I am so happy with my latest Rag Quilt! I just loved the colors and the patterns of the fabrics when I saw them last week when I was shopping locally at Sew Heavenly here in Greensboro, NC. The cuter fabrics are found in the local specialty stores, I am convinced. I know that a lot of these kinds of quilts are made using flannel but so far I have been using regular cotton blend fabrics and they are working out just fine. I think the “rag” edges are more defined when you use flannel but I like the brighter colors and patterns that I am finding with more regular fabrics.
Here are some details on how I made this quilt:
This quilt ended up being about double the size of the first one I made. (If you missed it here is link) This one was made using 70 squares. 10 rows that are each 7 squares across. (It was about the size of two baby quilts put together.)
I purchased 1 yard each of 4 different patterned fabrics.
I purchased 4 yards of a plain yellow broadcloth for the back side.
The size of the squares I used were 8 inches x 8 inches.
I also used an 8 inch quilting square which helped make the cutting of the squares go even faster. I highly recommend getting one if you don’t have one already. For my first quilt, I used a Land’s End Catalog which happened to be 8 inches wide. Using a real quilt square like a grown up was so much better:)
The batting squares were cut to be 6 inches x 6 inches.
I found a 6 inch x 6 inch quilting square and used that and the rotary cutter and mat to cut out all of the batting squares.
I used white thread.
A rotary cutter and mat make this job fast and easy. You could use scissors but I wouldn’t recommend it!
I also cut all 4 four yards of the yellow backing fabric into 8 x 8 inch squares.
I cut out my squares using the strip method using my rotary cutter, mat, and quilt square. And isn’t that the cutest pin cushion you’ve ever seen? I have been using the same tomato pin cushion my whole life. When I saw this one, it was time to splurge. I found it at Hobby Lobby for $8.99.
A 6 inch x 6 inch batting square was placed in the center of the yellow 8 x 8 inch fabric squares that would be the back side of the quilt. I then placed a patterned square on top and set them aside in piles before sewing them together.
At this point, you will be sewing an “X” across each square so that you are securing your squares with a piece of batting in between them.
You can speed sew these together by simply stitching a seam across from one corner point to the opposite corner point, and then slide in your next square, point first, under the foot of your sewing machine being sure to continue sewing the seams point to point until you have one seam across all of your squares. They will all be connected and when you have finished all of your squares you can then snip with your scissors to cut them apart from each other.
Once your squares are all separated, it’s time to do the same thing over again so that you have a stitched seam running across the diagonal from the opposite side, point to point. When finished, you should have a nice “X” across all of your quilt squares.
The next step is to take all of your quilt squares and lay them out on the floor in a pattern that you like. I randomly placed my squares but I was careful to make sure that I did not place two of the same pattern next to each other. Once you like the pattern you have laid out, it’s now time to stitch the square together into row.
Pay attention and have your seam ripper handy if you don’t when you get to this step! Because this quilt had a different color for the back side of the square, I had to be careful as I pieced them together so that I got the rough seam allowance on the pattern side of the quilt because that rough seam allowance is your future “ragged” edge of your quilt. I had to learn this the hard way and had to re-do 2 of the squares before I figured it out. :) Also notice how once they are sewn together, the size of your quilt shrinks down a bit.
With the back sides ( yellow sides) together, I stitched together two squares side to side. Keep attaching the squares on the side edge to the row you are working on. Once all are stitched together, do a double check to make sure all of your ragged seam allowanced are on the pattern side and that your back side (my yellow side) is neat and smooth.
Once you have all of your squares sewn into rows, you can now start sewing your rows together to form the quilt. Again, you will be sewing your rows together with the back sides of the squares together. Up until this point, I really haven’t had to use pins. NOW is the time to break out your pins. I would also highly recommend you get the bigger quilting pins with a color ball on the tops, they will make your life so much easier. Be especially careful to pin and sew your rows together one at a time and match up your seams between each row so that your back side looks nice. I worked with all my rows laid out on the floor and one row at a time, I sewed them together always checking to make sure that my pattern was still in tact.
Watching the youtube video called Beverly’s How To Make a Rag Quilt is very helpful at explaining the easiest and best way to sew together your rows. It can save you a lot of aggravation so I can’t recommend it enough!
Once all of your rows are stitched together, stitch around the outer edge of your entire quilt about 5/8 to 1/2 inch in from the edge. You will be snipping that outer edge of your quilt and it will have a fringed look to it. There is no binding to sew.
I will warn you, once all of your rows are stitched together, it isn’t pretty. But it soon will be. Have faith!
The thing I love most about making these quilts is that they are VERY FORGIVING!. Your quilt will look like a mess once you get it pieced together, but in the end, it all falls into place. So don’t worry if something looks crooked, it won’t in your final quilt.
The next step after you have finished sewing your quilt together is to snip all of the seam allowances on the outer edge of each square about every 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Snip up to the outer seam that you just stitched but be very careful not to cut through it.
Do yourself a favor and get a pair of rag quilt scissors…mine are made from Fiskar’s and I love them. They have a spring and they are much easier on your hands than regular scissors. This step might take awhile. Turn on the radio, or your favorite TV show or movie and take your time and snip all of your edges. The quilt gets snipped around each square edge and the entire outer edge of your quilt. This is also a very messy step and you will have fabric threads everywhere and all over your clothes.
Once all your edges are snipped, you can pop your quilt in the washing machine. Run it through a full wash cycle. Some people recommend that you do this at the laundry mat to spare your machine. I haven’t had any problem doing this step at home but if you are not sure and don’t want to take chances, take it to the laundry mat. I did not use soap. You mostly are using the water and the agitation from the washing machine to get your edged to start “ragging” and then your dryer will finish it off. I cleaned the lint screen of my dryer after about 5 minute in the dryer. There was A LOT of lint!
These are fun to make and easy to sew. And I find it easier to work on it a little bit each day so that it’s not too overwhelming. This one took me less than a week probably because I was so excited to see the finished quilt that I keep finding the time to work on it. I just love how it turned out.
I hope this tutorial is helpful and inspires some of you to give this a try. I only learned how to do this a few weeks ago and I was able to learn how by reading the tutorial over at I Can Teach My Child. I also highly recommend the tutorial found on the you tube video Beverly’s How To Make a Rag Quilt. Good luck to you if you decide to give this a whirl!