Being that I am not a sew-er by nature… Although, it does run in my blood a little… I do not know the terms and descriptions of sewing. I am self-taught, and do it in a way in which normal people can understand.
Tips before beginning a rag quilt… First, even though it is expensive, GET A ROTARY cutter. I am the cheapest person I know, and tried to use scissors the first time to cut out squares for a rag quilt… It is virtually impossible and KILLS to try and use real scissors… Break down and get the rotary cutter. I have the Olfa, and LOVE it. It was expensive, but well worth the cost. Second, cut all the material at the same time. You are making squares, (mine are 6 inches by 6 inches) and it is easier if you are in a grove, and get all done at once… don’t try and cut and then sew, cut and sew… it wastes time and is not as efficient… also, you will feel more accomplished if you get through with a task… start by cutting all the squares, then you can sew the “sandwiches” and then you can go on to making the quilt, and then the last step, cutting for the fray… In addition to the rotary cutter, you NEED to have rag quilt scissors. They are spring loaded and won’t kill your hand. If you make even one quilt, it is worth the cost.
To begin, you cut out all squares… Mine are 6 inch squares. Then you make 3 piles (the three different colors). Make sure all the colors coordinate. Mine are pink and brown stripes, pink, and a khaki color in the stripes… then you start sewing. Sew diagonally through each square. Do this for each square… you will have one LONG strand. Then cut each square separate. This is a lot easier cutting it with the sewing machine’s cutter thingy… on the side of the machine. Then you go back and sew the other direction on the diagonal. This will make an “X” on each square. You can’t see very well… but, there is an “X” sewed on each and every square… you can see more details of this on the picture of the back of the quilt before it is cut.
I ended up with 80 squares… My finished quilt will be 6 squares by 8 squares… this will make a pretty big quilt. These won’t be 6 inches when you sew them, because you will allow an inch on each side to be frayed… so each square will end up being about 4 inches. Which will still make it big.
My Sewing Assistant has loved her job. She loves being able to help me sew… She just watches and watches until she gets tired and falls asleep… She loves these blankets. I started making them because of her.
Back to the project at hand… After all your squares are cut and sewn diagonally then you get to design it. I am making mine with the same fabric on the front but changing the direction… this way it looks like two fabrics for the price of one… I am going to have the stripes going different directions… horizontally and ve
rtically. I also have the back of them to design as well… all of this has to be done precisely because it is VERY easy to mess up… prime example, last night I was making one for Jonathan and instead of making the rag side be the patterned side, I made it be the solid side… oops… So… that being said, you have to be very careful, because no one wants to take it apart and fix it, or in J’s case, it was unfixable. Just added character.
Keep in mind, these rag quilts are not supposed to be perfect… if you mess up, it is just more proof that YOU made it, and that it was done with love, (in my case love and sleep deprivation…) :). So, if you mess up, just take it as that, and know that your special someone child or adult will love it all the more because you took the time to make it.
How do you want your quilt to look? Do you want it patterned, do you not care how it goes together, just that it is all there??? However you want your quilt to be, you need to plan. Do NOT try and do it without planning out what will go where… this is a BAD idea… and I only speak from experience. No one wants to have a pattern for 3/4s of a quilt have it only to be changed when you are almost done… so take a few minutes and plan it out.
To plan out the pattern, it is easiest to me to set all the pieces down in the way in which you want to sew it. This will help you get the big picture. It is most helpful to lay it down on the floor. In my case since the pattern on the front is the same and the back is different, I will start with the back. the back will go brown, pink, brown, pink. The front will go, horizontal, vertical, horizontal, vertical and so on.
After you sew it, you will end up with this.
When you get to this step, get really comfy… Get those nice spring loaded scissors and cut every 1/4th of an inch on every seam allowance… this will give it a rag appearance. It will take a long time, but is worth it. Cut just to the seam. Not past it. It took about an hour to cut it all the way around, but it is done.
All that’s left is to throw it in the dryer… Little tip- DO NOT USE YOUR DRYER AT HOME. Leave the mess somewhere else. Go to the laundromat, and use theirs… YOU WILL THANK YOURSELF LATER. Take a few towels, big fluffy ones, and wash them, and then dry them… There will be thread everywhere, but most should be caught by the lint trap. The more you wash them, the more they will fray and become softer. This ends the rag quilt tutorial.
Time to finish project: 2 days give or take.
What I like most about it: It is the perfect blanket for a little baby, or anyone for that matter. They are soft and so cuddly.
What I could improve: straighter lines in sewing it… making it more uniform.
All in all, it turned out perfect and I love it and know B2 will like it so much.