It’s football season! For some households fall means a lot of time spent on bleachers, cheering for the home team. Bonnie Ferguson from Fishsticks Designs is out there cheering on her sons and husband; today she has the perfect project to add a little comfort to your bleacher time! Bonnie’s stadium blanket can be toted in a bag that also works as a cushion. It’s a brilliant design, and it’s sure to be appreciated by someone on your holiday giving list.

Bonnie creates versatile, practical and fun sewing patterns at Fishsticks Designs. We particularly love her new Buttons & Buckles Overalls, and we like that Bonnie now has downloadable PDF versions of all of her patterns in addition to her paper pattern options. She keeps you posted on her blog with news about upcoming patterns (two more coming in the next week or two!), her preparations for the upcoming Quilt Market, life with her family of six children and much more! You can learn more about Bonnie in her recent introduction.

In addition to today’s post we’re offering the tutorial as a free PDF download so you can print out instructions. Enjoy!

Hi, Fellow Sew,Mama,Sew! Enthusiasts! I am thrilled to be hanging out here with you today! I live in a household full of boys… Boys who happen to love football. Right now, I have two boys playing and a husband coaching (and two more boys who I’m sure will be following in their footsteps before long!).

From about mid-August when practices begin, things are all-football, all-the-time around here. Of course, all you sports fans know that you have to support your team all season, especially when attending their games.

I have a great project for you that will help you do that and stay warm and comfortable while you’re cheering on your favorite team, too: a stadium blanket with a matching carrying bag that doubles as a stadium cushion!

Here’s what you’ll need before you get started:

  • A pile of t-shirts (I used nine total for the stadium blanket and the stadium cushion/bag.)
  • 4 yards of fusible interfacing (I used Pellon 911FF.)
  • Four ½ yards of cotton quilting fabric for the stadium blanket blocks
  • 1 ½ yards of cotton quilting fabric for the stadium blanket border
  • 2 yards of fleece, flannel or Minky for the back of the stadium blanket
  • 1 ½ yards of cotton quilting fabric for the carrying bag/cushion
  • 1 piece of 1″ foam at least 10″ x 14″ (I purchased a piece that was 15″ x 17″ and cut it to size.)

Be sure that all of your fabrics and t-shirts are washed and dried before starting.
Seam allowance is ¼” when piecing the blanket top and ½” elsewhere.

The Stadium Blanket

Start by cutting the front of each t-shirt away from the back and sleeves.

Decide which tees you’ll use for the blanket and which you’ll use for the bag. You’ll need six for the blanket and two for the bag. Each block in the stadium blanket top is 12″ finished and each side of the bag is 14″ finished.

Trace a 12 ½” square around the design on each of your six blanket tees. Cut each design out about an inch outside of the square you just drew. (Don’t cut on the line yet because you’re going to iron on interfacing, and your t-shirt fabric may stretch out a little with ironing.)

Iron fusible interfacing to the back of each square but be careful to only iron on the back of the interfacing. (Do not iron the front of your tees!) Use a straight edge and rotary cutter to trim each square to 12 ½”.

Set aside your t-shirt squares now to piece together your quilt blocks.

The quilt blocks that are interspersed with the t-shirt blocks are standard 12″ blocks, so you can really use any 12″ block that you’d like to use. Just make sure that your blocks are all 12 ½” unfinished.

For my stadium blanket, I’m doing a quick and simple strip block. Cut six strips from each of your four block fabrics 12 ½” by 3 ½”. For each block, sew one of each strip together using the standard ¼” quilting seam allowance and press the seams open. I rotated the order of the fabrics in each of my blocks to add a little more interest.

Once you have your six t-shirt blocks and your six pieced blocks ready, find a spot where you can lay them all out and decide on the best layout for your blanket top.

Sew the blocks in each row together using ¼” seam allowance and press the seams open. Be careful to only iron the back of your t-shirt blocks.

Carefully pin each row to the next row, lining up the corners of each block. Sew. Press the seam allowance open and move on to the next row.

Your blanket top should now measure 36 ½” x 48 ½”. Cut two border pieces 48 ½” x 7″ and two border pieces 49 ½” x 7″.

Pin and sew the first two pieces along the long sides of your blanket top.

Pin and sew the remaining border pieces along the top and bottom of your blanket top.

From here, you could bat, back, quilt and bind this top to make a t-shirt quilt, but since this is going to be a stadium blanket, we’ll use a bit quicker method of finishing.

I’m using polyester fleece to back my blanket. It provides a good amount of warmth and it’s somewhat water-resistant, as well. Fleece is stretchy, though, so it takes a little care to get it to finish nicely. If you’d prefer not to have to deal with the stretchiness, cotton flannel or Minky are good alternatives.

With your blanket top facing up and smoothed out as flat as possible, place your fleece right-side down over it. Smooth the fleece out with your hands being careful not to wrinkle the blanket top under it. Pin the fleece to the blanket top along the sides. The fleece is going to be larger than the blanket top, so be sure that your pins are going through both the layers. Flip both pieces over and trim away the excess fleece.

Sew around all four sides with a ½” seam allowance leaving an opening about 12″ wide in the bottom of the blanket to turn. For the best results, use a walking foot and sew with the fleece side facing up.

Before turning, trim the excess fabric from the corners. Turn your blanket right side out and push out the corners neatly. (A clean chopstick works well for this!)

Pin the opening closed neatly, then press the edges of your blanket all the way around on the top side. (Do not iron the fleece side of your blanket.) Topstitch ¼” from the edge all the way around.

The Carry Bag + Stadium Cushion
Trace a 15″ square around the designs on your two remaining t-shirts. Using the same method that you used for the stadium blanket, cut out the designs about 1″ outside of the square, iron on interfacing and trim to 15″ square.

Cut your other bag pieces:

      2-Outer bottom pieces 3″x15″


      2-Straps 5″x32″


      2-Inner pieces 17″x15″


    2-Overlapping inner pieces 15″x11″

Iron fusible interfacing to the two outer bottom pieces.

Pin one outer bottom piece to the bottom of one t-shirt panel right sides facing and sew on with ½” seam allowance. Press seam allowance towards the bottom piece. Repeat for remaining t-shirt panel and bottom piece.

Place completed outer pieces right sides together. Stitch around both sides and bottom at ½”.

Now to make the base of the bag, choose one of the bottom corners. At this corner, you’ll need to push the side seam down to meet the bottom seam, creating a triangle. Be sure that you side seam and your bottom seam are lined up well. Pin this in place. Repeat this step, bringing the opposite side seam down to meet the bottom seam, creating a triangle and pin. (Your bag will now look a bit like it has dog ears at the bottom.)

Stitch along the original line of stitching from one side to the other and trim the excess triangle off. Repeat on opposite side.

Turn outer right side out. The bottom pieces should now form a flat bottom.

To assemble straps, fold each in half lengthwise and press. Unfold, then fold edges in to the middle and press.

Fold strap in half again, press and top stitch approximately ¼” from each edge.

Pin one end of one strap 3 ½” from the side seam on the raw edge of bag outer. Pin opposite end 3 ½” from the opposite side seam. Baste in place, ¼” from raw edge. Repeat to baste second strap on opposite side.

Hem one 15″ edge of each of the overlapping inner pieces. Fold up ¼”, press, then fold up ½” and press. Stitch along the edge to secure.

Place one of your inner bag pieces with right side facing up. Position one overlapping inner piece with right side facing up on top of the inner piece. Align raw bottom and side edges of overlapping piece with bottom and side edges of inner piece. Place remaining overlapping piece right side facing up in the opposite direction so that the hemmed edges overlap. Line up raw bottom and side edges of this overlapping piece with the top and sides of inner piece. Baste all the way around raw edges at ¼”. (Note: Be careful to keep the “top” of these pieces at the top of the bag so that the overlapped opening for your foam piece will face down to the bottom of your bag.)

Place remaining inner bag piece right side down on top of the inner bag with overlapping pieces so that right sides are facing. Stitch around sides and bottom, leaving a 4” opening in the bottom for turning the bag later.

To create the base of the inside of the bag, use the same steps as above, except to find where to draw your stitching line, use a ruler to find where the triangle measures 4” across and draw a line. Stitch and cut off excess.

Now you’re read to sew your inner and outer bag pieces together. With outer part of bag right side out and inner inside out, insert outer into inner. Be sure that the straps are tucked down inside and that the overlapping pieces are toward the side of your bag that you would like to use as your stadium cushion. Match up side seams and pin all the way around top edge. Stitch all the way around the top edge.

Pull the outer part of the bag through the opening in the bottom of the inner. Once the whole thing is right side out, pin the opening neatly and sew it closed.

Push the inner part of the bag into the outer and push all the corners out neatly. Press the top edge of your bag so that the inner and outer stay in place. Be careful to press on the inside so that you don’t iron the t-shirt design. (Do not topstitch this top edge!)

Cut your 1″ foam to 10″ x 14″ and insert into the pocket created by your overlapping pieces. It takes a bit of work to get the foam into the pocket neatly, but once it’s in there, it will stay nicely. (This overlapping pocket allows you to remove the foam easily so that you can wash the bag when necessary.)

Fold up your blanket and slide it into the bag, and head out to the game.

Once you’ve found your seat, simply pull the blanket out, tuck the straps into the bag and under the foam and your stadium cushion and blanket are ready to use!