Rag Quilt

January 31st, 2010 by Dionna | 16 Comments
Posted in Adults, Eclectic Learning, Teens

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I finally finished our rag quilt, it’s been in the works for a year or more. Last year for Christmas I made rag quilts for both sets of parents and my sisters. I wanted one for our bed too, but personal projects always get pushed aside in my life.

This quilt has been a work in progress for months. Rag quilts are easy to do in spurts: first I designed it on my laptop; months later I cut out all of the pieces; later I quilted them together; then I sewed the rows together; finally I ragged it and washed it. It literally took me months to complete, but each section took less than a week individually.

My rag quilts are the first big sewing projects I’ve ever completed. Before I made quilts last year, the only other sewing project I’d done were my first attempts at cloth wipes. I really am not an expert seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve had several friends ohh and ahh over the quilts and wish longingly for the skills to make one of their own. I am here to tell you: it can be done!

When I started last year, all I had were these two tutorials and the online advice of a few sewing friends:

1) This is my favorite tutorial – I love, love, love the quilt pictured at the bottom of the tutorial. I looked for hours for flannel to do something like that (with the rainbow of colors), but my local craft stores didn’t carry anything good enough and I couldn’t afford the expensive stuff online. Next time . . .

2) This tutorial doesn’t have pictures like the one above, but it is quite clear and helpful.

Here are a few pictures of what I’ve done.

In the first tutorial, the author mentions taking pictures of your colors and mapping out a design on the computer. I did that for all of my quilts because I was making such big ones. All of my fabric squares were 9 x 9 inches (the 3rd inner layer was 8 x 8). For my family’s quilts, I did 10 squares by 10 squares, so the finished quilts were 80 x 80 inches. They fit queen sized beds nicely.

Anyway, the picture above is the design I made on my computer for my parents’ quilt. I took pictures of all of the fabric (some of it I tweaked color to make it easier to recognize while designing, like that yellow) and played with different patterns. The notes on the side there are to help me match up the front and back sides – without a guide I would have spaced out and messed up my design.

And here is that quilt finished. Isn’t Kieran a cute little thing? He was just a year old in this picture! (sniff)

This is the back of mom’s quilt. Let me tell you how super excited she was that I used flannel from one of her sheet sets, so she actually has matching pillow cases.

And here is the quilt I just put on our bed! I love so many things about this quilt. My favorite part is that I saved fabric from every other quilt I made, so the back of our quilt is a mishmash of all of the other fabric. It makes me feel connected to the family that I made quilts for – that might seem a little corny, but it’s true.

Because we just got a new king sized bed, I made our quilt 12 by 12 squares, or 110 x 110 inches. I didn’t know that we were going to have a Cal king, or I would have made it a little bit wider. It works fine though!

If you are a beginner sewer, this is an excellent project to try. Like the second tutorial says, normally rag quilts are made much smaller – people often use them as lap quilts. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them (or research and then answer!).

What was your first sewing project? Link to pictures – I need new inspiration!

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16 Responses to:
"Rag Quilt"

  1. It looks great Dionna!! I love making rag quilts I just finished a rag Christmas tree skirt and posted on a Sewing Mama Christmas blog. If you go to my blog click on A year of Christmas blog button and it’s there.

    Great job!!

  2. that looks terrific! I love it. One of the neat things about rag quilts is that you can add to it if you wish; since you have a Cal king you could put another row or two on the sides if you want to :)

  3. I love the way that you incorporated fabrics that have meaning to you into your quilt. My sister Rachel made all of us siblings a quilt out of fabric from my late grandmother’s stash. I did a KC-CIRCLE class on rag quilts last year- maybe time to resurrect that idea?



    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Excellent coop idea! And I love the quilt from your sister, what a great way to use your grandmother’s fabric!

  4. Wow beautiful! I absolutely love quilts and these are really spectacular

  5. Amber   AmberStrocel

    You can check out my craft project from last year here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/strocel/sets/72157613108347088/

    I am currently a big fan of applique, and pillows that incorporate my preschooler’s embroidery. Oh, and when I really need inspiration I just check out one of Amanda Soule’s books. Love. Them.

  6. Emily

    What an interesting idea. I got a sewing machine from my mom over the holidays… brand new, never used, and she was not going to use it anytime soon so I inherited it. I am excited to give sewing a shot, but I really have NO idea where to begin (I’ve thought about trying my hand at the recycled t-shirt cloths you do so I can get used to it… if I screw a couple of those up as I learn, it wouldn’t be a big deal!). This too might be a good thing to look into… Matthew has an old sheet set that I am about ready to throw out but this would be a more practical way to re-use them! =)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      T-shirt towels are a good start! And you can always do a smaller rag quilt just for fun and practice :)

  7. Hi Dionna! I love your quilts! They’re beautiful! I’ve never made a rag quilt, but I’ve always wanted to make one, now I will!! I just bookmarked the tutorials, thank you for the links. I also really like how you mapped out your quilt. Do you use quilting software?? Great post!

    Happy SITS Sunday! Have a great week! :)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you for stopping by Eileen :) I do not use any kind of quilting software, I just made up a grid of how many squares the quilt will ultimately have, then I copy/paste the pictures of the fabrics onto the grid into patterns. Pretty easy!

  8. Wow. That is a beautiful quilt. I’m the only one in my family who can’t sew or knit to save my life.
    Popped in from SITS just to say hope you are having a good Monday

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you for stopping by!! They really are super easy to make – you should try one and surprise the whole family ;)

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