Patriotic Dress and Blanket-Tote

This easy sewing project yields the perfect patriotic blanket for all your summer picnics. Bonus: it folds into itself to use as a tote!

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patriotic_dress_knit_diy

You guys might remember this patriotic sewing idea from last year when I guest posted on the Sugarbee Crafts blog. This dress and blanket are still some of my favorite patriotic projects so here’s some inspiration for you this summer! (Side note…do you believe how little Marilyn is here?? #allthefeels)

The dress is simply an Alcoy Dress made out of patriotic fabrics (red stripes from Girl Charlee several years ago, anchor fabric from a repurposed skirt)…read on for instructions on how to make the blanket/tote bag!

What you’ll need:

  • Large square of home decor fabric (mine was a 56″ square that I bought at Ikea; or about 2 2/3 yards of 56″ wide fabric)
  • 6 1/4 yards of coordinating bias tape
  • just over 2/3 yard of coordinating fabric for pocket and strap
  1.  Begin by sewing the bias tape around your square of fabric.  You can also choose to make your blanket two layers thick (a front and a back side) but mine was thick enough that I chose not to.
    picnic_blanket_carrying_tote
    You just sandwich the raw edge right inside the bias tape and stitch close to the folded edge.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that bias tape has one side that is slightly shorter than the other.  Be sure to put this shorter edge on top of the fabric so that your stitching catches the longer edge underneath.
  2. When you get to a corner, stitch all the way to the end of the fabric, then flatten our your bias tape corner as shown below.  picnic_blanket_carrying_tote_tutorial
    picnic_blanket_carrying_bag
    Fold the rest of the bias tape around the adjacent side of the fabric, creating a mitered corner like in the picture above.  Resume stitching right at that folded corner (you can use pins or binder clips to hold it in place).  Repeat with all four corners until you’re back where you started.
  3. Stop stitching just a few inches from the beginning.picnic_blanket_carrying_bag_DIYpicnic_blanket_bagUnfold the raw end of the bias tape and fold down horizontally about 1/2″.  Fold your previous folds back in place, overlap the beginning of the bias tape and sew to your blanket.picnic_blanket_bag_DIY
  4. Once your bias tape is in place, you’ll begin your pocket!  Cut two pieces of coordinating fabric into 14″ squares (you might need to adjust the size of your pocket if you make a bigger blanket than 56″).  Lay the pieces right sides together, and sew around 3 sides.  Clip the corners of your seam allowances and turn pocket right sides out.picnic_blanket_tote
    (A portion of my 4th side is sewn shut in the above picture but just ignore that goof! 🙂  Press all your seams and corners well, and fold in the open raw edges of that 4th side about 1/4″ to the inside.
  5. Create your straps by cutting a strip of your pocket fabric 40″ long x 5″ wide.  Fold it in half lengthwise and press.  Stitch down the entire long side opening, creating a tube of fabric.picnic_blanket_bag_tutorial
    Turn your tube right side out and press well.
  6. Insert your straps into the open edge of the pocket and topstitch this open edge closed.
    picnic_blanket_sewing
  7. Now topstitch your pocket to a corner of your blanket, along 3 sides, right along the bias tape trim.  Be sure the edge of the pocket with the straps is on one of the sides facing into the blanket, not along the bias tape (and leave this edge unsewn to the blanket!).  When you’re done, it should look like this:
    picnic_blanket_sewing_tutorial
    Voila!  All done!  Now just fold up your blanket like this:
    picnic_blanket
    picnic_blanket_tote_DIyFold it in half, then in half again lengthwise.  Then fold it into quarters, ending with the edge where the pocket is.  Turn the pocket inside out so that it surrounds the blanket and the strap hangs free.  Bonus: you can stash your wallet, phone, water bottles & any other essentials inside the bag when it’s all folded up!picnic_blanket_fold_into_tote
    picnic_blanket_DIY
    patriotic_dress_pattern
    Fun, huh?  Now I want to make all my blankets into blanket-totes!

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