How to make Rag Quilts
(I plan to add pictures soon)
Rag Quilts are easy and fairly quick to make, depending on how intricate your design is. You basically quilt and piece your quilt in one step. Actually, you cut your blocks, then quilt them, and then piece them.
In as far as pattern is concerned; you can choose pretty much any quilt pattern. All you do is put the seams and the right side of the fabric on the outside, on top.
If you choose a pattern with lots of small blocks or triangles, then you might want to piece a couple together and then cut a piece of backing about ½ inch smaller on all four sides than your block, and the a backing block the same size as the pieced block.
When you do any of the piecing together, make a wider seam than your usual ¼ inch seam. Make at least ½ inch seams. You’ll need to take this into consideration when you cut the blocks, pieces, for your pattern.
When you have a bunch of these sets, the top pieced block (or just one fabric block), the batting piece and the backing piece, then pin these three together, with backing right side on outside, batting in between and the top piece right side facing up. Once they are pinned, sew over them in whatever design you like, as if you were machine quilting this small (quilt) block.
Once you have done this to all your blocks, however many you have for the size quilt you are making, you can then sew them together, with the seam sticking out on the top side of the quilt. Continue making your ½ inch seams. On the outer blocks you will want to make a seam ½ an inch from the edge to close and seal the edges.
Then you are ready to take sharp pointed scissor, and clip all your seams. Clip the seams about ½ an inch to one inch apart and stay away about 1/8 of an inch from the stitches that hold the seams together.
Most rag quilts are made from jean or flannel fabric, although, you can use regular cotton fabric as well. When doing a jean quilt, or using some other heavy fabric for an outdoor blanket, I wouldn’t even bother with the batting in between the layers. You can of course do this, but it will make your blanket heavier and bulkier.
Often when you just cut 6 or 8 inch blocks for the front and back of the blanket, you can just zigzag an X over the block when you sew your three layer block together. I did one recently where one of the fabrics had some stripe design on it, so I just sewed to lines across the block horizontally/vertically. You could also make swirls or whatever other design you like when sewing the layers together.
Be creative in making your quilt top. I’ve see others, when making, say, a jean quilt, they cut a heart out of the top block, and then backed it with a red fabric and then sewed and secured the red fabric to the jean fabric, by sewing all the way around the heart, ½ an inch from the cut. Then you can snip that edge as well to make it look ragged.