Monday, May 30, 2011

Lets Make a Rag Quilt

I started googling quilt photos and found some really cute quilts called Rag Quilts.  I decided for my next project that I would try that style. I had a lot of the Heather Bailey fabric left over from the first quilt.  I found some instructions and began.  Rag Quilts are really easy to make and they come out so cute!   If you have never made a quilt before and want to start with something simple then I really encourage you to try a rag quilt.  Here is a picture of the first one that I made.

This particular quilt is cotton fabric on both sides and flannel fabric in the middle.  I have changed the way I make my rag quilts now and just use the cotton patterned fabric on the top of the quilt and flannel fabric on the back and in the middle.  Here is the pattern for a rag quilt.  If you don't want to cut the pieces yourself visit my etsy site.  I sell Rag Quilt kits.  All the cutting is done for you, all you have to do is sew them together.

Rag Quilt Instructions from

These are instructions to make a rag quilt. Finished size is 36”x 32'. If you wish to make a larger size just add additional squares of material.
1 pair of sharp Scissors or Spring loaded Scissors
1 Rotary Cutter (45 mm works fine)
1 Cutting Mat
1 Cutting Ruler
Rag Quilt Snippers (optional)

My favorite rag quilt scissors are Tonic Studios 404 6-1/2-Inch Spring Cut Scissors. They are around $12-$14.00 and well worth it. You can keep them nice and sharp with a cheap scissor sharpener. I have tried a lot of scissors and haven't found a pair that works better.
5 different fabrics that compliment each other. You will need 1/2 Yard of each fabric. For the backing and the batting I use flannel you can use any color, but make sure it goes with your material because it will show at the ragged area of the quilt. I usually use white. You will need 1 1/4 yards of flannel.
Thread (I use white, but you can use any color that goes with your fabric)

Iron your material before cutting. Cut all material into 9” squares using your rotary cutter. You will need 40 squares of fabric and 20 squares of flannel.

First make a sandwich:
Take two matching pieces of your patterned fabric and put a flannel square between the two squares. Make sure the
“good” side of the patterned material is showing on both sides of the square. Line up the material evenly on all sides. Pin in place.   Sew diagonally across the square from the top point of each corner to the bottom point of each corner, so you have a big X across the entire square of fabric. (use any color thread you like, I use white).  Do this with all your squares.  You will end up with 20, 3 layer squares of fabric. Don't worry if your squares are not perfectly straight on each edge. This quilt pattern is very forgiving.

Lay out the squares in rows of 5 so they look nice to you. You will have 4 rows of 5 squares.

Next you are going to sew a row of 5 squares together. Match the good sides together so the seams show, pin, sew
using a 1/2 seam allowance.  The quilt will be flat on the back side and show all the unfinished seam allowances on the front side. Make sure that all your seam allowances are showing on one side and flat on the other. Sew your first two squares together, add the third, then fourth etc till have a row of 5 squares completed. Sew your next row, continue till you have made all 4 rows. Try to keep your rows in the order you originally placed them.

Now start sewing your rows of squares together. Line up two rows at the intersection of each square, pin, then sew the rows together, use a ½ seam allowance. Add another row and repeat the process till you have all your rows sewn together with the unfinished seam allowances showing on the front side of the quilt. 

Once you have the rows all sewn together sew a 1/2 stitch all the way around the outside of the quilt. This will lock the seams. Your quilt should look flat on the back and all unfinished seams will be showing on the front.

Now you are ready to snip your quilt.  I use spring loaded scissors as they are easier on my hands. But any really sharp scissors are fine.
Snip your seam allowances to the stitching (not past) about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart (the smaller the snipping the more ragged your quilt will be).  Do all the seams and then snip all the way around the outside.  I also cut the corners out. This process will take you quit a while, I usually do my snipping while watching T.V.   When you are finished you are ready to wash the quilt, washing & drying is what makes the nice frayed look.

Machine wash the quilt in cold or warm soapy water, use fabric softener if you have it.   Tumble Dry, Med heat, in the dryer. (make sure to check your lint trap several times) Remove your quilt from the dryer and look over the quilt, it will be a mess with lots of loose threads and knots everywhere. Don't worry this is normal. Use your scissors to snip the messy knotted threads away and fix any uneven areas. Look for any seams you missed snipping the first time.  You can then wash and dry one more time.  Check for loose threads one more time and your done!  Your quilt will fray with each wash and just get better and better!

If you accidentally snip through a seam just go back over that area with your sewing machine.
If you have any problems or questions please feel free to convo me at my etsy website.

Have Fun!

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