram for the perfect picnic quilt

Don’t worry if it looks as if the pieces don’t fit together at first. Sew the quilt together in rows starting with the top row.

Pin the squares together prior to stitching with Heirloom quilting pins. Refer back to the diagram often to keep everything in the correct order.

Sew the second row in the same manner.

Press the seam allowances of the rows in opposite directions to help reduce the bulk and make pinning easier. In other words, if you press the top row to the right then press the second row to the left.

Sew the first and second rows together pinning well so that the squares line up.

Repeat for the bottom two rows.

The center section is a bit different because of the large square in the middle.
To make this section go together, sew the four short rows on either side of the center square first.

Next, sew the short rows together in pairs to make pieced squares that are the same size as the center square.

Sew the three large squares together to make the center section.

Remember to press the seam allowances in opposite directions as you go.

Finally, sew the top and bottom sections to the center section and voilà you have a quilt top!

Wow, that was fast!

We could stop here and the quilt would be gorgeous but as I like a large quilt for picnics I decided to add a border.

Trim the short edge of the border strips and remove the selvedge at the same time.

Sew together in pairs to make four long border pieces.

Cut two 60½” x 5½” pieces.
Pin well to the sides of the quilt with Heirloom quilting pins.
Stitch in place. Press the seam allowances towards the border.

From the two remaining pieced border strips cut two 70½” x 5½” pieces.
Sew to the top and bottom of the quilt. Don’t forget to pin!
Press the seam allowances towards the border.

We’re almost done!

The finish line

Cut two 76″ x width of fabric pieces from the backing fabric. Remove the selvedges straightening the sides at the same time.
Sew the two pieces, right sides together to create a 76″ x 84″ backing.

The quilt is 70½” square make the backing and batting to be a little bit larger. Trim the backing to measure 76″ x 76″ or simply leave the extra to be trimmed after quilting.

Lay the backing out with the right sides down.

Smooth the batting on top of the backing fabric. Fairfield Soft and Toasty natural cotton is the perfect batting for our picnic quilt.

Finally, center the finished quilt top onto the batting and smooth in place.

Pin baste using Heirloom curved safety pins.
Made especially for quilting these actually make pin basting fun as they slide quickly through the layers and come out on top for easy pinning.

Pin baste your quilt

Set your machine for quilting with the walking foot and Gütermann 50wt cotton thread in a color to blend with your fabrics.
I used white throughout as it just looks so clean and fresh.
Your SCHMETZ 75/11 quilting needle is as expert at machine quilting as it’s at piecing.

This is the perfect project for practicing machine quilting.
Stitching in the ditch with a walking foot.

Consider quilting the center square with a diagonal grid. How about following the edge of the large triangles or stitching stars in the plain squares.
You could even quilt a diagonal grid across the entire quilt.
Anything goes as long as you have fun!

Once you’re happy with your quilting all that’s left to do is to trim away the extra batting and backing and bind your quilt.
Sew the binding strips all together to make a continuous binding and attach using your favorite binding method.

The finished picnic quilt

Our picnic set is complete and ready for adventure.

All of our projects were easy to make with notions from UNIQUE and Heirloom, SCHMETZ needles, SULKY thread, Gütermann thread and Fairfield batting.

Fabric from April Showers by Northcott helped make our picnic set as pretty as can be.

Now it’s time to enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal at your favorite beach or park, a flower-filled meadow or even your very own back yard.

Time spent with family and friends is so precious that I hope your new picnic set will help you make some wonderful new memories.

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Keeping the wine cool at the picinic with UNIQUE quilting therm fleece

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Athena S September 12, 2019 - 6:44 am

Love this quilt. Very pretty

Julie Plotniko September 12, 2019 - 7:45 pm

Thanks Athena
I hope you have fun making your very own picnic quilt!

Pam September 3, 2019 - 8:52 pm

What a fun quilt! I especially like the idea of using it for stargazing!

Julie Plotniko September 10, 2019 - 1:25 am

Thanks Pam
I hope you create many wonderful memories stargazing on your picnic quilt.
Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see some shooting stars!

Laura S August 31, 2019 - 11:22 am

Great series on picnic stuff, I’m inspired to make some for our family. That butterfly fabric is wonderful, perfect for a cheery picnic blanket!

Julie Plotniko September 10, 2019 - 1:31 am

Thanks Laura
I love the butterfly print as well and I’m so happy that you are feeling inspired to make some of the projects for your family.
Happy quilting, Julie

MaryBeth Little August 27, 2019 - 12:04 pm

Cute quilt. It would nice with any number of color combinations.

Julie Plotniko September 10, 2019 - 1:51 am

Thanks MaryBeth
You’re so right about the color combinations.
Wouldn’t it be fun to do four different ones in the colors of the four seasons?
Hope you have fun!


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