How to Make Rag Baby Quilts

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Soft and cuddly, flannel rag quilts are ideal for babies. These quilts come together quickly and offer an opportunity to use up scraps of batting. The keys to successfully make a rag quilt are simple: careful cutting and accurate seam allowances. You quilt the blocks before you assemble the rows, which makes the construction quick and easy. Be sure to reserve time to clip the seams – that part of the project takes nearly as much time as making the blocks.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton flannel fabric
  • Cotton batting, baby quilt size or scraps total to 3 yards
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)
  • Clear straightedge ruler
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Water soluble fabric marker
  • Spring-loaded snips (optional)
Easy Flannel Baby Quilt
Easy Flannel Baby Quilt (Image: Debbie Williams)

How to Make a Rag Baby Quilt

Step 1

You can use homespun fabric for rag quilts, but flannel works best for baby quilts. A 50-inch by 45-inch quilt requires a total of 5 yards of fabric. This quilt was made from 2 1/2 yards of a main fabric and six half-yard pieces of complementary fabrics. Do not pre-wash the fabric. Please see the last slide for an itemized list of tools and materials.

Gather materials.
Gather materials. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 2

Cut 180 6-inch squares of flannel: 132 squares of the main fabric and 8 squares of each of the six complementary fabrics.

Cut flannel squares.
Cut flannel squares. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 3

Cut 180 5-inch squares of batting. You can cut the fabric and batting with scissors, but it’s easier and more efficient to use a rotary cutter and a cutting mat.

Cut batting squares.
Cut batting squares. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 4

Center a 5-inch square of batting on a 6-inch square of fabric. Top with another 6-inch square of fabric, aligning the edges of the squares of fabric. Repeat to create 90 fabric/batting/fabric blocks. Using the main fabric for the back of each block. Make 42 blocks of the main fabric, and 48 blocks of each complementary fabric using the main fabric for the back of each block.

Sandwich batting between flannel squares.
Sandwich batting between flannel squares. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 5

Line up a clear straightedge ruler from one corner to the diagonally opposite corner and mark a line, using a water-soluble fabric marker. Line up the ruler on the opposite corners and mark a second line to create an X across the entire block. Repeat on remaining squares.

Mark an X on each the front of each assembled square.
Mark an X on each the front of each assembled square. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 6

Stitch from one corner to the opposite corner, following the stitching line marked in Step 5. Repeat with remaining squares.

Sew corner to corner, along marked lines.
Sew corner to corner, along marked lines. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 7

Line up the first two blocks, back sides together. Stitch the blocks together, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Note: the seam allowances face the front of the quilt.

Stitch blocks together, with seams facing the front of the quilt.
Stitch blocks together, with seams facing the front of the quilt. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 8

Lay out 9 blocks of the main fabric for the first row. For the second row, lay out one block of the main fabric and one of each of the complementary fabrics. Place first block of the third row, using the same fabric as the last block in the second row. Lay out the remaining rows, shifting the fabrics one block over for each row.

Lay out the rows.
Lay out the rows. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 9

Pin the first row to the second row, matching seam allowances and keeping them open. Stitch the rows together, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Repeat to join remaining rows. Stitch around the perimeter of the quilt, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Stitch the rows together.
Stitch the rows together. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 10

Clip through all layers of each seam allowance, snipping at quarter-inch intervals. Stop each snip about 1/8 inch from the stitching line. Clip around the perimeter of the quilt as well.

Clip the seam allowances.
Clip the seam allowances. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 11

Wash and dry the quilt. The clipped seam allowances will fray substantially, creating a soft, fuzzy border around each block.

Wash and dry the quilt to soften the seam allowances.
Wash and dry the quilt to soften the seam allowances. (Image: Debbie Williams)
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