Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Baby Rag Quilt Tutorial







WHY A RAG QUILT???

A rag quilt is my #1 'go to' project when I need a baby gift.  It is such a quick and inexpensive way to give a personal and handmade gift to a friend or family member.  It is also a great 'Beginner's Sewing Project'.  You sew a bunch of straight lines and you don't even have to cut your squares exactly perfect.  You can also be very creative in your layout and in the type of fabric you use.  I generally use 2 different fabrics for my top and then a nice recycled sheet for my back. 

So, enough chit-chat!  Let' get started!

MATERIALS

Quilts Finished Measurements: ~35"x35"
Seam allowance: 1/2"

Cut 25, 6" squares of Fabric 1 (Chevron)
Cut 24, 6" squares of Fabric 2 (Owls)
Cut 49, 6" squares of Fabric 3 (for back)

Matching Thread
Good pair of sharp scissors for snipping fabric edges (there are specialty scissors just for rag quilts, but I usually do without)
Cutting Mat
Rotary Cutter or Fabric Scissors
Straight edge (I use a quilting ruler that is exactly 6" at its width.  It makes cutting the squares go so much faster!)

GETTING STARTED

 1. Cut out all your pieces.  This seems to take FOREVER!  I usually cut out the squares one night and then sew the next night.  Once they are cut out I like to arrange them on the floor or a table to make sure I like the way it looks.  This is a very basic design.  You could use 4 different fabrics if you like, but I have a hard enough time picking out just 2!  Also, you can make this as big or as small as you like.  Have fun with it!



 2. Once I like the arrangement, I then stack my rows into piles and label them, i.e. Row 1...2...3..etc.


3. Take your stack of 'Row 1' and head on over to your machine to start adding fabric #3 to the back of each square.  In the picture below you can see that my white sheet fabric, which is my back of the quilt, is matched up with my first square. Every square should be made up of a front piece AND a back piece at this point.

So here I have my stack of row 1.  I will take off the first two squares in my pile, add my backing fabric to each one and then I will sew these two pieces WRONG sides together.  (If you routinely sew then you are used to sewing RIGHT sides together, but not in a rag quilt.  It is WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, which in this case the wrong side is whatever you are using as the back of your quilt.  That is how you get the nice little rag look to the front.  So clever!


4. Mark your seam allowance to 1/2" on your machine and start sewing!  You do not have to do this, but I like having a bigger measuring line to work with.   

Note:  You can make your seam allowance as big or small as you want.  Just like you can make the squares as big or small as you want.  

 5.  Sandwich the first 2 squares together and sew a 1/2' seam allowance straight down the side.

6.  This is what is should look like on the back of your 2 pieces you just sewed together.  The front of your rag quilt will be 'raggy', (is that a word???)  and the back will be nice and smooth like this.

7.  Now, take another square from the stack and add it to the 2 squares you just sewed together.  Make sure you are keeping your pattern going.  Sew it the same way as the previous 2...wrong sides together (WST).   Keep going until you are finished with row 1.


8.  Now, take your stack labeled 'Row 2' and sew it together exactly the same way you did row 1. 


Keep going like this until all your blocks are sewn into rows.

9.  Now that all your blocks are sewn into rows, the next step is to sew your rows together.  Start by sewing your top two rows together first using a 1/2" seam allowance.


The best way to do this is to line up the rows with WST.  Try to line up the seams and then pin the seams together.  If you look closely in the picture you can see that I am pushing one seam to the left and one seam to the right.  This will reduce the bulk at the seams while you are sewing.  Your sewing machine will appreciate it! 

TIP:   A good tip is to try to fold the seam that will be on the bottom, while you are sewing, away from you and the seam that will be on the top toward you.  This will reduce the risk of the seam on the bottom getting bent out of shape while it goes under the foot of your machine.  You can keep an eye on the seam on the top to make sure it lays flat while you are sewing.  That probably sounds confusing, but you will understand once you start sewing...trust me.  :)

10.  Continue to pin on another row and then sew....pin on another row and sew...until all your rows are sewed together.

Once all your rows are sewed together it should look like this!

11.  Now, you need to sew a 1/2" seam allowance all around the outside on all 4 sides.

12.  The sewing is over!  This is the point where you get our your scissors and start snipping your little heart out until every seam is snipped.  My advice is to just pick an end to start with and go from there.  I usually go down an entire row first, turn the quilt and then start again.  Use the tips of your scissors to snip ~1/2 apart all the way across every seam around every square.  It's easy to miss some so check and double check to make sure you did not miss snipping any. 

I did not get  a good picture of me snipping, but here is is picture of the snipped edges.  Hopefully you will get the idea.  When you are trying to snip the areas where 4 corners intersect, be sure to snip those well too. 

IMPORTANT!  DO NOT SNIP THROUGH YOUR SEAMS!


13.  The last step is to wash your rag quilt.  I usually wash and dry three times before I give it to the recipient.  Washing will encourage all those raveled edges to finish unraveling so that your present won't be the gift that keeps on giving.  This quilt in particular kept shedding and shedding!  I don't know why but it was driving me crazy! 

TIP:  After washing, I shake it outside and then after drying I shake it again. 

So that is it!  I hope this tutorial was easy to understand.  I sure hope so!  If you have any questions PLEASE don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail or comment on my blog. 




Here are some photos of the other rag quilts I have completed.  Click on the picture to read more about each one.
http://ginascraftcorner.blogspot.com/2013/06/sweet-girly-rag-quilt.html

http://ginascraftcorner.blogspot.com/2013/06/sweet-girly-rag-quilt.html

http://ginascraftcorner.blogspot.com/2013/06/sweet-girly-rag-quilt.html

Thanks for stopping by!!
Blessings,
~Gina

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