Patchwork & Appliqué

Picnic Quilts that are Perfect for Summer

It’s that time of year again! Every weekend is full of parties, sporting events and social gatherings that land you outdoors. During this season of warm weather, it’s nice to have a picnic quilt tucked away in the trunk of your vehicle, always on hand. Pull it out and you have a beautiful, comfortable place to settle in.

What is a picnic quilt? There is no fancy definition, it is exactly what it sounds like: a quilt that’s used for picnics.

Rather than using any old blanket, it is a fun way to incorporate your fabric into everyday life.

When planning a picnic quilt, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • This quilt is going to get dirty! It will be laying directly on the ground, so this is inevitable. When choosing fabrics, be sure to pick those that you won’t mind getting a little muddy. Picnic quilts need to be washed often.
  • It is best to save your favorite fabrics for a quilt that stays indoors. Picnic quilts face a ton of wear and tear. Scraps are perfect for this kind of project. Rather than choosing intricate quilt designs, pick basic patterns that are less time consuming. That way, when the quilt becomes worn or stained, you won’t be beating yourself up.
  • Choose bright, printed fabrics. They will hide dirt and stains much better than lighter, solid fabrics. Save those low-volume fabrics for another quilt!
  • Be creative when backing your picnic quilt. This is the part that receives the highest amount of dirt. Think outside the box here! Repurpose linens from your home and back your quilt with an old bedspread or vintage sheet. Heavier fabrics that you may have lying around, like flannel, canvas, chambray or denim, make great backings. These heavy materials add a great weight to the quilt, making it harder for it to blow away in the breeze.

What are some patterns that work especially well for this type of quilt?

I don’t know about you, but patchwork screams picnic quilt to me! Simple squares sewn together in timeless patchwork fashion fit the bill.

Picnic Quilt
Photo via Freda’s Hive

Step it up a notch with this picnic quilt tutorial from Nanette at Freda’s Hive. This quilt features squares in two different sizes. This is the perfect way to use up your scraps — even the smallest pieces.

Triangle Picnic Quilt
Photo via Moda Bake Shop

Try Penny‘s free picnic-quilt tutorial for Moda Bake Shop. This will show you how to create an extra large quilt comprised of isosceles triangles. Not only will you learn how to sew perfect points, you will also make a carrying handle out of the leftover scraps.

Laminate Picnic Quilt
Photo via Maureen Cracknell Handmade

Make sure you also check out the laminate picnicquilt tutorial by Maureen Cracknell. This quilt consists of a patchwork quilt top that is backed by laminate fabric. No need to worry about keeping dry when you use this quilt!

Scrap Quilting with Pepper Cory will show you how to make beautiful quilts with fabric you already have on hand. And learn tricks for seeing immediate results with pre-cuts in Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple with Camille Roskelley. These classes are perfect for quilters of all levels. Not only will you become more confident in your quilting skills, you will learn plenty of new techniques that will help you create the perfect picnic quilt!

What are your favorite picnic-quilt patterns?



Linda Stevens

My favorite picnic quilt is a vintage crazy quilt that I bought off of E-bay. It has a light flannel sheet for the back. The front consists of faded, vintage assorted small cotton prints. I have patched and repaired it several times. One day while taking my grandsons to the park for a picnic I grabbed this quilt (since it’s not one of my “special” ones)…and it has been my “outdoor” or “picnic” quilt ever since! We also take it to the beach, splash pad etc;

Sue in CA

I think denim quilts make some of the best picnic quilts, they are heavier, sturdier and can stand up to sand, sun, and lots of laundering.


I’m currently making a denim quilt that I want to use as a picnic quilt. What type of fabric would you use as a backing? Would flannel be okay in sand or grass? I keep reading that people use flannel as their backing with flannel, and not use batting, yet I’m not sure if it will be okay if it will work outside.


I made a cute picnic quilt from a Natalie Bonner pattern called ‘It’s a Picnic Kind of Day’. The pattern is in the book Fresh Fabric Treats by Moda Bake Shop designers. It’s mostly red and white with big yellow flowers appliqued around the edges and some black lettering.


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