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Ripstop Towel Picnic Blanket

Source: Martha Stewart Living Television, Volume July 2002


Rugged and versatile, ripstop is a specially engineered nylon material coated with a layer of polyurethane on one side for superior water repellency. The name "ripstop" refers to the fabric's small, tight windowpane weave, which makes it extremely strong yet surprisingly soft and lightweight.

In addition, because it is reinforced with a double thread of nylon cord every quarter inch, the material is resistant to the expansion of small rips. You can use any terry-cloth towel for this project; Martha uses an oversize beach towel measuring 60 by 72 inches, which requires approximately 2 yards of the corresponding ripstop.


  • Beach towel

  • Ripstop

  • Scissors

  • Safety pins

  • Sewing machine


  1. Prewash both the towel and the ripstop (machine-wash ripstop in lukewarm water, then tumble-dry on low heat).

  2. Cut the dobby weave and hem off of the towel's four sides, flattening the terry cloth so that the ripstop will fit snugly. Measure the towel, and cut a piece of ripstop to exactly these dimensions.

  3. Pin the towel and ripstop together so that the patterned side of the towel and the matte side of the ripstop are facing each other. Machine-sew the pieces together, leaving a 1/2- to 3/4-inch seam allowance and a 10- to 12-inch opening on one of the blanket's shorter sides.

  4. Turn the blanket right side out, and pin around the entire edge. With the ripstop side facing up, topstitch another seam about 1/2 inch from the pinned edge.

  5. To care for your picnic blanket, wash it in lukewarm water, then tumble-dry on low heat; it can also be dry-cleaned. Don't use bleach or fabric softeners, and be sure to press only on the matte, uncoated side of the fabric with a warm iron.

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