Almost four years ago, I went to California to tape two episodes of Uncommon Threads on the DIY network. Amy Stalp, former Editor of Sew News, and I attended as “the Sew Simple ladies,” and presented various projects for both episodes.
The first episode aired about six months after the taping. It was called “Fabric Vases,” and its been aired several times since. We demonstrated how to make fabric vases and fabric flowers. (I made over 25 vases for the episode to decorate the set!) Our second episode, titled “Be Seated,” never really made the cut (or so it seemed).
I’ve had this show set to tape on my DVR for four years now, in anticipation of finally seeing the second episode. Low and behold, it happened yesterday morning! At 5am (Colorado MST), “Be Seated” aired. Amy demonstrated how to make a simple slipcover for an outdoor chair. (Funny thing is, the producer purchased the wrong type of chair for the segment, so the cover didn’t fit and looked horrible once it was placed on the chair!) I’ll never forget the sleepless nights of making 20+ stepouts for those demos! I demonstrated my blanket bag, which I’ve been making since I was 13 years old. I also featured a version of the bag in Sew Simple Volume 2–with backpack straps. For the magazine, it was called “Picnic Throw.”
And here’s the tutorial on how to make the blanket bag:
2 yards of 60″-wide fleece (the featured blanket/bag is made of pieced fleece yardage)
2 1/2 yards of waterproof fabric (such as Supplex)
1 crib-size low-loft batting
21″ square of low-loft batting
two 32″-long strips of webbing
matching heavyweight thread
1. From both the fleece and the waterproof fabric, cut a 45″x60″ rectangle and a 21″ square. Sandwich the waterproof fabric between the fleece and batting, with the fleece and waterproof fabric right sides facing. Pin-baste through all layers. Or use a quilt basting spray to secure the batting to the waterproof fabric, preventing shifting.
2. On the fleece square right side, pin-mark to find the upper-edge center. Pin one end of each webbing strip on either side of the pin. Pin the other end of each strap inside each corresponding lower corner.
3. Layer the squares in the same manner as the rectangles.
4. Stitch around all edges of the rectangle and square, leaving a 6″ opening along one side edge for turning. Remove the basting, if applicable, clip the corners.
5. Turn the square and rectangle right side out through the openings, with the batting sandwiched between the fleece and waterproof fabric layers. Topstitch the rectangle and square edges, closing the openings with the stitches. (The square is now referred to as the pocket).
6. With the waterproof fabric facing p, center the pocket lower edge on the blanket lower edge with the pocket corners approximately 19″ from each blanket corner. Make sure the webbind strips are tucked securely between the pocket and blanket to avoid stitching voer them in the next step.
7. Pin or baste the pocket in place, leaving the upper edge free. Topstitch the pocket sides and lower edge, following the previous topstitching.
8. To fold the blanket into a bag or stadium seat, place the blanket on a flat surface with the fleece side facing up. Fold the blanket in thirds lengthwise. Fold the blanket in half widthwise away from the pocket. Turn the pocket inside to enclose the folded blanket and reveal the backpack straps. Stuff the pocket with water bottles, pet frisbee, sunglasses or whatever you like. Put the straps over your shoulders with the fleece side facing out. The straps will help hold the contents secure until you reach your destination and want to use the blanket.