Here’s instructions for the quilt anyone can make, even if you’ve never sewn before!
- Fabric that is likely to fray (flannel, cotton, denim)
- Batting or flannel for inside the "quilt sandwich" (I highly recommend sticking w/ flannel- it simplifies things and gives you more fray)
- Spring-action snipping shears (trust me, they're worth buying to prevent major hand fatigue from all the snipping!)
First, decide how big you want your quilt to be to determine how much fabric you'll need. I like to work with 7" squares, which after being rag quilted (w/ a 1" seam allowance) turn into 5" squares.
- I make baby quilts 6 squares by 8 squares, which makes a 30"x40" blanket. It's a nice size for in the crib, as well as to throw over an infant car seat to keep out cold wind or yucky germs.
- I make a multi-purpose quilt 9 squares by 12 squares, which makes a 45"x 60" blanket. It is a good size to keep handy in the living room for staying cozy on the couch... It makes a generous twin-size bed quilt... And it even works on a toddler bed when you drape the length of the blanket across the width of the bed. This way, it's more likely to stay in place on the bed than if it was only slightly bigger than the toddler bed.
After you determine the size of blanket you want & how many squares it'll be: you'll need that many squares of flannel/batting, and twice that many squares of fabric. So for the multi-purpose size blanket of 9x12 squares, 9x12=108, so you'll need 108 squares of flannel, and twice that many, 216, squares of fabric.
Tip: Remember when figuring out how much fabric you need to figure it based on how many squares you can cut per row. If you're making the multi-purpose blanket you need 216 SQUARES of cute fabric, and 108 SQUARES of flannel. IF you choose a fabric that comes on a 44" bolt, you'll get six 7" squares per row, so that'd be 36 ROWS (252 in or 7 yd) total cute fabric... OR 54 SQUARES / 9 ROWS / 63" / 1.75 YARDS EACH of FOUR different cute, coordinating fabrics. Then you also need 18 ROWS (126in or 3.5yd) of flannel. Plus a little extra of each to account for error in cutting (yours or the girl cutting your fabric crooked at the store- it happens). That is all based on a 44" fabric bolt, which is how most quilting cottons come, but it seems like the flannel comes in a wider bolt, in which case you'd refigure how many seven inch squares would fit in a row, and how many rows you'd need to get your 108 squares. I bet your math teacher would be grinning if she could see you computing this right now... or rather cheating off my answers :)
Tip: If you want to practice your skills and get an idea of how well your fabric will fray, you may practice by making a little pillow case or cushion first.
Now cut out your fabric squares to 7"x7". You'll need two layers of fabric squares (for top and bottom layers), and one layer of flannel (or batting) for inside the "quilt sandwich". If you choose to use batting, cut it to 5"x5". Using flannel keeps things simple b/c all your fabric squares and flannel squares are the same size (7"), plus it gives you extra fray.
To make your quilt
sandwiches: lay Fabric A right side down, then center
flannel/batting on top of it. Last, lay Fabric B on top,
right side up. It's nice to use two different fabrics on
the top & bottom, because it gives another color in
your frays around the edges.
If you're using batting, then sew an "X" across the sandwich to quilt them together. If you're using flannel, you don't need to quilt it together- just pin the three layers together for now. Repeat to make all quilt sandwiches.
Now lay your quilt sandwiches out in the arrangement you want. You'll be working with them one row at a time.
To sew a row of sandwiches together, join one sandwich to another with all raw edges turned "up" towards the top layer of fabric, using a 1" seam allowance. It'll look something like this:
After you have your sandwiches assembled into rows, then try to line up the seams as best as you can from one row to the next. Then sew the rows together the same way as you did the sandwiches, with raw edges turned up. The first photo shows the top side of the quilt. The second photo shows the smooth, bottom side.
Tip: Set your stitch length to a small number, to make it a stronger, tighter stitch. I think on my machine I used a #1.
After you've joined all rows, sew a 1" line all the way around the edge of the quilt.
Now cut equal snips in the seam allowances, getting close to the seams but NOT snipping through them.
The back side of the quilt will be smooth like this:
After you've snipped
towards all the seams, toss the blanket into the wash.
Dry the blanket on high heat to help it fray more and become soft and fluffy. Some people do this at a laundromat b/c it does produce a LOT of lint. If you're doing it at home, just pause the drying cycle and empty the lint trap a time or two in the middle of the cycle.
When you remove the blanket from the dryer, take it outside and give it a good shake to get rid of spare loose threads. You may also use a tape roller.
Tip: This is a good time to double check that all of your seams are still in place (that there are no "holes"). If you accidentally snipped into a seam line, it will have come open in the wash. If that's the case, simply re-sew that seam in place and you're good to go. (I found that using a 1" seam line I didn't snip into any seams, but when I only used a 1/2" seam line I did snip into a couple of them.)
Tip: The more you wash and dry this blanket, the fluffier and more frayed the seams become. You may also have to re-trim some threads after future washes, though not nearly as many as your first wash.
Optional Variations: You can vary the size of the blocks, the seam allowance (which varies the amount of fray), size of the quilt, and the layout of the blocks to give you all sorts of different looks. Now that you have the basic concept down, here are some neat variations of rag quilts to give you some inspiration...
Check out my
Rag Bag Tutorial HERE!
Last, if you decided to
do this project yourself, please send me a photo of it
with your name and what state you're from! I've recently
decided to start featuring my readers' finished results.
Featured Reader's Results:
Kelsey S. from
Tennessee used this tutorial to make her first ever
quilt! She was ambitious and made hers 70" x 60". Wow!
Here's how it turned out:
And she featured it on her blog, here! Thanks Kelsey!
Want to leave comments about
Kelsey's rag quilt? Go HERE! :)
Teri B. from Kansas also made her first quilt using this tutorial... she found out that her local quilt shop would cut and fringe her squares for her, which gave her a "shortcut" method to making her quilt. She says "This was my first quilt EVER (and I'm a grandma in her mid-fifties) and it was done in less than two days time..." **
**Quilt shops have
unbeatable fabric selection, but fabrics cost more per yard
there than in chains like Hobby Lobby. Teri says in order for
the quilt shop to cut her fabric for her, she had to buy
extra so it'd fit their cutting machine, so in the future
she'll probably cut her own.
Want to leave comments about Teri's rag quilt? Go HERE! :)
She also made a lap quilts for her father-in-law and niece:
Go HERE! to leave comments:)
and some doll-size rag
quilts for her granddaughters:
Go HERE! to leave comments:)