Monday, March 30, 2009

oilcloth picnic mat tutorial

After reading the new book by EllynAnne Geisel, The Kitchen Linens Book: Using, Sharing, and Cherishing the Fabrics of Our Daily Lives, I just had to make this pretty picnic mat for my family. The day my family spent flying kites in a wet field I knew we needed one of these, but it was the section on picnics that made the idea a reality. My philosophy for both shops Modern June and Oilcloth Addict is that small things in life help to make big memories. I know EllynAnne feels the same way. Linens of all types evoke fond memories.

Check out my review of the book at Sew Mama Sew! Don't forget to leave a comment after reading the post, Sew Mama Sew is giving away 6 books!!!

Be aware my mat is a big one, 8' x 8', just great for a family of four. Feel free to scale up or down for your needs.

Stuff you gotta have:
4 yards of oilcloth, seen in Lime Green Gingham
A fat quarter of a fun fruity oilcloth pattern, appliques are from the Apples and Pears Oilcloth
Rotary cutter
Ruler or yard stick
Gypsy Gripper, an optional tool I can not live with out.

step 1. Cut cut out your appliques and take your four yards of oilcloth and cut it into two equal parts ( two, two yard pieces)

step 2. Pin your appliques in the correct corners. You are doing this first so don't have to wrangle that big mat under the machine like it did! Trust me do it now while it is in pieces!

step 3. Sew your appliques into place.

Tip! When turning sharp corners leave your needle in the down, lift pressure foot and then turn.

step 4. Sew your two sides together making a large 8 foot square. Sew right sides together using a 1/2 SA. I suggest you place your machine on the largest table you have, this is a lot of oilcloth, a large table will help support the bulk and keep you happy.

step 5. Lay oilcloth face up roll both sides of the up so you can easily get to your seam. Now finger press your seam off to the left. There is no need to pin.

step 6. Back at the machine you are going to want to do an edge stitch off to the left. This is going to strengthen your seam and substitute not being able to iron. This will help that seam behave. As you stitch make sure both sides of the seam are off to the left.

Tip! I like to use the inside edge of the presser foot as a guide to keep my top stitch straight.

step 7. Fold you hem up one inch and sew one side, then do a faux mitered corner. Or better yet check out this tut for the real thing. I wish I had looked that up when I was sewing up the hem.

Note! Oilcloth does not fray so you could leave this edge raw or pink the edges. I hemmed the mat to help give it body and weight. Wind can ruin a picnic so I figure every bit helps.

step 8. Clean up. Oilcloth is very easy to clean, simply whip clean with a damp cloth. EllynAnne has a great tip for easy clean up at a picnic, she suggests that we eat on and extra tablecloth so when you are done you can wrap it all up and take it home. This leaves the picnic mat ready for relaxation time.

step 9. Storage. Keep the creases away by folding it in half and then rolling it up. Your local fabric shop should happily give you their empty cardboard rolls.

Picnic season is coming, Happy Spring!!!


mauirizarry said...

Very nice thank you. Got to go and get some oilcloth, you're right spring is here, summer soon around the corner. said...

Oh that is great and I *love* the appliques! I'll be linking to this.

Kelly McCants said...

Thanks! It is a fun project!

Anne said...

Great tutorial! You know that you're solely responsible for my recent obsession with oilcloth, don't you?

I've posted a link on Craft Gossip Sewing Blog:…icnic-blanketstutorial-oilcloth-makes-great-picnic-blankets/2009/04/02/

Kelly McCants said...

that is great, I can't be addicted all by myself!

Marisa said...

This is my first experience with oilcloth, and I'm loving it! Thanks so much for your tips--they really helped.

I made a picnic blanket with an oilcloth bottom and flannel top, to make it cozier. I blogged about it, and included a link to your blog for the fabulous tips:


Anonymous said...

Your blog is inspirational to say the least. I have recently gotten into sewing with oilcloth and have found your advice and tutorials invaluable,Thankyou.

Kelly McCants said...

WOW, you have just made my day