How to Simplify Rag Quilts
Learn How to Make the Easiest Rag Quilt
Be in the know How to Make the Easiest Rag Quilt Pattern! Learn these creative and quick techniques to simplify your rag quilt methods. There’s no need to compromise on your design for a quicker finish. You’ll never go back to traditional rag quilting after learning this!
Most quilters have made rag quilts. They’re very popular and everybody always loves their soft, fuzzy texture. Sometimes quilters turn away from rag quilts because they can be challenging to sew, time consuming, and there are parts of it that maybe not all quilters like.
I am going to show you my easiest rag quilt techniques and you will want to make this for every opportunity you need a quilt. Once you learn these techniques, traditional rag quilting will be a thing of the past.
Changing Your Idea of a Rag Quilt
How to Assemble Rag Quilts Easier
Traditional rag quilting has its merits but there are some easier ways to make a quicker quilt and make a beautiful quilt exactly the way you want it. I’m going to show you how to make the easiest rag quilt.
First we’re substituting100% cotton quilting fabric for the front and back outer flannel layers. This lightens the quilt so it’s not so difficult to sew. Secondly, we’re substituting 100% cotton flannel for the middle batting layers. This saves tremendous time as the flannel can be cut at the same time as the fabric. No more small batting squares to cut! Finally, and this makes a huge difference, we’re offsetting the blocks in each row. Now there are no matching seams that often break your needles. It’s a sure win you’ll want to try!
At first glance this may look like any other rag quilt but once you learn these techniques you’re never going to go back to the old methods. What I’m going to show is quicker, easier, and more efficient. This is perfect for anyone who loves to do rag quilting and is looking for simpler methods. This is also perfect for somebody who hasn’t done a rag quilt before because it’s not at all intimidating. I’m going to show you how to use specific sewing construction methods that are going to make it quicker and easier.
How to Cut Rag Quilt Blocks that Sew Easier
This quilt is made with 10-inch square layer cakes using the Strawberry Lemonade Collection by Moda Fabrics. The extra squares for the background and backing need to be cut into 10-inch squares. If you’re not using layer cakes, simply cut all your fabrics as described below. Here’s the important first step: We’re going to stack and precut our blocks, staging them for sewing at the same time.
Precutting layered fabrics makes it so much quicker to cut and sew. Once your layered blocks are cut they can be stacked and are ready to be sewn. No more fabric piles at your machine. Just a single stack of layered blocks ready to be quilted.
Instead of cutting the front and back fabrics separately, we’re going to layer them in the order they will be sewn. First cut your fabrics into strips measuring 10-inches by the width of fabric (WOF). Place one backing strip right side down. Then place a layer of flannel on top of the backing. Remember this flannel layer replaces the batting. Then the top layer will be your quilt top fabric which is to be placed right side up.
With all layers aligned, cut your 10-inch squares. As they are cut simply stack them together so when you’re sewing you can grab all three layers at once. This saves so much time and allows your sewing to go much faster.
How to Make an Off Set Seam for Rag Quilts
There is a method to create what’s called offset seams that I use. I add a half size block on alternating rows. This method is such an incredible timesaver. Plus it makes sewing these seems much easier and quicker. You’re not going to have to worry about breaking needles when you’re going through so much fabric in one seam joining.
For each row in your quilt, you will need to cut an extra half block. It’s cut the same height but needs an extra 1/2-inch for the seam allowance. For these 10-inch size blocks, we’ll need a 5.5-inch x 10-inch half block for each row. They may be layered and cut in the same manner. The even rows will each have a half block sewn to the right side. Then the odd rows will each have a half block on the left side. This way the seams in each row will fall in the middle of the row above and below. That means no matching seams!
It’s a great timesaver but it also makes your quilt look a lot smoother and cleaner because you don’t have all those knots where the seams join up. This will also add a bit more interest in your quilt as it sort of staggers the blocks and it creates a very pleasant pattern.
How to Quilt a Cotton & Flannel Rag Quilt
Easily Quilt Rag Quilt Blocks
Before assembling your quilt, secure the fabric layers in each block. You’ll want to sew the traditional ‘X’ from corner to corner within every square. Without this, the layers may stretch during sewing or when being washed and then not lay nice and flat.
Sewing Your Off Set Rag Quilt Seams
The quickest method to assemble your rag quilt is to chainstitch all the full size blocks into rows. Once the rows are sewn add a half block to each row. Remember the even rows will each have a half block sewn to the right side. Then the odd rows will each have a half block on the left side.
Now you’re ready to sew your rows together and finish your quilt! These steps save a tremendous amount of time plus it enhances the finished look of your rag quilts. Now just clip your seams and then wash your quilt to fray out those seams. A run through the dryer will puff up your quilt for a beautiful finish.
One Final Note
I recommend not to prewash your rag quilt fabrics. It’ll create a nicer, quilted effect to have any shrinkage occur after sewing your quilt.
This is the method I’ve been using for rag quilts for a few years and I’ve been happy with every one. I hope you give it a try!