Tutorial: DIY Camp Blanket

Every once and a while I find time to make something for someone I love. Sometimes its embroidery, sometimes a pen sketch. However, my favorite thing to give, and the one I reserve for those dearest to my heart, is a camp blanket. By "camp" I only mean its warm enough to sleep with under the stars. Its time consuming but worth it, and the design couldn't be easier. I have one I've used for 4 years; its seen sun, rain, sand, beds, couches, and dirt. Here is a how to make one of your own...


What You'll Need: 

Front Fabric (I like to use plaid flannel fabrics because they are cozy and traditional; the lines also help for measuring where to put the french knots)*

Back Fabric (Select wool or a wool blend for extra warmth)*

* Use between 1.5 - 2.5 yards of each fabric, depending on the size of the recipient and purpose of the blanket. Check that the fabrics are the same width before cutting and purchase, this is easily missed

Matching or Contrasting Thread - one spool
Small Ball of Yarn - you won't use it all
Knitting Needle - found at JoAnn's or Michael's or your local yarn store
Basic Sewing Supplies/Sewing Machine/Scissors
Contrasting Embroidery Thread + Needle (optional)


Step One - Sizing: Lay both pieces of fabric out on a flat surface, one on top of the other. Check to see they are the same size, trim if necessary. Iron your fabric using the correct setting for your specific fabric to remove bunches and wrinkles, this is essential if you want your blanket to lay flat. 


Step Two - Pinning the Seams: Begin by tucking the edges in on both pieces of fabric at least 1/2 inch, as shown. Be sure to fold the corners in as well, as shown on the top fabric above. Pin as needed. I like to do mine in stages, alternating pinning and sewing.


Step Three - Sewing the Seams: Prepare your sewing machine with the chosen thread(s). I chose navy for both sides of this blanket to give it a nice contrasting look, if you want matching thread for each fabric, simply thread the top with thread for the top fabric, and wind the bobbin with the thread for the back fabric. Sew each side with edges tucked in, pivot and reinforce at the corners. Cut loose ends when finished. Voila! You have your basic blanket! Now for embellishments.


Step Four - Adding French Knots: To increase the structural stability of your blanket and add a nice decoration, you can sew French Knots into the corners of your plaid design with yarn.  Cut 3 inch stripes of yarn from your ball and follow these instructions from Lion Brand Yarn for sewing them into your blanket. I space my knots out based on the plaid pattern, every other red intersection gets a knot, and the pattern is offset by one on the following line. Be warned, this can take a while if your blanket is large. When finished with each knot, tie the ends into a knot to prevent it from coming out. See image-right, above.


Step Five (optional): The final touch I add to my blanket is a monogram of the person's initial (or persons if its for a couple). I begin by tracing the initials in pencil or a white colored pencil for dark fabric. Then I trace this sketch with my embroidery thread using a running stitch. Here is a good example.


Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!