Ry's Green Raggedy Turtle Quilt




About: I'm "retired", and now have time for all the creative things I've done since I was a child. I especially like anything with texture.....fabric, wood, glass, stones....even rusty objects. I have a LARGE fabr...

This has always been one of my favorite quotes: Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks
his neck out.

- James Bryant Conant

I just finished this raggedy turtle quilt for my Grandson's (Ry) second birthday (March 24) I have made lots of pieced, and quilted things in the past, but this is my first Raggedy (or just Rag) quilt. I made this using Simplicity Pattern #2493. While Simplicity has been making clothing patterns for MANY years I really felt that the directions for cutting, and assembly on this quilt were lacking. I hope that my Instructable will help anyone wanting to use this pattern.....It IS a VERY cute quilt!

Step 1: Step 1 Pattern, Fabric, and Equipment

Once you have selected your pattern, you must select the fabric you want to use. In EVERY case with commercial patterns, there will be "suggested" fabrics on the outside of the pattern envelope. In the case of this RAG quilt the desired affect is the raveling edges of each piece, so you want to use a fabric that is a loose weave like flannel. The Pattern envelope shows that the quilts are all done in a patchwork style, so you will be using several different flannel pieces to achieve this look. Of course you could make all the pieces from the same fabric to give a more uniform (or less "busy") look. The pattern envelope tells how much of each different piece of flannel you will need.....Add them all together if you have decided to only use one color of flannel.

***The first question I had was with the term PADDING.....In this case it means what I call BATTING. A quilt is like a "sandwich" with a top, middle (batting), and the back or backing. PADDING is what this pattern maker is calling the middle of the quilt.....the fabric that is in between the front, and back of the quilt. For a "rag" quilt flannel is used for the "batting" or "padding" as well as for the front and back of the quilt.

***This is a "Quilt As You Go" quilt. That means that all of the quilting is done AS you piece the quilt, instead of quilting it once it is done, as with "traditional" quilts.

Besides the PATTERN, and FABRIC, you will also need Straight Pins AND/OR Weights, SHARP Scissors, Chalk, (or a thin piece of hand soap) For Marking, Sewing Machine, Sewing Thread (either matching or a contrast color), Washer, and Dryer

****It is suggested that you wash and dry all of your fabric (including the batting/padding) before cutting. Flannel WILL shrink.

Step 2: Step 2 Cut ALL Fabric

Refer to the Instruction Sheet provided. It will specify WHICH pattern pieces go with each variation of the quilt. In this case, all of the pattern pieces needed to make the turtle use the letter 'B' after the piece number. Separate the pieces, and return the pieces you won't be using to the envelope. Review the layout schematics. It will show how to lay each piece out AND each pattern piece is printed with how may pieces you will need to cut using that particular pattern piece for both the main colored fabric, as well as for the batting/padding. You will cut the front and back pieces at the same time, so pay close attention to the fold on the fabric diagram.

Lay out each pattern piece according to the diagram. Hold the paper pattern piece on the fabric using either straight pins OR fabric weights. Cut each piece. Once you have used the pattern to cut as many pieces as directed, pin ALL of those pieces, as well as the paper pattern together until you are ready to use them. 

*** Using a fabric like flannel is great. It was much easier to use one of the colored flannel pieces as a pattern when I cut the white flannel batting/padding pieces, instead of the paper pattern pieces. There was no need to use weights....they kind of "stuck" to each other!

Step 3: Step 3 Assemble, and Mark

Once all of your pieces are cut out you will need to assemble each "block/piece" into it's fabric "sandwich". Traditionally, you would put the RIGHT (outside or the "pretty side)) of 2 pieces of fabric together prior to sewing a seam, so that when sewn the fabric would be turned, and the seam would be inside, and it would not show. In this quilt we WANT those seams to show, AND we want to quilt each piece/block BEFORE we sew the quilt together.

 Assemble each piece/block with the bottom piece face (or pretty side) DOWN, THEN put the batting/padding piece on top of that, followed by the top piece face (or pretty side) UP. Line up the edges and pin together. Repeat with ALL of the other pieces/blocks.

Using either marking chalk, or a thin piece of hand soap, mark all of the sewing lines as indicated on the paper pattern pieces onto each piece/block. I used soap to mark because I was positive that the soap would fully wash out of my finished quilt leaving no marks behind. IF you are using a colored sewing chalk test it first on a scrap piece to make sure it REALLY washes out....

Step 4: Step 4 Machine Quilt

The traditional way to make a quilt is to "piece" the front of the quilt first. The maker might choose to use differnt fabrics and arrange the pieces/blocks to make a pattern.Then the maker would sandwich a batting in between the top, and a solid (as in not pieced) piece of fabric as a backing. Those 3 pieces are then tied, or quilted together to keep the batting from shifting around with use. The quilting might be plain, or could be an integral part of the design of the quilt.

This Raggedy quilt was made with the "Quilt As You Go" technique. Once all of the pieces/blocks are made into the "sandwich", and the stitching lines are all marked, then you will sew on all of those lines.

***I found that it worked BEST (for me) if I ONLY sewed on the stitching lines INSIDE the block, and NOT on the stitching lines that would become the SEAMS.

*** Set the stitch length to a LONGER stitch for the quilting, for a better appearance.

Step 5: Step 5 Sew

Once all of your pieces/blocks are quilted, refer to the pattern instructions for assembly into sections.

MOST quilts are sewn with 1/4 inch seams. For this Raggedy (Rag) quilt you will use a 1 inch seam allowance....AND they will be sewn with the seams on the "outside" or FRONT of the quilt!  That was actually a much harder thing to do than I thought it would be!

*** I found it helpful to add a piece of masking tape to the throat plate on my sewing machine to make it easier to keep sewing a straight 1 inch seam.

I had to lay the pieces out on the floor to make sure I had the sections assembled correctly with no two of the same fabric pieces touching.

The sewing goes pretty fast.......just remember the TOP OF THE QUILT HAS THE SEAMS!

Step 6: Step 6 Clip the Seams, and Wash

WOW You're just about done!  Sit down with a pair of good sharp  scissors, and start "clipping"  the seams. Make cuts into ALL of the 1 inch seams about every 1/2 inch MAKE SURE YOU DON'T CUT THE STITCHES!!! This will help your seams ravel when washed.

Now the "magic" happens.....Wash the quilt (once or twice) with a couple of heavy towels, or a pair of tennis shoes to get the flannel to ravel.....be sure to empty the lint trap on the dryer.

You have the cutest, softest, Raggedy quilt all ready to give as a gift or keep for yourself!

This technique can be used with any quilt pattern that uses large pieces. It would not be suitable for small intricate patterns. I think using flannel "charm" packs would make a wonderful FAST quilt. Use more charm packs for a larger quilt!



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18 Discussions


Answer 1 year ago

Honestly I don't remember. I made this over 6 years ago. I believe the pattern is still being made and I have included a picture of the pattern envelope in my tutorial...you might be able to just Google it. I will tell you it's way bigger than I thought it would be. I have a picture of my 6'2" husband holding it up and it fully covers him


i brought an extra piece of fabric for the back of this blanket... after reading the comments i am not sure if i need it? does the fabric it tells you to get (besides the wadding) include the back or is the wadding classed as the back?

many thanks


1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Sorry for the delay in replying.....What the pattern calls 'wadding' is what I call 'batting', so I bought another piece of plain fabric for the backing as well


3 years ago on Introduction

I've been sewing for years but have to absolutely follow a pattern - I have no imagination. My pattern piece 6B for this pattern is shaped oddly and I couldn't "imagine" how to join it to the other pieces, so I cut out a seam notch on the fourth corner similar to the other seam notches. Did anyone else have that problem? Or how did you align your pieces? My turtle looks great and even with close examination I don't see a difference from your turtle picture.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Sorry for the delay in replying.....I've been 'away' for quite a while.....I ended up having to 'adjust' several pieces and now that Ry is 5 yr old, I've had to take the quilt back 3 times to do some repair work......I'm not sure I'd ever get another commercial pattern like Simplicity to make a quilt.....I prefer following directions from REAL quilt makers. Post a picture of your turtle quilt.....I bet it's really cute


5 years ago on Introduction

I am trying to make this and I am using fleece for the padding. I hope you can help me with two questions. First do I need to trim down the fleece padding by an inch or do I want it to show and be included in the raggedy seams? Also I do not know who to transfer the quilting lines to my fabric. Help please! = )

Congratulations to you as well! I used to make small stained glass pieces years ago, but nothing as beautiful as what you make. I need to message you and pick your brain about a couple things so I can get back into the craft! Your Irish Lass has inspired me!

I would love to have you pick my brain. In fact I am wanting to make a series of ibles on how to cut and make stained glass pieces. I just need to get going on things! Notice how long I took just to reply? I get a terrible pain in my shoulder when I am on the computer very long, and having MS hasn't helped in getting anything done on the computer or out in my shop, but I refuse to it stop me!

I'm going to PM you. I have a couple of ideas for helping your pain (I'm a retired RN) that has nothing to do with any treatments, but more on how to work with the MS


I hope you will....I LOVE sewing. I'd suggest you buy a GOOD machine...it will make all the difference. Go to a sewing machine dealer, or repair place and buy a used machine that has metal mechanics (it might be even 20+ years old). I would suggest even buying an older machine on Ebay, and then getting it serviced/tuned up
Pfaff (made in Germany) would be the most $$$, but they're GREAT, and have a built in "walking foot" which is important for quilting (IMHO) Buy a BASIC used one from a Dealer, or on Ebay

Elna (made in Switzerland) You can buy a used Elna "air" for about $200. My daughter is still using my old Elna that is 35 years old.

Older Singer or Kenmore (probably made by Singer) machines are good as well as long as they have metal "innards"....you really don't need a computerized machine so be wary if someone is pushing one

LOL That is my 6'3" husband holding it up!....Sorry I couldn't get my picture to stay turned :-( It's a lot bigger than I thought it would be too...but that's a good thing. My grandson is already the size of a 4 yr old (not chubby, but really tall)