June 17, 2012

Flannel Rag Quilt

For ages, I've been wanting to try my hand at making a quilt.  The problem is, I'm not very precise when I sew and I'm not really patient enough to spend weeks or months on a sewing project.   I thought I might never get around to actually making one until  I saw this gorgeous baby rag quilt at Do It Yourself Divas.  I went right out and picked up some coordinating flannel fabrics.  I did mine slightly differently than my inspiration piece and I'm so thrilled with the way it turned out.



When I tell you it's a great beginner project, it truly is.  Because it's simply straight cuts and straight seams, I was able to make it in just one evening.  (Granted, I started it at 9 pm when the kids finally fell asleep and finished at 2 am, but I still consider it a one-night project!).  Some of my seams aren't perfectly straight, but because it's all ruffled and ragged, you really can't tell.

Here's how I did it 
(excuse the poor photo quality, since this whole project was done after dark!)

1.  Gather your coordinating fabric pieces.  (I picked mine up when they were on sale for just $1.99 yard, so I went ahead and got a yard of each print.)  It's also really helpful to have a cutting mat and rotary cutter, but you can definitely make do with just a ruler and some scissors.



2.  Decide on how you want your fabric arranged on your quilt and cut your strips.  The size and arrangement is totally up to you.  After playing around a little bit, I decided to make my stripes varying widths with some wider and some narrower.  You'll just want to keep in mind that your finished stripes will be 1" shorter than the width of your strips.  (Mine ranged from 6 1/2" to 5 1/2" to 4 1/2" to 3").  For each stripe on your quilt, you'll want to cut two equal strips of fabric.



3.  Next, for each of your strips, you'll need something for the batting on the inside.  Since I got such a good price on the patterned flannel, I just used two pieces of the extra fabric.  (However, you could also use plain white flannel or cotton batting.)  Also, because I didn't want my seams to be too bulky, I cut the inner flannel pieces to be 1" narrower than the outside pieces. (So, if the regular strips were 6 1/2" wide, the inner pieces were cut to 5 1/2" wide)

Once you have your four pieces of fabric cut for each stripe, layer them together into a fabric sandwich ~ the two outer pieces right sides out with the two inner layers in the middle.



4.  Then, just sew a seam down the center of each fabric sandwich.  I found that I did not have to pin the fabric pieces together at all (which is great because I really don't like to pin!).  The center seam does not have to be perfectly straight, but to help me stay on track, I put a small piece of tape on my sewing machine to use as my guide.


5.  Continue with the rest of your strips until each has a seam down the center, then lay your pieces out in the arrangement you want.


6.  Pin your first two strips together, and sew a 1/2" seam.  Then grab your next strip, pin and sew a 1/2" seam.  Continue until all your strips have been sewn together.  One side will have the exposed seam sticking up, the other side will be flat.


7.  Next, you'll want to even up the sides of your quilt if necessary.  (You can see I wasn't too exact when cutting mine, so the edges were all different lengths.  One quick pass with the rotary cutter solved that problem.)


8.  At this point, you can bind the edges of your quilt or just sew another half inch seam around the outer edges.  (I chose the 1/2" seam option!)


9.  Woo hoo!  Now all the sewing is done and your quilt is almost finished!

Here's my quilt with the smooth seam side up.

And with the exposed seam side up!
10.  Now all you have to do is grab a pair of scissors and snip away!  On all of the exposed seams, simply make a small snip every 1/8" - 1/4".  You'll want to cut up to the seam but not through the actual stitching.


Just snip, snip, snip away until all the seams between the stripes and along the outer edges of your quilt are done.


11.  Next, you'll want to wash and dry your quilt so those snipped seams get all nice and raggedy!  

NOTE:  Be very careful with this step!  I saw the tip on several rag quilt tutorials to use a commercial washer or be very careful because you'll get a lot of fuzz coming off in the wash.  I figured I didn't have to worry because my quilt was fairly small.  I stuck it in the washer at 2 am and went to bed.  Big mistake!  I came down in the morning to find my laundry sink completely clogged with pink fuzz and the laundry room floor totally flooded.




Since I don't have one of the gorgeous, picture-perfect laundry rooms I've seen on so many other blogs, I'll spare you the picture of the whole sopping wet floor.  And since this is a family-friendly blog, I'll spare you the not kid-friendly language I used when I discovered the mess!

Just take my advice and either use a commercial washing machine, or be close by your washing machine on the rinse cycle to clear out the drain-clogging fuzz!

12.  Despite my laundry room fiasco, I was thrilled with the way the quilt turned out!  Look at all those pretty, ruffly and ragged seams.  So soft and cozy!



And here's the finished quilt...



Now you might be wondering, since my own "baby" is already 6 years old, who did I make this pretty baby quilt for?  The answer is this little cutie, my cousin's sweet little baby Cadence.


I love getting to hold sweet little babies again,
without having to wake up with them 
in the middle of the night!


The quilt was really simple to make and I'm already on the lookout for fabrics I can use to make some bigger ones for my own kids this fall.

Sharing our fun rag quilt at: 

Tip Junkie handmade projects 








47 comments:

  1. So pretty, I made one for my daughter and came in about 3cm off the sink overflowing, needless to say I was very pleased I choose that moment to walk in. They are lovely though :)

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  2. I love this and am going to pin it for later! Thanks for sharing

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  3. I really need to make one of these - love the way yours turned out!

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  4. Here is a tip on the fuzz. You know how upset you get when you get a run in your pantyhose? Well save them. Tie a knot in them and rubberband them to your discharge hose on the washer and viola no more clogged drain. Be sure to make the length of the pantyhose short enough that when it gets stretched out it doesn't clog the drain. Problem solved and you can sleep on it!

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    1. Marsha, I was complaining to my mom and she gave me the same advice! There's now a piece of pantyhose over the discharge hose!

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  5. I made one very similar to yours.. almost the same colors too :) But next time I make one I will do what you did- no binding. It has got to be easier and it looks great too! Thanks for sharing....

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  6. So cute!!!
    I have never seen one done in strips before- I bet it is a lot faster! Great job!

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  7. Beautiful blankie. I'm getting ready to do one for a little boy. Just making sure I have my measurements right for the crib size

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  8. Beginner at sewing here....I have a question abut step 6. You say one side will be flat and one side will have seams exposed. Could you maybe explain that step a little bit? I understand the seams exposed side but not the flat side.

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    1. i think i know what you are talking about, she means the other side of the blanket (if you were to flip it over) is flat

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  9. OMG! Saw this on Pinterst and knew I needed to make it! Thankfully I work at a crafts store so I could make it the very next day! I did a matching pillow! I will have to post pictures after they are done in the dryer! Can I feature you on my blog? Www.craftysailorwife.com. Would love to add your tutorial for this wonderful blanket!

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    1. Oops! The website is www.thecraftysailorwife.com

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    2. I'm so glad it turned out, Tawny! I can't wait to see your pictures. You can definitely mention me on your blog and include a link to the full tutorial on my site. :)

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  10. This would be my first quilt an I was wondering how I could make it bigger say for a sofa throw? What size would it need to be?

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    1. You could definitely make it bigger, Teresa. The size is really up to you. I will say that many fabrics have a standard width of 44/45", so if you make your sofa throw the same width, you'd only have to make one cut across to cut your strips!

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  11. Laura,
    Did you wash the flannel before you cut it? I am leaning toward NOT washing it for easier cutting. Currently looking for my misplaced cutting board. Your blanket is lovely! Laurie

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    1. Nope, I didn't wash the flannel for the same reason, Laurie. I think it's much easier to cut when it's nice and crisp from the store. (Plus, I waited till the last minute to even start the project and I *hate* ironing)

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  12. hello my name is dara and i am 11 and i have been knitting and sewing for 3 years now, and i would LOVE to make this, like right now! lol :) I am thinking of making this quilt a bedspread, i have a size full bed. how many yards do you think i will need? i have been trying to figure that out for days. But anyway,i was wondering how you created this website. how did you create it? i know that is such an awkward question but i tryed making a website but it just totally crashed :( did you make it off of a website that helps you or do it another way? -dara

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  13. Dara - I think if you went to the fabric store they should be able to help you figure out how much fabric you`ll need.

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  14. Flannel is on sale at JoAnn 60% off. strips cut and ready to sew them togethe. Thank you so much

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  15. Okay, I've made loads of flannel rag quilts. Two things - first, PRE-WASH and dry your fabric and you will not have the laundry issue. ;-) You'll lose a ton of fuzz and strings that way. If you want it stiff to snip, just starch it before you cut it. I've tried both ways - not pre-washing and washing and the latter is better.

    Secondly, using regular scissors will give you carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis (or both, like me, in addition to arthritis!), especially if you don't make a strip rag quilt. If you'll be making more than one of these types of quilts, do yourself a huge favor and get some spring-loaded snippers. I love my Fiskers ones:

    http://www2.fiskars.com/Sewing-Quilting/Products/Scissors-and-Sharpeners/Micro-Tip-Easy-Action-Fashion-Scissors-No.-5

    At the very least, sharpen your scissors, if you use regular ones, before, during, and after all the snipping. I love this one, also from Fiskars:

    http://www2.fiskars.com/Crafting/Products/Scissors-Snips-and-Sharpeners/Sewsharp-Scissors-Sharpener

    You can get both at Wal-Mart and the craft/fabric stores. Amazon has the snips for under $12 in the color I have - gray & black.

    If you want a lighter summer blanket, just use two layers of flannel and no middle layer.

    You can also make these easily with one layer of fleece and the snips still look cute, just not raggy.

    These are a great way to use up scraps and remnants. I have an entire board on Pinterest just for rag quilting here:

    http://pinterest.com/ksu91mom/rag-quilts/

    I've also uploaded photos of my rag projects (more to come) on this board:

    http://pinterest.com/ksu91mom/my-projects/

    Oh, I just remembered a couple of other things. The Schticky lint rollers are AWESOME for getting all the little pieces of threads and fuzz off the quilts after they've been washed and dried. I wash and dry all mine twice before giving them away as gifts.

    I also upcycle flannel receiving blankets and sheets I get at the thrift stores to make these...ones in great condition, that is. ;-) Since I wash new fabric a minimum of three times with these, they look "used" by the time the recipient receives them. Throwing in some upcycled fabric isn't noticible at all. I also use this upcycled fabric for the center layer.

    I do use Warm & Natural batting at times for the center layer - making those cuts smaller than the outside layers so that they are only in the "pocket" between the seams.

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    1. PS - yes, this has to be one of the longest blog comments ever! LOL!

      I also use *new* receiving blankets for fabric. I love the sets of four from Target, Tuesday Morning, T.J.Maxx/Marshalls/Ross, etc. It's like getting the pre-cut packs of fabric, but MUCH cheaper! Typically I get a four-pack of blankets under $10 - usually around $6.

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  16. I am only confused about the laundry sink. IS that your washer or does your washer drain into it? We had a laundry sink in a house I grew up in, itwas always full of extra blankets.

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    1. Sorry, just saw this comment now. It's the sink that my washer drains into.

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  17. I just finished my first quilt using this method and only have to wash and dry it! Terrified to put it in my washer so will probably wait to take it to a laundromat! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

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    1. How exciting, Debra! Did you wash it yet? How did it turn out?

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  18. I was very grateful to see this website. I desired to thank you for this excellent read! I'm definitely experiencing every little search for you and examine out new products you publish.
    Blinds

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  19. A little late to the party, but just saw this on Pinterest. I am VERY new to sewing, well, very new to actually owning/setting up/figuring out the machine. For flannel fabric, is there a certain needle, thread, foot thingy, etc., that needs to be used? Sorry, like I said, totally ignorant (but very eager to learn!) Love the blanket; I want to make a larger one to use as a throw.

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    1. Nope, nothing special at all, Erica. I'm not an expert at all, so I don't even know the proper names for everything, but just use the regular needle, regular foot and regular thread. Like I said, I don't know a lot, but I think flannel is a great fabric to start sewing with ~ you don't have to use a special needle or foot, and it doesn't stretch when you're sewing it like other fabrics sometimes do. Good luck and definitely let me know how it goes.

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  20. I know I'm late to the party here. I've actually been making these quilts for over a year, but haven't made one in quite a while. How large is the completed quilt? I've got a ton of fabric ready to piece together and it's enough for a couple of quilts. Just trying to get a size idea since I usually only do one at a time, so I've never measured the final product.
    Thanks!

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    1. You know, I didn't even measure this one before I gave it away. I'm going to guess maybe 36"x48"? You could really make it any size you want though. I was originally going to make it 44" wide (the width of my fabric) but then I cut a few pieces wrong and I ended up having to make it a little smaller.

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  21. I'm a sewing newbie and you explained this so well. I cannot wait to go to the fabric store and get this project started. I've been looking for something new to add to my Etsy shop and craft shows. tysm!

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  22. Hi! Love your beautiful quilt. I made one and am about to do another. I was very concerned about clogging our washer so after snipping, I took the quilt outside and shook it like crazy. Lots of loose threads came off then I brought it in and ran it is the dryer for about half an hour. The lint trapper got lots more thread. Then I washed it, dried it, washed it, and dried one more time before giving as a gift. The recipient loved it. Thanks for the great tutorial!

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  23. I was looking for a nice rag quilt tutorial and yours is by far the cutest one I've found! I love that you did it in long strips rather than squares. Much cuter and far less work, which is AWESOME! Thanks so much! PS..I will be making the blanket for my 6 year old niece and a matching doll blanket for her American girl doll...Didn't your "baby" want one when you were done?? lol

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    1. How funny that you commented on this today. Just last night I went to the fabric store to buy the fabric to make some for my "big kids". I actually got the soft "minky" fabric to use on the back side, I'm hoping it turns out okay. Also, thanks for the brilliant idea to make matching ones for American girl dolls - my girls both have a doll and they'd love a smaller version of their quilts for them. Now I just have to get to work!!

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  24. I saw your quilt and just loved it! My cousin gave me some toddler clothes including a few pairs of flannelette pyjamas and since my baby girl's only 7 months old, I decided to cut up the p.js and make a "snuggle" flannel rag quilt. It's smaller than your one and made with squares, but it's just as cute and my daughter loves it! Didn't cost me a thing either which is an added bonus :) Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. What a great idea to use outgrown clothes. I bet your baby girl loves it. I'm so glad it worked out so well for you.

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  25. I am making this today for my as yet unborn little grandson. Yes, I am smiling as I write. Question: though I am using flannel for this one I was curious whether you are anyone else has ever used regular "quilting fabric" (for lack of a better word) and how it works out? I have a ton of scraps that I'd love to use. Thanks for any imput and thank you for a fantastic tutorial. Your quilt was adorable, btw.

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  26. Good tutorial, you explain it step by step. Nice job. I as looking for someone to explain very well for I make that kind of quilt. Thanks my friend God bless you and your beautiful family too.

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  27. I have seen rag quilts made with cotton quilting fabric for one side of the quilt and flannel for the other side. The raised seams are not as plush and "furry" as quilts made with all flannel but still very nice.

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  28. HI!! for this project you used only flannel fabric? thanks! :)

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  29. Do you think handwashing the quilt the first time would help with the washer issue? Mine is notorious for clogging on a good day :$ Excited to try this!

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  30. I've made almost 20 raggie quilts. Here is my advice on washing and drying. The very first thing I do is put it in the dryer with several old towels for about 20 minutes. I then clean the lint trap. I repeat that step probably 3-4 times. That takes a LOT of fuzz off before it ever goes in the washing machine. Then I put it in the washer and fill the tub. I let it agitate for a few minutes then TURN IT OFF. I let the fuzzes float to the top and skim them off. Agitate, turn off, skim. Repeat that a couple of times. Then I set it to spin and spin out. Stick it in the dryer for 20 minutes and remove lint. Do that a couple of times. But I am always on top of the washing/drying process to keep the lint to a minimum. It is time consuming and one is tempted to 'let it go'. But as our blogger found out, that had dire consequences. But at least it was flooding from the washer and not a lint fire from the dryer.

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  31. Excellent tutorial! I just discovered rag quilts, and I'm hooked! (there might be a pun there?). I've made 3, all squares, but love the strip idea. I also shook the quilts like crazy before washing, then shook them again before drying. No issues at all & the birds love the threads in the yard! Keep up the good work! Thanks for a great tutorial!

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  32. At the beginning you have 5 different fabrics pictured but I only see 4 that you used. Do you know what order to use for 5 fabrics?

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    1. Hi Jacqueline. I don't think there's really a set order for a number of fabrics. it just depends on the colors and patterns you chose. When I did mine, I simply folded my fabric into long narrow rectangles. Then, I laid them out and played around with the order until I decided what fabrics looked best next to each other. Once I knew what fabrics I liked next to each other, I decided on how wide I wanted those fabric strips to be. Hope this helps.

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