Friday, November 26, 2010

How To Make A Rag Quilt

On Wednesday, when I posted pictures of the 2 rag quilts I finished, I said I would tell you how to make them. Well, here are the instructions.

Making a rag quilt is one of the simplest quilts you can make. First, you need to determine how many squares you need to cut from various fabrics. For example, if you make a 25 in. x 25 in. quilt and you use 4.5 in. squares, you will need 49 squares for the top, 49 for the middle and 49 for the back, 147 squares total. You want the front and the back of the quilt to look identical, but the front will be "ragged" and the back will not.

Items needed for 25 in. x 25 in. quilt:

1.5 yards of 100% cotton fabric (You can break this up into .5 yards of 3 different fabrics)

.5 yard of flannel (White is the most popular color of choice, but you can use any color that compliments your cotton fabrics)

rotary cutter and mat

sewing machine

spring loaded scissors

After you have cut all of your squares from the cotton and flannel fabrics, you want to make a fabric "sandwich". Place a flannel square in between two cotton squares of the same color, with the cotton squares right side out on both sides. Piece all of the squares together like this. Then, figure out a design. Just play with the different designs by placing the squares in different positions until you get a design you like. It's easier to do this if you have a large enough table or floor area to spread out all of the pieces. It also helps to take a picture of how you want it laid out with your digital camera. This way you can put it on your computer and see what the quilt looks like in one piece. If you don't like what you see, you can change it before you start sewing.

Once you have determined your quilt design it is time to start sewing. Start in the upper left hand corner of the quilt. Take the first two squares and sew them together, with a 1/4 in. seam allowance, then add the next square. Just make sure as you add each square that you sew the seam out and not in. In a sense, you are sewing each square backwards, not like you usually do to hide the seam. Continue doing this until you have all rows complete. Then, it's time to sew the rows together. Start at the top again and put the rows back to back and sew them together, making sure you line up each square. As you get to the seams, instead of ironing the seams to one side or the other, it is easier to sew them open. Continue until the quilt it sewn together. Next, sew all around the edge of the quilt also using a 1/4 in. seam allowance. Again, when you get to the seams, sew them open.

Now begins the fun part. It's time to "rag" the quilt. This part is easier if you have spring loaded scissors, but regular scissors will do, just be prepared for a sore hand for the next 2-3 days. Go around the quilt and cut all of the seams every 1/4 in., making sure you do not cut the thread as you go around. This gives you the "rag" effect. Once the whole quilt has been cut, go outside and shake your quilt to get all of the loose pieces off. Now it's time to wash your quilt. It will "rag" better if you wash the quilt with another item like a towel, then dry both the quilt and towel together. Before putting the quilt in the dryer, go outside again and shake out the quilt. This will get rid of the loose pieces of flannel so they do not collect in your dryer. Once dry, you are all finished. Just remember, the more you wash your quilt, the softer and more "ragged" it will become.

Happy Quilting!

1 comment:

  1. I've made a few rag quilts, but just from flannel, only two layers - they're fun but oh my gosh did my hands hurt, lol!