Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rag Quilts

I absolutely love doing these! They are so easy and they do not need to be perfect. This is a great beginner's project.

For a baby rag quilt you will need:
a total of 2 yards of fabric
(for this project I have used 1 yard of each color).
If you want to use batting you will need about one yard.

You can use flannel or any domestic fabric.
You can use old flannel shirts, dresses, sheets...anything!
Choose any amount of colors you'd like, you can even just use one color!
Do not pre-wash.

Fold the fabric in half, holding salvage ends to the top, then fold again.
Cut every 8 inches.

Take each 8 inch strip just cut, and cut again into 8 inch squares.
I know I have 2 different fabrics showing,
but you will do this with all of your fabric.
Quilting rulers and a rotary cutter make this very easy and fast,
but you can do it with a ruler and scissors too.

If you choose to use batting, any type of batting will work.
This is another good reason to save your scraps, even of batting.
Cut your batting into 6" squares.
Place the batting in the center of an 8" square,
with right side of flannel square being face down.
Place another 8" square on top of the batting,
like a sandwich.
If using more than one color,
you will need to figure out before hand
which colors you want to back which color.
Because this is for a baby I chose not to use batting.

Using straight pins, place one pin on two opposite sides of your square.
Pin though both pieces of the 8" squares.

Using a ruler and an erasable marker,
draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.

Then draw another line in the opposite corners to make an X.
You can skip these two steps if you think you can 'eye' sewing
a straight line to make your X.
Sew a straight line on each of your marks to make an X.
You can use a straight stitch, a zigzag or
any decorative stitch you'd like.
You may use thread that blends in well or one that really stands out.

After all your X's are sewn in (this is your actual quilting),
you need to lay your squares out and see how you want to put them together.
I chose to alternate squares to give this a patchwork look.

Take your first 2 squares and
using a 1/2 inch seam, sew a straight stitch.
You will want to
make sure your seams are facing up toward you
(opposite of any other type of sewing you do).
After you sew your rows together,
you will go through and sew your columns together.
Remember to keep your seams facing upward.

After all of the squares are together,
using a 1/2 seam,
sew a straight stitch all the way around your whole quilt.

Use your scissors to clip about 3/4 of the way down on all of the seams,
including the outside seams.
You need to make your clips about 1/4" apart.
If you clip too far apart, it will not 'fray' well.
Be careful not to cut into your seams.

This is what the back side of your quilt should look like.

After all of your seams are clipped,
run the quilt through the rinse cycle and then dry it.
This is what gives it the ragged look.
Be sure to clean your lint trap after doing this,
it will be full!
If you do a rag quilt larger than a baby quilt
you may want to take it to the laundry mat to wash and dry for the first time.


Rebecca said...

Oh I LOVE this! I have seen them before and always wondered how they were done! I have just recently purchased quite a bit of flannel on sale~perhaps I have found a good use for it now?!?! :-)

Thank You!

Bobi Jensen said...

I love making rag quilts! A good source of flannel is used receiving blankets. They can be found for next to nothing at garage sales.

Sherry said...

Great tutorial! This would be great to do with my dd.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tutorial! :o)

I just may take this one on. Bennie just found out he's going to be a grandpa!

Lylah Ledner said...

Hi Kathy

What an absolutely beautiful quilt. It looks like you have a lot of good info on your blog!


Brenda said...

I've had this bookmarked for a while and I finally know what I'm going to make! My 4 year old daughter needs a bedspread for her twin bed. Would you be able to tell me how much fabric I should aim to buy for a quilt that would cover a twin bed? I'm going to be using 2 colors--yellow and purple. I can't wait! I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks!

Kathy, Jeff's Wife said...

Buy at least 7 yards, 3 1/2 of each color. If you are new to sewing you may even want to buy 8 yards (4 of each color), to give yourself room for not keeping the 1/2" seam allowance. Another thing to keep in mind is how far you want it to hang off the bed. This would be a GREAT math project for the kids! Measure the bed, allow for 1/2" on each side of the 8"square. Most flannel fabric is 44" wide, so you can figure the yardage from there.

Brenda said...

Thanks Kathy! I made a baby quilt last week and it was so forgiving. I'm glad I did a practice one first, though.

Shoot, this would be a great math problem for me! I'm terrible at figuring out yardages. Thanks for the help!

Tiffany K. said...

I love your tutorial!! It seems to be the most understandable so far, and since I'm a visual learner, your pictures are lovely and a huge help!!

Could you tell me about how long it takes to put a quilt together? I'm using 7" blocks and it will be baby sized. It's for a shower in 4 weeks. Also, why do you not use the batting for a baby quilt?

Thank You!!!!

Kathy, Jeff's Wife said...

Hi Tiffany,

It is possible to get it done in a day, it took me a couple hours. Part of it depends if you are use to cutting fabric and using a sewing machine.

This is a very forgiving quilt, so it does not show if it is not lined up just right.

You can use batting if you like, but it may be too warm for a baby, it's just preference.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful!! Thanks for sharing the link for me!! :)

Tiffany K. said...


I just wanted to share my final product with you! Thank you, again, for putting the time into posting these instructions!!! I look forward to making MORE rag quilts for new babies.

Take Care!!!

A happy heart at home said...

I love these! I wondered how they were done. I'm so glad I found this through Kathy's email newsletter. Thanks!


Shaunta' said...

We are having twins in December, Lord willing. This sounds easy enough that I can finish 2 by then! Thanks for this tutorial, and our baby boy and girl thank you too!

Megan Maughan said...

This is a great tutorial! I have been looking everywhere for a step by step model like this, I am starting a rag quilt for my son's bed, and I've not made many quilts before. This is a huge help! Thanks!

Angela said...


I made my first quilt from some old jeans and cotton fabric. Take a look if you get a chance. I think it turned out pretty well.

Unknown said...

I use this "recipe" for baby quilts- always an appreciate gift. Also use 1 square of blue jean and double of flannel for lager quilts.

Unknown said...

Hi! I loved the tutorial! I'm planning making one for ny new baby boy. I do have one question though. Why is it so important NOT wash fabric before hand? Is this because of creating process?
Thanks so much!