If you are a beginner quilter looking for
near-immediate gratification or an old pro who wants to create a different
look, why not try making a rag quilt?
Frayed seams are a characteristic of rag quilts. Fraying the edges give a
rag quilt a soft, vintage look simply by clipping the seams and washing and
drying the quilt. Rag quilt patterns can be adaptations of traditional quilt
patterns or, totally new designs that will be accented by the frayed edges.
Rag quilt patterns do not need to be expensive. As a matter of fact, many
rag quilt patterns are available for free on the Internet. Use your favorite
search engine to find "rag quilt patterns."
If you've already been exploring the Internet, chances are your favorite
quilt sites also have rag quilt patterns available, or links to some. The
best "how-to-quilt" websites offer rag quilt information as well as
Variations of the Nine Patch are popular rag quilt patterns. Strips are
another popular rag quilt pattern. Keep in mind that while intricate designs
could be converted into a rag quilt pattern, the fraying might distract from
the quilt pattern.
It's possible to complete a rag quilt in a weekend! The biggest challenge in
making a rag quilt is getting accustomed to sewing "backwards." In
traditional quilting, we generally stitch the right sides together then turn
them so the seams will be hidden on the underneath side.
With rag quilt patterns, the seams are sewn to the top so they can be
clipped and frayed.
When assembling your rag quilt, you will make a fabric sandwich: place the
first piece right side down on your table. The middle layer will be a piece
of flannel or batting, and the top piece will be your fabric, right side up.
Once you have all your fabric sandwiches ready, you will sew the block
together, again keeping the right sides up. So, instead of sewing with the
right sides together, your rag quilt pattern will be sewn with the wrong
sides together. This will keep your seams on top of the quilt.
Unlike traditional quilting, having uneven seams won't be noticed once your
rag quilt pattern is complete. So, even if you can't sew a straight line
with your sewing machine, you can make a gorgeous rag quilt!
That's another reason rag quilt patterns are so popular. They can be sewn
together rather quickly using your sewing machine. The machine stitches will
lock in and add stability to the quilt.
Since the blocks are sewn with the seams on top, there is no need for
additional quilting of your rag quilt pattern. That makes rag quilt pattern
projects move along at a nice speed!
Completing your rag quilt will take a little patience once all the sewing is
complete. To "rag" your quilt pattern, you will need to clip the seams.
Clip straight down the seam (perpendicular to the stitches). You will need
to make these cuts about every quarter of an inch. Your hand will get tired!
To avoid hand cramps and blisters on your cutting fingers, you might like to
use a pair of spring loaded scissors as you complete your rag quilt
patterns. Spring loaded scissors automatically pop open after each snip has
been made. They also usually are made so they are held on the outside,
rather than putting your fingers inside scissor holes. If you don't already
have a good, sharp pair, expect to pay $15 or more. If you plan to do much
rag quilting in the future, it might be a good investment!
Once you seams are snipped all around your rag quilt, throw it in the washer
on a delicate cycle. It's not necessary to add soap, but it's okay if you do
choose to do so. After the wash cycle, give your rag quilt a double check to
make sure you've snipped all of the seam allowances. If you find a place
you've missed, this is the time to add snips. Once you are satisfied with
the snipping, toss the quilt into your drier. Once it's dried, your rag
quilt will be complete!