Introduction: Rag Quilting for the Beginner

Picture of Rag Quilting for the Beginner

For the Beginner. This is for the Beginner who wants to learn how to make Rag Quilts.

Step 1: Making a Rag Quilt

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This is the Basics on how to start a Rag Quilt for a Beginner, once you start working on a quilt, it will be easier and faster working on them. I am making a Mini Nine Patch. I have basically made it Step by Step, there seems too be alot of steps but I wanted too make it easy for any beginners who want to learn how to make Rag Quilts.

There are other methods people use too make Rag Quilts. Once you start making them more often you will find your own shortcuts on how these are made. I thought this would be the easiest for a Beginner.

I myself do not wash and iron my Fabrics. Although some ladies do. Its your choice. I recommend starting out with scrap fabrics too practice before you go and buy fabrics too make your quilt. This way if you make a mistake you will not ruin your good fabrics. Such as cutting your square smaller then what you wanted. I have done that a few times. Rag Quilts are very Forgiving, if you do make a mistake when sewing it really won't be noticeable.

Just be Careful…you may get addicted. ;)

Step 2: Tools

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Here are the Basic Tools you will need:

Small Scissors (for clipping your long threads)

Seam Ripper ( it may become your Best Friend) :)

Spring type scissors (Fiskars has some Good ones)

Ruler (preferably a Quilters Ruler one with grids)

Washable Fabric Marker

Potato Peeler with a Brush (for brushing your quilt after clipping) or you can use any Brush with Bristles.

Rotary Mat

Rotary Cutter

Straight Pins or Fabric Clips (if you have them but not neccesary)

Fabric of your choice

Size 14 Sewing Needle is recommended (because of the thickness of the fabrics you will be sewing)

Sewing machine

Step 3: Cutting Your Fabric

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For this project I am using 6 1/2" squares.

You will need 3 different fabrics:

Cotton print


Flannel or Cotton for the back. Your choice.

When you get your fabric fold it in half lenthwise so that the raw edge is right on top of the fold. Place it on your mat. I use one of the lines on the ruler too match it up so the fabric is straight on the top fold.

Then take your folded fabric and place it on the edge of your number 1 on the mat.

Step 4: Cutting Off Raw Edge

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Using your Rotary cutter cut from bottom too top until you have cut off the raw edge.

Step 5: Cutting the 6 1/2" Strip

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Now slide your ruler too the 6 1/2” mark and cut again from bottom too top until you have cut off the strip.

Step 6: Your Strip

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Your strip should look like this.

Step 7: Turning the Strip

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Now turn your strip and do the same as before. Always cut from bottom to top of your fabric.

Step 8: Finished Cut Square

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You should now have your 6 1/2’ square. Do this for all your fabrics.

Step 9: Your Fabric Sandwich

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Now take 1 piece of each fabric and make a sandwich. By sandwich I mean take your cotton print wrong side facing down, flannel in the center of both top amd bottom squares and your backing facing up and place on top of each other and use either straight pins or clips too hold your squares together.

Step 10: Clipped or Pinned Sandwich

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Use clips or pins too hold your squares together before sewing. I like too use the Clips, but you can use either one.

Step 11: Seam Allowance Marking

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I use masking tape too mark my stitch line. I am using a 1/2” as my seam allowance. I take my ruler and place it right under my sewing needle, lower your needle (your machine should be off for Safety reasons) so I can place my tape right next too the edge of the ruler. This will be my sewing guide.You can see it in the picture where I have marked my seam allowance.

Step 12: Sewing Your Squares

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Time too sew your squares. Start at any corner and sew a line from 1 corner too the other as straight a you can. Then take your square and do the same on the other side.

You can also use a washable fabric marker too mark your X for a straighter stitich line. I do sometimes when I am sewing larger squares. I will place my ruler corner too corner and mark a small line where the center of the X is. I will mark it about 1 inch or so depending on the size of the square. Then turn your square and mark the other side. Not necessary but Helpful for a beginner.

You can also do a chain stitch, which means you can sew a few squares on one side then cut the joining thread apart and chain sew the other side. This is a little faster in sewing your squares. Or you can do one at a time it is up too you.

Step 13: Finished X Sewn

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This is what your square will look like once you have sewn your X. You can also use a Decorative Stitch too sew your X.

Step 14: Finished Squares

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Your squares should look like this. For best results sew all your squares first before starting too join them for the quilt. It will go much faster once you have all your squares sewn.

Step 15: Wrong Sides Together

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When you start too sew your squares make sure your back fabric sides are facing each other.

Step 16: Correct Way

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They should look like this after you have sewn your squares.

The pink flannel is the backing for this project.

Step 17: Nesting

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There are 2 methods when sewing your rows together. This one is called Nesting. Notice the joined seams they are going opposite each other. Do your best too match up your seams. I use a Straight pin too hold them in place.

Step 18: Open Seams

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This method is called Open seams. Match up your seams and open the sewn part like in the picture. Put a straight pin too hold in place.

Step 19: Backstitching

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When I sew my rows together I like to do a backstitich where the joined squares are. This helps with Stabilty. When you come too this point and you are close too the stragiht pin , it can be removed so you can sew them together.

Step 20: Joining Your Rows

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Now that you have sewn all your squares its time to join your rows. Pin or use clips too match up your seams.

Use the same seam allowance you used to sew your squares together.

Step 21: Clipping Your Squares

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The best method is too clip at 1/4" intervals. This makes for a more Fluffy quilt. I found clipping my squares after sewing them goes much faster. I clip evry 2 squares I join for my row. Start clipping about an inch from one end and clip all the way down to the other end stopping at an inch from the end also. Do this with every 2 squares you sew together.


You notice the Blue Marker it will wash out when you wash your quilt.

Step 22: Joining and Clipping

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Since your squares are already clipped now all you need too do is clip your rows you just joined. Do this for all your rows.Once you have made your row the length that you want it is time to join them. Take two rows and pin together making sure your back fabrics are matching.

Step 23: Finished Clipping

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Your quilt will look like this when you have done all the clipping. Then you sew your 1/2" around the edge of your quilt and then you clip that also.

Step 24: Brushing Your Clipping

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There are various ways too Fluff up your clipping on your quilt. You can use a Butter knife by using a back and forth method on the clipping. Any stiff Bristle type brush. I use a Potato Peeler with a Brush to brush my clipping. Do the brushing before putting in the washer, then also before putting in the dryer. Always wash your quilts in Cold Water and Dry on a Low Heat Cycle. You can also Hang outside on a clotheline to dry.

Step 25: Finished Quilt

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This is how your Finished quilt should look. I hope this Tutorial will Help you in starting to make rag quilts.

Good Luck and Happy Ragging!


EdelgardF (author)2017-12-08

Thank You for This Tutorial , just in time to refresh my memory , my fabric is cut , and these pointers came in time for the assembling.

sylvia s (author)EdelgardF2017-12-11

EdelgardF I am glad you found it in time, I hope this helped you. Good luck on your quilt.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2017-11-25

Quilting is probably my favorite way to never waste fabric. You can use just about anything to make a quilt.

Can you post pics of some of your work? Most quilters these days use new fabric bought for that purpose. I always love the way quilters of old assembled scrap fabrics to make unique color schemes. A true art.

No slam against modern quilters. They do beautiful work and get my admiration.

I don't have any pictures at the moment. But the thing that I like about using scraps is that it makes your quilt kind of like a scrap book. Where most of the pieces have a story.

sylvia s made it! (author)ToniRose2017-11-26

Here a few I have made. I have madeTraditional Quilts but once I found these a few years back I started making these. I Love it, they are easy and fast to make.

Yes you can, you can even use scraps, thats what I like about these quilts. They are very forgiving.

StephanieB287 (author)2017-11-26

I am so hooked on making rag quilts now.. I've made one and have 2 more to finish. I have a question.. I read that you didn't pre-wash your fabrics.. I don't either except for the flannel. I can't afford quilt shop flannel so I buy my flannel at Jo Ann's and with the Black Friday sales I was able to get it at under $2 a yard. Have you used the cheaper flannel in your quilts, and if so does it shrink like I've been told in the past? I don't have my own machines so use the laundromat. It would really help if I didn't have to pre-wash all that flannel. Thank you :)

sylvia s (author)StephanieB2872017-11-27

Hi StephaniewB287 I also buy my flannel at Joann's. No I do not prewash that either. There is some shrinkage but not by much. I also at times buy flannel at Walmart, although I have noticed that flannel has much more fuzzies after washing a quilt. Thats why I use a towel to wash and dry the quilt. The towel grabs alot of the fuzzies. I hope that helped. :)

TonyaS29 (author)2017-11-25

I love it! Never thought of using a brush for the raw edges to fluff up.. thanks to another "work smarter not harder" trick.. gonna do this for now on.

sylvia s (author)TonyaS292017-11-26

Awesome, I am sure you will like the end results.

mrsmerwin (author)2017-11-25

I have one of these that I started a while ago. I am close to finished. It never occurred to me to brush it before washing and drying. That is a really good idea. Thanks.

sylvia s (author)mrsmerwin2017-11-26

You are very welcome.

jperry13 (author)2017-11-25

I have made a rag quilt before but you showed me some easier way to do some steps thank you

sylvia s (author)jperry132017-11-26

You are welcome.

About This Instructable




Bio: I have been a Quilter for over 40 plus years. That is my Passion and my Hobby. I have made many quilts, too many to ... More »
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