Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rag Quilt FAQ

I have been asked a lot of questions about rag quilts, so I thought I would answer them all in one place.

The most often-asked question I get is
How do you cut your quilt?




I am not a quilter. Can I do this project?
Yes! The great thing about this quilt is that you can make mistakes and no one will be able to tell! It is a great project for a first-time quilter, so don't be intimidated. Give it a try!

Is this a time-consuming project? How long will it take?
This project can be time-consuming if you are new to sewing, but once you get going, you will get the hang of it and will be able to crank these blankets out like nobody's business! One reader said that she finished her quilt in about 20 hours.

Do I have to use flannel?
You can use whatever fabric you want. I would recommend something that will be soft, such as flannel, cotton, denim, chenille, or Minkie. You can even use a combination of fabrics. For instance, I have used cotton on the top and two layers of flannel on bottom, omitting the batting. You could also do demin on the top and flannel on the bottom. Cotton offers lots of options for colors and patterns and it washes nice and soft, so that is a great option. If using denim, you might want to use a stronger needle and thicker thread. I wouldn't recommend using knit fabric.

Can I omit sewing the X in the middle of the squares?
I wouldn't recommend omitting the X in the squares because that is what holds them together. If you do small enough squares you *might* be able to get away with omitting the Xs, but if it were me, I would still sew them.

Do I have to do a 1-inch seam allowance?
No! I wouldn't use a larger seam allowance than 1-inch, but you can definitely use 3/4 or 1/2-inch seam allowances if you want. The squares will appear bigger and the seams will be less fuzzy. This is a good option if you are concerned about excess fuzz in your washer or if you want to maximize your fabric.

Do I have to use batting?
No! You can omit the batting. With two layers of flannel, the blanket might be heavy enough for your liking. If you want the blanket to be thicker than only two layers of fabric but think the batting is too heavy, try three layers of flannel with no batting. Also, you would not have to cut the middle layer of flannel smaller than the top and bottom layer, like you have to with the batting option.

Will washing the blanket clog my dryer?
No, just make sure you clean out the lint filter before you dry the quilt. It will need to be cleaned out afterward as well.

There are fuzzy pieces all over the quilt, even after washing.
There are going to be fuzzy pieces. That being said, one way you can reduce the fuzziness is to reduce your seam allowances. You also might want to wash the blanket more than once. If you still have problems, just take a lint roller to it.

Should I pre-wash my fabrics?
Will the fabrics bleed?

Will my blanket shrink in the wash?
You can certainly pre-wash your fabrics if you want to. If you are concerned about shrinking, go ahead. I never pre-wash my fabrics and haven't had a problem yet. If you are concerned about the colors bleeding on each other, you may want to pre-wash. I always throw a Shout Color Catcher in the washer when I wash a quilt for the first time. If you are using cotton, denim, or flannel, you can expect a little shrinking.

Can I make a different pattern other than diagonal?
Yes, definitely. It will take some figuring out, but you can make a solid-colored border around the edge, or even do the whole top one color if you choose. I usually make mine in the diagonal pattern shown in my tutorial, but if you want it to look different, go for it! Just lay it out before you start sewing and make sure you sew the seams out so the right fabrics are on top.

How did you make the quilt shown in the video, with smaller and larger squares?
The answer is in this post.

I want to make a bigger blanket. How do I figure out how much fabric I need?
The blanket shown on my tutorial is a great size for little kids, toddlers, and babies. But you can definitely make a bigger quilt. Each of these blankets is made with 8-inch cut squares.

Baby blanket (shown in tutorial):
38 inches x 50 inches
a total of 48 sandwiches
6 squares across x 8 squares down
2 and 2/3 yards patterned fabric, 1 and 1/3 yards each of two other coordinating fabrics.

Larger Blanket:
48 inches x 72 inches
a total of 96 sandwiches
8 squares across x 12 squares down
5 yards patterned fabric, 2 and 3/4 yards each of two other coordinating fabrics.

Standard Twin:
70 inches x 90 inches
a total of 130 sandwiches
10 squares across x 13 squares down
About 6 yards patterned fabric, about 3 yards each of two other coordinating fabrics.
*Use a 1/2-inch seam allowance for a Twin quilt. Your squares will end up being 7 inches instead of 6 inches*

Hope that helps, and have fun sewing your rag quilts! They are easy, fun, and addicting! Feel free to send any other questions you may have my way. Leave a comment or send me an email. Thanks for using my tutorial!

16 comments:

  1. perfect timing! I am halfway through one right now & was starting to worry about how to cut down the rows, whether it would matter which way you cut or not. Thanks!

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  2. Cool video!! You're a utube-r now...

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  3. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TUTORIAL. I AM NOT A SEWER IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. IN FACT IN MY 8TH GRADE HOME EC CLASS, I WAS THE WORST SEWER! NOW 30 YEARS LATER I DESPERATELY WANT TO TRY A RAG QUILT FOR MY SHABBY CHIC GUEST ROOM. YOU ARE AN ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS! THANKS SO MUCH YOU'VE GIVEN ME THE BOOST OF CONFIDENCE AND INFO I NEEDED TO TRY THIS. P.S. IF I'M NOT IN A HURRY, CAN I HANDSTITCH THE WHOLE THING??

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  4. I am making one for my daughters bed and it will be a twin size. Question is you said that I need "about 3 yards of two other coordinating fabrics." So do I need 3 yards TOTAL or 6 yards total since I need 3 of one color and 3 of another? Hope this makes sense. I will check back here for the answer if you can let me know. Thanks!!!! Cute blankets!

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  5. Sorry, Janessa! And thanks for pointing that out. It is 3 yards EACH of two coordinating fabrics! Thanks!

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  6. Okay, so I'm making a rag quilt for my soon to be 3 year old daughter, and I want to make curtains that sort of match...should I use two layers like I do with the quilt? Or should I just do one layer? I'm using a 8 1/2 inch square and have quite a few different fabrics that I'm using so I have enough for both the quilt and curtains...(I figure if i do more than one layer for the curtains I wouldn't have to do a middle layer of batting since it's just curtains).
    Thanks so much!
    Holly Jo

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  7. Can you post a picture of the finished quilt from the tutorial? I would love to see the pattern that you used with the smaller squares. Thanks!

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  8. So if you use 2 flannel layers and one cotton, would you suggest all layers be the same size? How is it sewing six layers? Have you had any problems? Thanks for posting the video!!

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  9. I have made many rag quilts, but I love the one you use to demonstrate how to trim one...it looks so adorable!! It appears to be of large and small squares...where is the "how to" of making this quilt? I've looked and LOOKED!! (Waahhh!!)

    Anne Marie

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  10. To all of you looking for the pattern for the Christmas rag quilt I did, with large and small squares, check out this post:
    http://greenappleorchard.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-rag-quilt.html

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  11. My question is about yardage. I am making the "larger quilt" and want to make the back from all flannels and the front from random cottons. I have gotten myself confused trying to figure yardage. So is there anyway you can tell me total yardage for front and then total for back, please?

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  12. When sewing the long strips of squares together, do you sew inside each square and stop at the seam? Or just go down the whole row. I did a lovey tonight and when I sewed my strips together the fabric (that sticks up to fray later) got sewn down flat. Is this normal? Or how do you sew that?

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  13. Hi Connie, thank you so much for this amazing tutorial. I am already hooked to your blog. I'm gonna be a grandmother (first time) and I want so bad make a quilt to my granddaughter. I'm also a Mormon living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Thanks again... xx

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  14. I made a rag quilt w/o the batting and I love it. (Have had it several years.) I made the adult throw by hand using plaid flannel material. I was able to work on it when traveling, watching tv or other boring activities.) I machine sewed around the edges. I didn't follow any pattern I just wanted one so I did it. This throw goes on trips with me. (I like to give a motel room a homey look by throwing this across the bed.)Now I want to make one with batting, but am confused about some of the squares. Do some (alternates) of them not have batting between them?

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  15. Can I make the top out of t-shirts? Would I use an interfacing plus a batting, in that case? Or would they not stretch because of the X you sew in each square?
    Thanks for this great tutorial, Marty


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