There’s something about rag quilts I have always loved! After researching how to make a rag quilt, I decided to venture to the fabric store to get the supplies to make one. After seeing all of the adorable Halloween fabric, there was no question about the theme of my rag quilt. Sewing is really not my thing so I was a bit worried that I’d begin this quilt and never finish it. Not only did I finish it, but I wasn’t too difficult.
First, don’t be scared!
If I can do this, so can you. I started with seven fabric designs, 3/4 of a yard of each design. This will make a very good sized lap quilt. I used the same amount of white fleece and also the same amount of orange fleece (or flannel) whichever you prefer.
A guide for choosing fabrics for your rag quilt.
High fraying fabrics
Flannel, denim and most woven cotton fabric
Medium fraying fabrics
quality quilting cottons, linens, good quality silk
Low fraying fabrics
fleece, stretchy fabrics and polyester
You want your rag quilt to fray. Although fleece doesn’t frey the best, I used it for the middle and bottom layers and it turned out great. Fleece is one of the warmest fabrics out there. I used cotton fabric for the top as you can see above. Cute, hugh?!
I cut a 12×12 inch template out of a piece of cardboard and used that to cut all of my squares out evenly. You can use a rotary cutter and a ruled cutting mat, but for me, it was easier to use scissors and my template.
A walking foot or your sewing machine is very helpful.
Spring loaded scissors – for snipping. A must, especially if your quilt is bigger than a lap quilt, trust me.
A heavy duty sewing machine needle.
Plan your rag quilt
Choose to cut squares or strips. Both make super ADORABLE rag quilts. For this quilt, I am using twelve inch squares.
I planned 6 rows, each row with 6 squares. My squares are 12” when cut, and then finish at 10” (with a 1” seam allowance). So my finished quilt is a generous lap quilt size – about 60” x 60”.
I love to embroider
I embroidered some Halloween designs on a few of the solid squares to make it well, more Halloweenie!
Cut and stack your top, middle and bottom pieces. The top piece is your design, the middle will only be seen on the ragged seams, and the bottom will also be seen on the ragged seams and on the bottom of the quilt as well. I sorted mine by design so it would be easier to lay out my pattern.
You will also need coordinating thread. I used white to match the bottom fleece of my quilt.
Lay out your squares, each having the top, middle and bottom in place in the pattern you desire. Work from this layout beginning with your top row.
Begin by sewing a row at a time.
Start with the first two squares in your first row.
Use your walking foot (or dual feed foot) for your sewing machine, it makes sewing all these layers go much easier. Make sure your needle is size 90 or larger too, so it doesn’t struggle or break.
Sew the first two blocks together, back sides together, with a 1” seam allowance. Back-stitch at the start and stop.
You will see that this will create the ragged edge you will later snip. Add the next stack to the two you just sewed together, and so on until you have your first full row done.
Once all of your rows are sewn, sew the rows together with a 1” seam allowance as before. Finger-press the seams open as you go for a nice neat appearance.
Once each row is complete, you will then sew your long rows together the same way, back to back. This can get tricky once you start to sew the rows together because you will come across the seams on each block you just sewed together so I found it to be easier to pin the rows together to keep the pieces from moving around on you and to get over the seams easier with your machine.
After all of your rag quilt pieces are sewn together, sew around your quilt 1” from the edge.
Once you have all of it sewed together, it will look something like this.
Now…Snip, Snip, Snip!
Now you are going to be so happy you have those spring loaded rag quilt scissors! Kick back and start snipping all of your edges about every 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch is ok too. This will take some time so get comfy and start snipping. Try not to clip into the stitching.
Wash and dry your quilt and the ragging magic will happen!
I can’t wait to make my Christmas rag quilt. I hope you are inspired.
Jeanne Marie – The Practical Fanatic