Easy Strip Rag Quilt
How to Make A Flannel Strip Rag Quilt
Are you ready to learn how to make a flannel rag quilt? Instead of using squares, this simple flannel rag quilt is made with long strips that extend from side-to-side. Joining longer flannel strips is what makes this rag quilt quick to cut and easy to sew together.
Download your FREE Flannel Strip Rag Quilt Tutorial
Watch Step-by-Step How to Make a Flannel Rag Quilt
Flannel rag quilts are simply two or three layers of flannel sewn together to form whatever size quilt you want. This baby rag quilt is made with two layers of flannel. It has a printed flannel layer on top and a solid flannel layer on the back. To make this a super easy rag quilt, there is no batting between the layers of flannel. Simply using two layers of flannel creates a nice soft quilt.
What Size Is A Flannel Rag Quilt
Flannel rag quilts vary in size according to your personal preference and their likely use. Baby rag quilts like this are not intended to be used inside a crib. They are generally used as a play area or to provide a nice soft, clean spot for baby to watch the world go by.
To make this the simplest baby rag quilt, the flannel fabric is cut into wide strips measuring the length of the width of fabric (WOF). Then the strips are sewn together to create a striped design. It’s perfect for alternating rows of fun prints to keep baby’s attention. This quilt measures approximately 44” x 47”.
Want to Learn More About Rag Quilts?
Be sure to sign up for my Free Rag Quilt eCourse. I’ll send you a daily email for a week that outlines everything you need to know about rag quilting. It’s a great way to learn some new & helpful rag quilt tips & techniques!
What Is The Best Material To Make A Rag Quilt
What Fabric Is Best For A Flannel Rag Quilt
Cotton flannel is your best choice when making a flannel rag quilt. Cotton is an even weave fabric that will unravel easily when the edges are left unfinished. This unraveling is what we count on to get those fabulous frayed edges that we love about flannel rag quilts.
Can You Mix Flannel And Regular Cotton In A Flannel Rag Quilt
One option is to combine flannel and regular cotton in a rag quilt. You may choose to use a cotton print for the top layer and flannel for the back. The results will be a very lightweight quilt. The only drawback is that the cotton fabric may not fray as much as flannel does. Though keeping the flannel on back generally gives you a good ragged edge within the exposed seams.
Another idea is to alternate flannel and cotton squares as your design element. Mixing types of fabric and patterns can create a very playful quilt top. Just keep in mind how the weight of the flannel used in the top layer will work next to a regular cotton fabric. You want both fabrics to be a similar heaviness to keep an overall even feel to your quilt.
How Much Fabric Do I Need For A Flannel Strip Rag Quilt
How Much Fabric Do I Need For A Strip Rag Quilt
Fabric requirements for a strip rag quilt depend on the final size quilt you want. If you are working from your scrap pile, your available quantity of scraps will determine your quilt size. But if you are using yardage, determining rag quilt fabric requirements can be quick.
In general, for a baby size rag quilt like this one, I try to work within 40” to 45”. Depending on the pattern and block size it usually takes 2 – 2 ½ yards of fabric. That also includes enough for a narrow border. Plus you’ll need an equal amount of fabric for the backing layer.
If you are interested in a single layer denim rag quilt, you may be interested in this Easy Blue Jean Rag Quilt Tutorial.
How Do You Cut Flannel Rag Quilt Strips
Cutting flannel rag quilt strips is a quick process. This baby quilt is made with 6″ strips. First you will cut the needed strips by the width of your fabric. For a larger size quilt, you may sew multiple strips together end-to-end. Next, cut off the selvages from both ends, being sure your strip is the length expected.
You will repeat this same cutting process for the backing fabric too. Once all your strips are finished you are ready to start putting your quilt together.
How Many Layers Do You Need For A Rag Quilt
How Many Layers Of Flannel Do You Need For A Rag Quilt
Quilting is personal and many decisions are based on your individual preferences. So you decide how many layers of flannel works best for the intended purpose of your quilt.
Using three layers of flannel will result in a thick, heavy quilt perfect for cold nights. But they are also perfect to create a floor play area for babies or toddlers. On the other hand, a two-layer flannel rag quilt is much lighter weight. Both have benefits and you just need to choose what will work best for you.
Download your Free Rag Quilting Tips Printable.
Do Flannel Rag Quilts Need Batting
Do You Use Batting In A Rag Quilt
Rag quilts are considered rag quilts because they have the distinctive frayed edges that everyone loves. Flannel rag quilts do not require batting. Batting is used in a rag quilt to provide loft and dimension when quilted. The quilting stitches create a pattern within each block. Additionally, batting also provides another layer of warmth without much weight.
Since this simple flannel rag quilt doesn’t use batting, we can skip the slow process of cutting all those smaller pieces of batting. That’s a huge time saver. Most important to me is not worrying about bits of batting slipping through the seam and popping out in the ragged fringe. All in all, a batting-free rag quilt makes for a simple rag quilt!
Can I Use Flannel For Batting
You can also use a third layer of flannel in place of batting. By using flannel, you omit the quilting step as the flannel is held securely by the seams. Keep in mind that a third layer of flannel makes a thicker, heavier quilt. These three-layer flannel rag quilts and this adorable rag quilt are a perfect example. If you use a third layer of flannel, be sure to add that additional fabric to your yardage requirements.
Easy Strip Rag Quilt Tutorial
How To Sew A Flannel Rag Quilt Together
The best thing you can do to make sewing your rag quilt an easy job is to start with a new needle. Yes, sometimes the simplest step can make the biggest difference. You will be sewing through multiple layers of fabric which makes your machine work a bit harder. A sharp needle will glide through the fabric easily, making nice even stitches. As a good general rule, use a size 14 needle for cotton flannels and a size 16 needle for denim or blue jean rag quilts.
The next tool to make rag quilting easier is an even-feed walking foot. I didn’t use one for my first rag quilts and it’s very evident. The seams didn’t line up well at the ends because the top fabrics would drag and feed slower than the bottom fabrics. The even-feed walking foot helps the top fabric to move at the same pace as the bottom layer. This foot isn’t just for rag quilting, but is also a wonderful tool for machine quilting. They come in different styles to fit various sewing machines and are easy to find at local quilt shops or online.
What Is The Best Seam Allowance For A Rag Quilt?
Normally a quilting seam allowance is ¼”. The difference with a rag quilt is that the seam must be clipped once it’s sewn to get the frayed edge. Therefore using the ½” seam allwoance provides enough fabric to make ¼” clips along each seam. This way the shorter fabric threads will release easier when washed.
How To Sew A Flannel Strip Rag Quilt
With your stack of layered fabric closeby, you’re ready to start sewing. Generally when sewing blocks of flannel for a rag quilt, you only need to sew the seams which hold the fabric in place. Since this quilt uses long strips that are farily wide, it’s recommended to sew down the center of each strip. This will ensure the fabric stays put and doesn’t pull or bunch up after multiple washings. When you you’ve completed sewing down the center of each strip, place your strips in order to be sewn together.
How To Sew A Flannel Baby Rag Quilt Together
Pick up the top strip pair from your pile. There should be print fabric on top and a backing fabric on bottom with the right sides facing outward. Pick up the next pair and place them under the first pair. These two pairs of fabric strips should have the right sides facing outward and the backing fabrics facing each other. Sew a ½” seam from one end of the strip to the other.
Go back to the beginning and open up your strips. The top strip should be to you left. Place the next strip right side down, under the previous pair sewn. Sew a ½” seam from one end of the strip to the other. Continue adding the remaining strips in the same manner and sew together until all your strips are attached.
How To Finish A Rag Quilt
Download your FREE Flannel Strip Rag Quilt Tutorial
How To Finish The Edges Of A Flannel Strip Rag Quilt
To finish your rag quilt, trim the edge even and make sure it’s square. Fold your quilt in half and lay it on your cutting mat. Line up the edges where the seams were sewn, keeping the other two edges straight along your mat lines. Using your ruler, line up and trim the uneven edges. Once your quilt is trimmed and squared, you may finish the edges with one of the follow methods.
The most common way to finish a flannel rag quilt edge is to sew a ½” seam around the outside edges. This secures the seams before they get clipped. This is a very simple and quick finish. My preference is to add a narrow border to finish the edges of a rag quilt.
Do Flannel Rag Quilts Need A Border
While adding borders to a rag quilt is optional, all my rag quilts have borders. If you’ve made a rag quilt before, you realize how susceptible the outer edges are. The raw edges will bear a lot of wear and tear from pulling as well as general handling. My concern is the outer seams will be prone to separating. Adding a border solves these problems by reinforcing the outer edges in an easy and aesthetic way.
What Size Is A Flannel Rag Quilt Border
A rag quilt border may be any size that works with your design. For a scrappy rag quilt with lots of prints, I prefer to use a 2” finished border. The largest border I’ve added is a 4” finished border which matched the size of the rag quilt blocks.
How to make a rag quilt border
Rag quilt borders don’t need to make a big design statement. Actually my borders are generally made with the leftover fabric strips. Since most scraps are narrow, they work really well pieced together as a border.
When making rag quilt borders, they need to be cut one inch larger than their finished size. The same way that the blocks are cut larger to allow for the ½” seam allowance. Measure the outer edges of your quilt to determine the total border length you need. Then add extra for where the borders will join together and overlap at the corners. I generally add at least 12” – 15” to my final length. It’s better to have extra than be a few inches short. Cut the needed strips for your finished border length, being sure to add an extra one inch for your seam allowances.
How To Make Your Border Strips
Join your border strips in one continuous length that measures the total length you need. Do the same for your backing border fabrics. If you are using a third, or middle layer, piece that as well. Place your layers together with the top fabric facing up and the backing fabric facing down. Both wrong sides will be facing each other. If you are using a third layer, it will be placed in the middle.
Before attaching your border, the outer edges will be secured first. It’s much easier to do this before the border is sewn to your quilt. For a narrow border of 3” or less, sew a ½” seam allowance along the entire length of your border strip. This will be your outer edge and the stitching will reinforce the edges. Now sew along that seam line again for a second row of stitching.
If your border is wider than 3”, stitch down the center of your border stip through all the layers. This will keep all your layers in place nicely through many future washings. Then make the same ½” seam down one outside length of the border strip, with a second row of stitching as reinforcement.
How To Attach A Rag Quilt Border
Now you are ready to attach your border strip to your rag quilt. Beginning in any corner of your rag quilt, place your border strip underneath your quilt top with wrong sides together. Line the border edge with the outer edge of the quilt. With your quilt top facing upwards, begin sewing a ½” seam along the entire length of your quilt. As you sew, be sure to finger press the quilt seams open so they are lying flat when sewn.
When you reach the end of your quilt, cut the border just beyond the quilt edge. Do not cut it shorter as your corner will become bowed when the next border strip is attached. Continue until all borders are attached.
The last step is to open out your borders and sew the corner strips where they were cut. Just add a ½” seam along the edge to secure the layers of fabric together. That it, your’re finished!
Can You Bind A Rag Quilt
Another finishing alternative is to add a binding to your rag quilt. Instead of clipping the edges a binding is added. The only disadvantage is not having the frayed seams around the quilt edges.
How Far Apart Do You Cut A Rag Quilt Seam
Lots Of Clipping Results In A Beautiful Rag Quilt
Now that your flannel rag quilt is sewn together, it’s time to clip the seams to create those wonderful ragged edges. Working from strip to strip, clip every seam ¼” to ½” apart & ¼” deep, being careful not to cut through seam. Should you snip a seam, just slide that seam under your presser for and resew a couple inches to keep everything in place.
What Are Rag Quilt Scissors
This brings us to the importance of a very sharp pair of rag quilt clipping scissors. These spring tension rag quilt scissors make the job so much easier. The beauty is that the spring in these scissors cause the handle to slightly bounce back after each cut. This eliminates undue stress on your hands from repeatedly opening and closing the scissor handles. Your hands can get tired very quickly without this wonderful bit of help.
How To Clip Seams Of A Flannel Rag Quilt
Other than clipping lengths mentioned above, there is no right or wrong way to clip your rag quilt seams. For me consistency is most important so you get even fraying across your entire quilt. After spending hours clipping many rag quilts, there’s a method I use that’s very effective. When clipping a seam that is sewn open into the seam allowance, you want to allow as much fraying possible.
First clip the open seam close to the stitching on the quilt side of the seam allowance. This allows the seam to open freely and will lay nicely when frayed. The second step is to clip the opened seam next to where it is sewn together inside the seam allowance. You will be cutting from the outside edge towards the stitching and next to the pressed open seam. Doing this first also makes clipping the rest of the seam much simpler as it now can be handled easier.
Continue clipping all your seams, including along the outside edges. Once your clipping is complete you’re ready to wash your quilt for the big reveal!
How Do You Wash A Rag Quilt For The First Time
Time For A Wash And Dry To Bring Out The Fluff
Get that beautiful new quilt tucked into the washer for the big transformation. Smaller size rag quilts will benefit from having an extra towel or two added in. You need to have enough inside the washer to agitate the clipped areas so the threads will loosen. I use an old beach towel which works fine. Then just add a bit of detergent and wash on the warm setting. A second rinse can help release some of those clingy threads that just won’t let go.
Give your quilt a good shake outside before adding to the dryer. Before starting the dryer, be sure to empty the lint trap. Dry your cotton flannel rag quilt on high. Adding a towel will help to release a few more of those loose threads. Let the dryer run for about 30 minutes then empty the lint trap so your dryer doesn’t have to work so hard. Restart your dryer on high and let it run until your quilt is soft with nice fluffy seams. Be sure to clean out your lint trap before using your dryer again.
You’ve done it! You have a beautiful new rag quilt to be proud of. Take a little break and get started on another. You can’t have too many rag quilts.
Thank yo for all of your wonderful help. I am at the stage to add my border and I cannot figure out the directions. Do you have any other explanations anywhere else on your site? Thank you
Lea Louise says
The first difference to understand about rag quilt borders is that they are layered the same way the blocks are. My first recommendation is to use a walking foot when rag quilting. If not, pre-sew both sides of your border strips together to keep your front and back fabrics even. That way when you sew the border to the quilt the layers won’t slip around. I also sew a 1/2″ seam along the outside edge before adding the border just to hold everything in place.
It’s easiest for me to make the border in one continuous strip that can be cut to fit all four sides. With your layers wrong sides together, I recommend that you sew down the border center to keep your layers even as you sew. Then, beginning on your first side, align your border end about 1/2″ above the top edge, with the right sides together. The extra 1/2″ will allow you to trim your border at a 90-degree angle in the corner after it’s sewn. When you reach the bottom edge, cut your border straight inline with the quilt. It’s worth getting out your ruler rather than having a slightly skewed corner. That advice is from personal experience!
Then turn your quilt, line up your border with right sides together and sew again in the same manner. Do this for all sides. Trim your corners even and begin clipping. That it and you’re finished!