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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rag quilt tutorial

Sorry guys, I just havnt had time to do this until now- but here it is!
(We are making a baby sized quilt, but you can add yardage for bigger projects- for example, I use about 10 yards for a twin sized quilt- and you can always go back and do borders to make it bigger!)
Supplies- 1 yard each of 3 different flannel fabrics (or like I said 10 or more for a larger quilt) You also need an inside fabric or filler- I like to use 1 color that will tie the whole quilt together- some people use batting but that is a huge pain. *If you do not use flannel the fabric will not fray and it will not be a rag quilt!* The general rule of thumb is to take the amount of yardage you have for the quilt and divide it in half, so 1 1/2 yards for our baby quilt- I usually get 1/4- 1/2 yard extra just in case! (The reason you only need half is because you will only be using one piece per square instead of the two of the quilt fabric)
Cutting board, scissors, ruler, rotary cutter, sewing machine

Getting started- You will need to decide how big you want your squares to be. For a baby quilt I usually do 6-7 inches, but for a twin or bigger sized quilt I use 10 or bigger (just less pieces to sew!) Once you have decided how big you want the squares you need to line them up on your cutting board and start cutting. I dont know how many squares 1 yard will make because it depends on the person cutting, size of squares, and so many other things!

Once all your squares are cut out you need to lay them out seperated so you can see what you have. Now comes the tedious part- you need to take each of the patterned squares and put one piece of the colored layer inside and sandwich it with the patterns. Now your square will have 3 layers. You will now take the square and sew a large x from one end to the other diagnolly. (This makes it so that the quilt will not bunch up when it is washed! Think quilting on an actual quilt!)

Once you have all of the squares sandwiched and X'd you need to lay the pattern you want out on the floor. This will help you to see what it will look like before it is done, and show you how many squares you have so you know the amount you want on each level and wont run out or make a wonky size! (Again, I cant tell you how many to do across or down because it really depends on the size of squares- just lay it out- you will be glad you did!

Once your pattern is all layed out you are ready to sew! Pick up the squares for 1 row. These squares will be sandwiched together and you will sew them together with the raw edges on the 2nd or 3rd line of your sewing machine plate. Make sure to back stitch to make them stay sewn! COntinue to do this all the way to the end of the 1 row you picked up. Once the first row is sewn you need to take it and lay it on your lap so the raw edges of one sewn square are facing you. (do not clip the unsewn edges yet!) Now you will take your scissors and carefully clip the seams! If you do happen to cut through your stitching put a saftey pin there and go back and stitch it up before you continue- trust me, I have a few that toes and fingers get stuck in while sleeping! lol.

Once the entire row has clipped seams you lay it back on the ground and pick up your next row! Once you have finished this row exactly like the one before you will sew the two together! Again, sandwich the fabrics with raw edges together, making sure that you match up the seams you have clipped or it might be a little wonky! Once you have sewn the entire length of the 2 rows you get to clip that raw edge!

Now hold it up, shake it a little and admire your work! You have just started a rag quilt! Now continue in this manner until the entire quilt is finished!

* Tips- If you clip the seams after you sew each row it will save you SOOOSOOOOO much time, energy, and sanity! It takes forever to clip edges that are all sewn together because you cant move the fabric very well and you will end up clipping seams!

Once you have all the raw edges sewn together you will need to finish the edges around the quilt. You can either just sew on the same line you were using to make the quilt and go all around, or if you want it a little bit bigger go ahead and cut some long pieces and sandwich like before, and just sew them along the entire length around the quilt- THEN you will sew around the edge and clip!

Once your quilt is entirely finished PLEASE take a picture of it and email it to me! I would love to post some pictures of what you guys have done! After taking the picture find an old pillowcase or drawstring bag and throw the quilt in there. These quilts make a HUGE mess, and this is the best way I have found to keep it minimal! Wash your quilt on a regular cycle with no soap or baby soap, and then when it has gone through a cycle go ahead and carefully take it outside. Once outside shake that quilt until you dont see any stray piece flying. (Sometimes this requires a partner!) Once you think it is pretty well shaken take it inside and throw it into the dryer. For the first about half hour you need to check it every 5 minutes and empty the lint filter. It will have a ton in it, and this will ensure that it will actually dry instead of just be clogged up. Once you are checking and there isnt much in there you can give it 20 minutes or so.

Once it is dry take it outside and shake it out again! Wallah! You have made your first rag quilt!!! Make sure you send me your pictures!


  1. Awesome, Josie! I am getting ready to start sewing lessons with my visiting teacher, and as soon as I get good enough, I'm going to try this! Great tutorial!!!!!

  2. Great idea, I love handmaking things. I'm not the *best* at it, but working on it.

  3. I was lucky enough to have Josie teach me to make my first one in person and I love making them. I should send you a pic of the twin I just finished for Addie... It's my ultimate favorite so far!


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