Wednesday, June 10, 2015

No Fuss Rag Quilt Tutorial

This no fuss, no muss rag quilt looks complicated and impressive, but it's actually very easy.  Here is the list of materials you will need to make this quilt:

11 fat quarters

1 1/2 yards of coordinating solid fabric

49 pieces of batting cut at 4.5" x 4.5"

Ragging shears


Finished Quilt Size:
32" x 32"

Block Size: 6"

 Step 1:  Gather your 11 fat quarters and cut them into 6" x 6" squares.  You should be able to yield 9 squares from each fat quarter.  You will need 98 squares for the front and back of the quilt -- 49 on each side.

I like to fold three fat quarters together and cut them at the same time.  Start from the bottom, with the fold and cut three inches above.  Then trim at the top, six inches above.  With three fat quarters, this yields 27 6" squares! Continue this until your finished with all of your fat quarters.

Step 2:  Cut your middle layer of fabric and your batting 
Cut your middle layer of 49 6" squares. I usually choose white cotton, since it is going in the middle of the quilt to add the "fluffiness" of the ragging. But some people like to use flannel to get extra fluffy and some people like to use a coordinating color in the middle to make the ragged part very colorful.  Cut the batting of your choice into 49 4.5" squares.  I usually use scraps from other projects.

Step 3: Assemble the layers of your 49 blocks and quilt an "x" on each block
 Assemble your blocks like little quilt sandwiches: bottom face down, middle layer, batting, top layer face up.  This picture is just to show the layers.  The fabric edges should be lined up on top of each other.
 Be sure to center your batting between the blocks of fabric.  I like to randomly assemble all of the blocks, trying to make as many different combinations with the 11 fabrics as possible.

Chain piece the first part of the x across the blocks. Then cut apart your chain and quilt the other part of the x.

Step 4: Arrange your blocks in a random pattern, 7 across and 7 down.  
 I flip over the entire thing to make sure the back has a nice look to it.  Once I'm happy with the composition, I use post it notes to mark the rows and pin them to the first block on each row.  Then pile each row up and set them up at my sewing machine so I can chain piece the rows.
 I can finish a whole rag quilt in under 3 hours, from start to finish, because I chain piece at every step.

Step 5: Sew the seams at 5/8" (to allow room for ragging later on), bottom sides together, so the seams are on the top of the quilt.  Take care when you are getting the next piece to chain piece, that you are matching back side to back side.  Since the piles you have are top-side up!

You will have seven rows like this when you are finished

Step 6: Sew the rows together, locking the seams.  Then, zig zag stitch around the entire out edge of the quilt with approximately a 1" inch seem.

 This quilt is no fuss!!  If all of the layers don't line up perfectly from block to block, don't worry.  You are going to be cutting all of the exposed edges up.  It won't matter in the end.  Just lock the seams so the blocks line up with each row.

Step 7: Use your ragging shears to cut the quilt every 1/2" or so on every seam.  Be careful not to cut into your seam stitch or the zig zag stitch on the outer edge.  Don't try to use regular scissors, unless you want to end up in the looney bin!
Continue this until all seams have been "ragged"

Step 8: Wash the quilt and shake out the quilt very well (outside!) to get rid of the loose fibers from ragging.  After a couple of washes, the fibers will be very minimal.  
 This quilt has so many uses!

 A perfect picnic quilt for the kids or a baby shower gift!

This is the back. A nice view of the typical "x" quilting.

Here are a few of the examples I've made over the years.  This quilt is all about color and pattern, mixing polka dots and stripes, florals and geometrics in different colors makes it pop!

 Same technique used here, but longer strips and border.