Monday, November 19, 2012

Making a Rag Quilt Tutorial & Giveaway


Making a rag quilt involves planning just like any patchwork quilt. It can be simple and involve two fabrics on the front, one fabric for back and a layer in between. If you are using more than 3 fabrics, it is generally more time consuming. Figure out the approximate size you would like your finished quilt. I generally start with 6 inch squares for baby or lap size quilts. This will make about a 5 inch square once sewn together, but before washing. For a baby rag quilt I like to do 8 squares wide by 8 squares long. This will give a finished size of 36-37 in both directions. This will vary slightly depending on your seam allowance and fabric shrinking. Flannel will shrink more than cotton. Planning for fabric varies some. I can get between 30 to 36 squares out of a yard of most fabric. I have lucked out a time or two and got 42. I used about 1 2/3 yards of fabric for each of front, center and back.

Choose your fabric. I like the softness of flannel, but cotton is more durable. I have been told homespun works great, but have not tried it yet. I personally didn't like putting minky in a rag quilt, it stretches a lot different than flannel or cotton. It is more difficult to use, but it also looks great. Decide what you are going to do for the batting. I have used a polyester (which I hated), cotton batting or cotton/polyester blend or a third layer of flannel. I personally find a layer of flannel the easiest to use. Some of it depends on what I have on hand. Batting in the center is a great way to use of up smaller scraps from other quilts or projects.

For this demonstration I am going to use three layers of flannel, two different fabrics on top, and one solid on the back. I will also show pictures of cotton batting being used. I am going to make a baby quilt 8 squares by 8 squares. This means I will need 64 squares for back, 32 of both fabrics for front and 64 squares of flannel for center or 64 5 in squares of batting.
Pre-cut all fabric and batting with rotary cutter. I guess you could use scissors, but a lot more time consuming. If you are using batting, plan for a ½ in seam allowance on each side. This means you would subtract one inch from each square. If you are using 6 inch blocks, your batting would be 5 inches, and an 8 inch block would be 7 in of batting.



Once your fabric is cut and stacked neatly in rows you will begin making your quilt sandwiches. When I first started, I pinned all them together like this. Over time I found that I could assemble as I go and just hold corners together. It is completely up to you. You will use a straight stitch on your sewing machine. A walking foot is useful, but not completely necessary. I don't use one. Sew from corner to corner diagonally. Sew many squares in one direction, and then cut apart squares and sew in the other direction to finish up x.







Once squares are assembled you will start sewing together squares into rows. If you have an extension table or your machine is even with your surface, it is easier to sew, but not necessary. Put two squares together with the back fabric touching. You will use a ½ inch seam allowance. If you do a little more you risk your batting showing on edge, a little less you won't have as fluffy of seams. The key is consistency. I have an issue with depth perception, and use a piece of tape on machine, to help line up. Continue sewing a square on the row until you reach your width. For my demonstration it is 8. Do this until all your rows are done.

Once rows are done sewing, you will start to pin rows together in two's, lining up the seams. You will sew each row to the next. For me it is easier to sew four sets of two rows together, just make sure you don't mess up your pattern and then combine into sets of four. I don't have a real powerful machine and end up feeling like I am wrestling an alligator. Once your rows are combined, you will sew around the outside edge at about ½ inch mark. I use a straight stitch, others have used a zig zag. You will probably want to give your machine a through cleaning at this point, especially if you used flannel.



Next comes the fun part, cutting up the seams. Warning, don't do this in clothes you are wearing out in public, unless you have a lint brush handy. You will get tons of threads/lint all over you. You want to cut close to seams without cutting them. I like to go between 2/3 and ¾ of the seam. You can fix cut seams, it just makes the process more difficult. Having proper scissors is really useful. I use Fiskars rag cutting scissors. They cost about 23 dollars at craft or fabric stores, a great item to use a 40% or 50% coupon on. The first rag quilt we made, we used regular scissors on, we cut many seams, over 6 on a twin and it took many hours to cut. The second one I bought a pair of scissors and they were spring loaded, but not strong enough to cut multiple layers of fabric. Then I decided to buy some heavy duty craft scissors, they work but you have to be careful and they take a lot more out of your hands. Anyway, I learned the hard way about having the proper tool. I cut all the seams in one direction and then start on the other direction. I save the outside edge for last. After it is cut you can shake it and then it is ready to wash. Many people take it to the laundromat, instead of the abuse your home washer and dryer will get. I have a front load washer, and make sure I clean out the seal after washing a rag quilt. I usually wash and dry on normal. After quilt is done washing, take it outside and shake off some of the lint, fabric, treads, etc., your dryer will thank you. Dry on low to medium heat and make sure to clean lint tray.


Good to use.
Not strong enough to cut through multiple layers.
Rag quilt are great for babies or kids that will get all sorts of stuff spilled on them. Washing just makes them more soft and cuddly.

If you would like to enter a drawing to win a pair of Fiskars rag cutting scissors leave a comment below telling me what your favorite unusual color combination is. This drawing will end 11/26/12.

44 comments:

MellieWo said...

I love tools! Thanks for the tutorial. I don't know about unusual color combos but I do like contrasts; gray and brights, blues and browns.

giddy99 said...

Hey, thanks for posting the tutorial; I've been curious about how those rag quilts are made. My fave "oddball" combination is red and orange. They sort of cancel each other out, but I still like them together (as my kitchen would prove). :)

Jennyroo said...

I like pink and orange together. And orange and brown together. Always have, always will! I echo your sentiments about having the proper tools. It makes things so much simpler. Would love to win these scissors! Thanks for the chance!

Sandy Olson said...

I like orange and navy blue.

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Nice tutorial!! I like white and winter white together...I know!!!!

Teresa said...

Awesome tutorial! I enjoy making rag quilts, but hate the strings everywhere. LOL I love purple and lime green together.

Jodi - usairdoll said...

What a darling rag quilt! They have so many cute flannel designs out. My latest wierd color combo is yellow and gray. It sounds wierd but J saw a quilt using these colors and it was gorgeous.

Thank you for a great giveaway and a chance to win. I'd love a pair of these scissors as it really does help to have the right tools. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

Janet said...

I like red and yellow together. Maybe not that unusual but on the other hand how often do you see them together?

beaquilter said...

not unusual but I like blue and yellow together.
I like the grey and orance and pink I've seen around lately.

Sundays Child said...

Bless your heart for sharing the info on these scissors! Where were you a couple of years ago!?!?!? I used the ones that you showed with an X through them .. ouch, have had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists now. hahaha

Anyway, I love the look of blue and cream with a goldish brown or yellow.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway!
Julie Andrea
sundayschild1966(AT)yahoo(DOT)come

cherylj said...

I have never made a rag quilt, but maybe I will try soon. I know that it is not a crazy color combination, but my favorite right now isaqua and red.

Gill said...

I've never made a rag quilt!
I like orange and green together!

KaHolly said...

I've made a few rag quilts in the past. Uisng homespun is great for making man quilts! I am working on a red and orange batik quilt at present, 2 colors I've never put together before. ~karen

tubilinha tiacarminha said...

Obrigada pelo tutorial brilhante.Estou acabando uma colcha com dois tons de azul muito parecidos,"celeste",tem que prestar atenção para não errar,mas vai ficar linda...São estrelas de papel inglês,você imagina?..

barbara woods said...

i like purple and gold thanks for the chance

rutigt said...

Purple and orange!! Strong, shining colours. Love it!! I can also use pink and orange.
Gun, Sweden
gun@lapp.se

Judy said...

I have made several rag quilts and they are addicting for sure. I love scrap quilts, there does not seem to be any outlandish color combos for me.

Bente-I like to QuiltBlog said...

Thank you, this tutorial ist great and very helpfull to me. I haven´tsewn a ragtime quilt yet, but it ist on the top of my to do list. Thanks for the chance to win the sissors too, I didn´t know about this great tool.
I like turquoise and brown ☺

Gene Black said...

I have a pair of those "not strong enough" scissors....yeah I bought the wrong ones.

My favorite "weird" color combo is purple and green with some yellow accents. - actually if you think of a purple iris, it is not so weird.

gccmom said...

Thanks for the tutorial...I am thinking of making my daughter one of these for Christmas. I like red and yellow together.

Maggie said...

I want to make them for kids, so I would go for bright and colorful !! reds & yellows~~blues & greens~~purple and lime green

maggiefrieske@comcast.net
being hopeful :)

Lisa Cox said...

I don't really think I have a weird color combination favorite. I do like blue and brown or blue and black.
lisa(at)vetteklisa(dot)com

Genevieve said...

I really like the combination of brown and Pink, Not weird I know, but still...

thanks for the giveaway

Punjab Technical University Colleges said...

I was suggested this web site by way of my cousin. I'm now not positive whether this publish is written by him as nobody else recognise such distinctive about my problem.You are wonderful! Thanks!

Myself said...

I'm not sure it is that weird- but my two favorite combinations are- purple+orange and pink+green :)
Thanks for the great giveaway...

Julie said...

I love the "bright" color combinations. You can stick green, purple and orange together with some black and it looks great.

Mhairi said...

I love bright, bright purple with thunderstorm grey.
With a bit of forest green for contrast.
I read somewhere the way to create a good colour combination is to choose two or three colours that you love - doesn't matter if they work together. Then find one colour that you can't stand and add that to your other colours and you have a great quilt.

amy @ butterfly angels said...

I love my rag quilt! Its perfectly snuggly. And yes, rag scissors are a must. My fav is either lime green and hot pink or red and purple. Like the red hat ladies. I love it!

The Amateur Quilter (Mike Pearson) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Amateur Quilter (Mike Pearson) said...

Woohoo! Sorry, had to delete the last comment because I forgot to tell you my favorite color :) I am really into greens :)

JLVerde said...

That quilt looks so warm and inviting. I could use a nap right now!

As for weird color combos, I like brown and blue together. I also like matching up polka dots with stripes.

Margaret said...

I really like orange, purple and lime green. They are in alot of my quilts and bags. thanks for a chance to win a pair of these sissors. They look awesome.

Bonnie said...

My granddaughter just made her first little quilt out of orange, aqua and hot pink. Couldn't believe that she picked that combination out of my whole stash. But now that she has it almost finished it looks pretty good together. Thanks for the chance to win the scissors.

LethargicLass said...

great tutorial :) Thanks! I love chocolate brown, chartreuse and wine berry

cpup40 said...

I have been wanting to make a rag quilt, but I don't have the scissors. Thank you for the great tutorial and the chance to win a pair of scissors to make them.

Cheryl said...

Love that cute quilt...a rag quilt has been on my wish list and your tutorial makes it look do-able..If I had this snip it would make it a lot easier....maybe to the top of my list.

Andrea said...

Wonderful tutorial...I've been wondering about making a Rag Quilt...I have lot's of flannel! My (current) favorite color combos are in the cool blues, aquas and greens..so tranquil, peaceful and always remind me of the ocean and seaside.

Amy said...

What a great tutorial! I think I would like to make a jean rag quilt - I definitely need a pair of strong snippers. :) I currently really like mustard yellow and aqua together and am wondering if I could decorate my new master bedroom in these colors?!?

desertskyquilts said...

Cute penguins! Love your tutorial.

Linda said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I didn't know about the rag scissors.
My combo is purple and bright green. When I was much younger I had a pair of purple pants with a green frog patch on the knee. I've loved the combination ever since.

Lindasdream41@yahoo

hilary said...

My 2 favorite colors are lime green and purple. I would love to win these. I need to make some more baby quilts and I love these.

crafter1953 said...

Thank you for the tut. I have been wanting to learn how so now I know I can make one.

Daphne Lewis said...

I've been wanting to do one of these and have saved this tutorial. Thanks so much!

Gurpreet Singh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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