HOW TO MAKE A RAG QUILT – What is all the Fluff about?

When I first began my quilting endeavors I would wonder around a nearby fabric store and hear others in the flannel isle saying things like “Oh, this would make such a cute rag quilt”.  I didn’t know what in the world they were talking about as I had not been introduced to this style of quilting yet.  I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what a rag quilt would look like.  I envisioned a bunch of rags sewn together and thought how could that be a cute quilt? I knew that I was going to have to learn how to make one.

In this article, I will go over:PATTERN USING 6" SQUARES, 4 FABRICS

  • Fabric Types and Amounts
  • Block Sizes
  • Creating your own Rag Quilt

 

What is all the Fluff About?

After doing some investigating on my end, I found out just how cute these quilts are.  This style of quilt requires you to sew the block seams so that the raw edges or seams show on the quilt top not underneath on the bottom against the batting.

Sounds kind of goofy but what you get once you cut and fray these seams or edges is why I refer to these as fluffy quilts.

Since in most cases all of your fabric cuts are the same for the quilt top, middle and bottom of this style of quilting it really is very simple to create.  All you need to be able to do is cut and sew straight lines.

 

What is the Best Fabric for a Rag Quilt?

For a rag quilt, you will want to choose fabrics that fray easily after being snipped so that you can achieve that ragged look.  That is what this style of quilting is all about.  The most popular materials are flannel, fleece and also denim.  Cotton can be used, however, I prefer the others for their soft and fluffy texture.

When choosing your fabric, YOU get to decide on how many different ones to use.  You can use just two different fabrics or 3, 4, 5… As many as you want or you can buy a charm pack of several different prints. For the back of the quilt, you may want to use just one fabric or choose a couple that will blend well with the front as all layers will show on finished quilt top.

For the inside of your square sandwiches, you can use a cotton batting or flannel.  Some battings do not fray well and you may end up with fuzzies instead of the ragged look, especially if you use a polyester batting.  If you choose to use batting I would suggest cutting these squares 2″ smaller than the top and bottom.

The reason I like to use flannel for the inside of the square sandwich besides the fact that it frays easily is that you can add more interest to your quilt by adding another color that goes well with the top and bottom of the quilt. If you are using fleece or denim for the quilt top you may opt to not include the middle layer as these are heavier weight fabrics.

<===== Fabulous Flannel Fabrics=====>

What Size Blocks to Use and How Many are Needed for Different Sizes of Quilts?

*** Please note the total squares needed includes both the top of the quilt and the back***

SMALL OR CRIB QUILT (32″x 56″)

 SQUARE SIZE/TOTAL NEEDED  COLUMNS   ROWS
5 “- TOTAL = 288 SQUARES     9  16
6″ – TOTAL = 168 SQUARES     7  12
10″ –  NOT SUGGESTED     ****    ****

 

TWIN OR THROW QUILT (70″x 91″)

 SQUARE SIZE/TOTAL NEEDED  COLUMNS  ROWS
5″ – TOTAL = 1040 SQUARES 20 26
6″ – TOTAL = 600 SQUARES 15 20
10″ – TOTAL = 176 SQUARES 8 11

 

FULL QUILT (84″ x 91″)

 SQUARE SIZE/TOTAL NEEDED  COLUMNS ROWS
5″ – TOTAL = 1248 24 26
6″ – TOTAL = 760 19 20
10″ – TOTAL = 220 10 11

 

QUEEN QUILT (91″ x 95″)

 SQUARE SIZE/TOTAL NEEDED  COLUMNS ROWS
5″ – TOTAL = 1040 26 27
6″ – TOTAL = 840 20 21
10″ – TOTAL = 242 11 11

 

KING QUILT (108″ x 108″)

 SQUARE SIZE/TOTAL NEEDED   COLUMNS ROWS
5″ – NOT SUGGESTED  **** ****
6″ – TOTAL = 1152 24 24
10″ – TOTAL = 338 13 13

From the above information, you now know how many squares are needed to make the different sizes of quilts. You also know how many to place in each row and column

 

how much fabric to buy

So how much material do you need to purchase?  Take a look at the chart below.

 How Much Fabric for a Rag Quilt?

1 Yard of 43″ Fabric Yields…

  56 5″ squares
  30 6″ squares
   9 10″ squares

2 Yards of 43″ Fabric Yields…

 112 5″ squares
 66 6: squares
 18 10″ squares

 

 

Before we get started on the instructions make sure you have the tools necessary to work on and complete your quilt.

Besides your fabrics, you will need….

This style of quilting doesn’t really take a pattern to create but, if you are more comfortable following a laid out pattern then please click on the link below for further information.  Otherwise, please keep reading and we will go over the steps.

                           <===== Patterns for Rag Quilts======>

How To Make a Rag Quilt?steps to creating your quilt

  • I suggest always prewashing your fabric.  Sometimes the darker colors do run and it is best to avoid any chances of ruining your creation after the first wash.
  • Press your fabrics with a hot iron so that you are able to cut neat squares.(skip this step if using fleece)
  • Cut your fabrics to the desired size of block you have chosen. There are two ways you can do this. If you are using flannel for the middle then go ahead and lay them on top of each other and cut all three layers the same size.  Your rotary cutter will be able to cut through all layers.  If you are using batting I would cut the top and bottom fabric together and then cut the same number of batting separately as you will want it two inches smaller than the fabric blocks.
  • If you have a walking foot, now is the time to attach it.  If not be sure to pin and check to make sure all layers are staying in place.
  • Separate your squares into piles of bottoms, middles, and tops.  Lay one bottom square right side down, add the middle and place the top square, right side up on top.  Pin on the 4 outside edges making sure all is square.  Sew an X from corner to corner (stopping 1/2″ inch from the corners.
  • You can always create your own design in the square such as circles, or curvy shaped X.  Just be sure all layers are secure together.  This will make your square sandwiches.
  • After you have stitched the sandwiches together, lay your squares out.  You may need to do this on the floor, depending on what size of quilt you are sewing.
  • After you come up with your layout, pick up the pieces starting with the first column on the lower left-hand corner, move right placing each piece in the row under the prior piece.  Do this for each row you will want to end up with a pile of squares on the right side for each row.
  • Pick up your piles, starting on the bottom right side, placing each pile on top of the previous.  This will keep your pattern in place.  You will want to stagger them to keep piles separate.
  • Using a 3/4 inch seam begin sewing your rows together side by side.  Be sure that you are stitching with all of the seams up, facing you.  This is what you will be snipping to create the fluff.  (If you need a visual for this part, please watch the video below as it goes over all of the steps we are talking about)
  • The next step is to sew all of the rows to each other, again using a 3/4″seam.  Great! you are making great progress…
  • Once you have completed the above, sew around the four outside sides with a 3/4 inch seam.
  • Using your snippers cut each row, column and outside sewn seams, being careful not to cut through the seams.  You will want to make your cuts about 1/2 deep and 1/2 wide.
  • You are almost done!
  • Wash your new creation in your washing machine on cold/gentle.  This will aid in the fraying ragged look.  If you have some liquid fabric softener, toss some in, it will help with the fraying.
  • Before placing your quilt in the dryer it is best if you shake it outside to remove some of the loose strings to avoid clogging up your dryer vent.  For larger quilts, I take them to the local laundry mat since their machines have a much larger capacity.  Be courteous and pick up after yourself!.
  • You may have a few lint strands until after a few washes.

 

RAG QUILT INSTRUCTIONS – VIDEO

 

After learning what I have shared above I no longer walk into a fabric store or purchase fabric on-line, wondering what a rag quilt is.  I hope you enjoy creating your own.

If you have any questions or ideas, please leave them in the comment box below and as always,

Thank you,

KayL

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