How to Make Rag Quilts


Rag quilting gives even the most timid seamstresses and seamsters a chance to show off their quilting skills. Unlike with traditional pieced quilts, the pieces used for rag quilts are the same size -- plus, there’s no extra stitching required post-construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Thin cardboard or plastic -- cardboard from an empty cereal box will work
  • Cotton fabric for quilt face
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Tailors’ chalk
  • Scissors
  • Cotton quilt batting
  • Muslin or other cotton fabric for quilt back
  • Dressmakers’ pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Cut a 7 1/2-inch square from the cardboard to use as a template.

  • Cut 168 squares each from the face and back fabrics.

  • Cut 168 6-inch squares from the cotton batting.

  • Sandwich the batting between the fabric squares, with the right sides of both the face and the back facing out. Pin the edges to hold them in place.

  • Begin at one corner and stitch a diagonal line across each of the square bundles. Repeat from the remaining corners to make an X on each square.

  • Pin two squares together with the wrong -- or back -- sides together.

  • Stitch the squares together with a 5/8-inch seam allowance.

  • Pin another square to the row, again with wrong sides together. Stitch it into place.

  • Continue adding squares until you have a row that contains seven squares.

  • Repeat to make a total of 12 rows, each containing seven squares.

  • Pin two rows together, wrong sides facing.

  • Stitch the rows together with a 5/8-inch seam allowance. Repeat until all of the rows have been joined.

  • Sew around the outside edges of the entire quilt, using a 5/8-inch seam allowance.

  • Clip the seams to make a fringe, making the slits about 1/2 deep and about 1 inch apart.

  • Wash and dry the quilt to fraying the exposed and clipped seams.

Tips & Warnings

  • For the best results, use 100-percent cotton fabric or other loosely woven fabrics that will fray. You can use other fabrics -- such as fleece, flannel or knit -- but the seams will look like fringe, rather than getting fluffy.
  • When you are joining the rows, be sure to open the seams on each square so that one side points to the left edge and one to the right.
  • These instructions will produce a 30-by-54-inch quilt of 6-inch squares. For a twin quilt, make 20 rows with 15 squares in each.
  • You can also make larger or smaller squares. Remember that the finished piece will be about 1 1/2 inches smaller than the cut size, due to the seam allowances and the shrinkage from washing.
  • Be careful not to cut through the stitching when you clip the seam allowances.

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  • Photo Credit Marina_Skoropadskaya/iStock/Getty Images
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