Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Saturday Experiment - Fat 1/4 Rag Quilt!

Good afternoon!  I have had a pile of half yards sitting in my shelf for quite some time now - all in blacks.  And have wondered what I would do with them?  Well, one of my besties is turning the big 40 tomorrow (we share a birthday) and her big bash is in a few weeks up in the country.  And black is her colour.  Literally.  She has amazing style - both in clothing and home, so I wanted to make her something that would not stick out like a sore thumb, but would be practical also.

I have made rag quilts before, but only cot size, so the thought of making a large quilt, with 9" blocks was not overly appealing to me!  I decided to take a punt and see if the same rag quilt theory would work on a larger scale.  So this is what I did.....


5 Half Yards of quilting cotton
2 metres of flanelette
2 metres of plain homespun cotton
Rotary Cutter, Mat & Ruler
Sharp scissors!


First I chose the prints I wanted to use.

All fabrics required.

You need 3 layers of fabric - The prints for the top, flannelette for the middle (you can use bamboo batting which works well also) and another layer of cotton for the bottom, I'm using black homespun.
 Using my rotary cutter, ruler and mat, I squared up my fabric.  If you have purchased fat 1/4's, just neaten them up to make sure they are straight.  I have half yards, so I had to cut them down to size.
FYI - Fat 1/4's are 18x22inches.

Once you have all fabric cut to size, it's time to layer them as mentioned earlier.  Lots of pins help with the process when sewing each square together.  You can use more or less than I have, but I am not a lover of pins, so this was enough for me!
All the squares pinned together, ready to go.
Get a quilting ruler (or long ruler or measuring tool of some sort) and line it up from corner to corner.
Mark lines using fabric pencil or chalk from corners to corners, as well as straight through the middle both widthways and lengthways. 
You want a star formation of lines.
Now it's time to sew.  When I have made smaller size rag quilts, I have just sewn from edge to edge.  However, because these are larger pieces of fabric, I found it was best to start from the middle and work outwards.  This lessens the risk of your fabric bunching up and getting little "pleats" of fabric.  Backstitch at both the beginning and end of each line of stitching.

A star formation of stitching.

Now it's time to take all of the sewn together blocks and place them how you want the end result to look.  You are now going to sew the rows together in 3's. 
Take your first 2 blocks and place their backs together.  You can pin them together if you like, but I chose not to.
Sew them together using a half inch seam allowance, remembering to backstitch at each end.  If you haven't made a rag quilt before you may find this strange, but you want your seams showing on the outside of your quilt.
Like this!  Grab the 3rd block and sew to make a row of 3.
You will then have 3 rows of 3 blocks.
This is where my pinning comes in.  I take 2 rows of blocks, and pin them together at the seams, backs together, to make sure they are all matching and "square".  I push one seam to each side to lessen the bulk as I am sewing. 
The edge of the rows pinned together.
Sew the two rows together, once again using a half inch seam allowance, with the seams showing outwards again.  If you find as you are sewing the material puckers a bit, don't stress!  These quilts are rather forgiving!! 

Rows coming together. Now sew the 3rd row together. 
Finished seams.
Quilt all sewn together!
Lastly, sew a half inch seam all the way around the outside of the quilt.
Now it is time to give the quilt the "rag effect".  Get yourself some really sharp scissors.  Start by snipping the seams where the blocks all meet.  Snip on each side of where the seam has been sewn down, allowing the seam to lift up as shown.

You now need to go along EVERY SINGLE seam and snip them, as close to the stitching as possible, without cutting the stitches!  (If you do happen to catch the stitching, just run over it again on your sewing machine) You can make the cuts as close or as far apart as you like, mine are about half an inch apart, I find that this gives it quite a good effect.

This seam snipping is the most time consuming part of the quilt, so grab a coffee and watch some tv!
Once your hand has recovered from all of the snipping, take your quilt and throw it in the washing machine.  You don't have to put any detergent in if you don't want to, and just pop it on the quickest wash cycle you have.  I have a 15 minutes cycle.  Once your wash is finished, throw the quilt in the dryer.  Make sure your lint collector in your dryer is empty before you do this, as your quilt is going to lose a LOT of threads and lint, so you don't want to clog it up.


The more washes your quilt gets, the more "raggy" the seams will become!  
This quilt's finished size is 50.5" x 60".  Perfect for a grown-up!

I hope you've found this helpful and informative!  Let me know if you give it a go!


  1. This is great! I have been confused by rag quilt tutorials before so am yet to try one. I will definitely be trying one after seeing this :)

    1. That's great Jo! I was a bit confused when I first made one, so was hoping this made sense!


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