Friday, January 24, 2014

Easy Homespun Cotton Rag Quilt Tutorial:

Made from cotton homespun fabric, these quilts are so easily made.  They make wonderful throws or very nice country-style bed quilts.  The cotton is quite warm and cozy, too.  I think you will be pleased with the results of your work when finished making this lovely quilt! The quilt shown in this tutorial is a finished size of about 30 x 54 inches, using 6 inch squares.  The pattern uses 168 finished squares, 7 squares x 12 squares.  Refer to the handy chart below for requirements of different quilt sizes, all using the same six inch squares.

For my quilt, I used five coordinating homespun fabrics.  I bought 1 yard of each color (remember that 1 yd = 36 six inch squares).  I only needed at least 34 squares of each color to equal a total of 168 quilt squares, which means I have a little extra left over.  That is just fine though, I always buy extra fabric for every quilt, just in case!  You will end up with about 180 squares.  Which is enough extra for a throw pillow, maybe?  You can use as many (or as little) different patterns of fabric as you want, but you will have to make sure that you have enough of each fabric for the number of squares used in your quilt x 2 (front & back).  You may even want to experiment with flannels or denim!  Listed below is a materials list for everything needed to make this quilt.

Start out by cutting all of your fabric into six inch strips, then cut each strip into six inch squares.  Then cut your batting into squares that are also six inches.  This is a little different method than most other people use.  I will trim the excess later on in the tutorial, but you may opt to start out by cutting the batting into four inch squares instead.  It's really a matter of personal choice.

Arrange your squares like sandwiches:  Matching homespuns on top and bottom with the right sides outward and the square of batting inside the middle.  If using the 2 inch smaller batting, then make sure to center it in the middle.  Remember, if you are using stripes or plaids to arrange the pattern going the same way on all of the sandwiches!

Thread your machine using your chosen contrasting thread and thread your bobbin accordingly,  Make sure you have the walking foot attached to your sewing machine, this will make for smoother sewing through all the layers.  Make sure when you start sewing, to go slowly, you may even need to help the fabric through by gently pulling on the back of it as you sew along. Quilt the squares together by sewing a line diagonally down each of your squares.  Don't stop and cut any of the thread after each square.  Instead, do a chain stitch by placing the corner of the next square and continuing to sew.  You'll end up with a long chain of squares. 
Finish sewing the 1st diagonal on all squares, then you can snip the thread between them. Then, begin sewing a diagonal line the opposite direction using the same chain stitching trick.  Cut the threads between squares & now they all are quilted with an "X."

"X"Marks the spot"X"


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You should be able to stack all your squares in color order and have a good idea about what you're going to want the overall pattern of your quilt to end up like. 

Here's some of my blocks sorted out, stacked up  ready to be sewn together...  

Okay, back to business now.  Next you are going to arrange a row of seven squares into a pattern.  You do need to make sure that all of your horizontals and verticals are going the correct directions.  Like I've shown here below...

You are going to sew one row together at a time.  Sew on an one inch seam allowance, with the seam allowances SHOWING.  All of the seam allowances will be showing on the FRONT side of this quilt.

Continue all the way down the row until the whole row is finished.  Make sure you are sewing the row so that all of the seam allowances are showing upward. 

Shown here below is a picture of my first full row sewn together as directed.

You will need to continue sewing together each of your rows, keeping in mind the desired final pattern.  You should end up with a total of 12 rows.  You might want to lay your rows out on the floor for a final look before sewing them together.  I apologize for forgetting to take a picture of this step, but I figure you probably have an idea of what I mean in your head, lol!

Now sew your rows together, still keeping the seam allowances showing on the same side as before.  Pinning as I go really helps me keep the stitches even.

It's a good idea to keep in mind while sewing the rows together to try getting the squares' seams to match up (remember, I pinned).  It won't matter so much on the frayed side of the quilt, but you will see this on the flat back side (especially at the corners).  Just aim to match those up as you sew over them.  You might need to pull the fabric one way or another as you go along.

Continue this same process of sewing the rows together until you have all twelve rows completely finished.  If you used 6 inch batting squares, the batting will still be visible like in my next photograph.

The next step is to sew around the entire perimeter of the quilt, again using a 1-inch seam allowance.  Start one inch inside the outer quilt edge, sewing the whole length of that side.  Then pivot your quilt with your needle inserted one inch from the end (at the corner) keeping a continuous line.  Continue on around the other three sides to meet back where you first began stitching.

You can skip the next section if you used the 4 inch batting squares.  I didn't, so I needed to trim away all that excess batting between each of the seams. 

Finally, I got all that excess batting trimmed off.  It was a very messy and time consuming process.  Once again... you might want to opt for the four inch batting squares, so you can skip this tedious step.

Now grab a good pair of scissors and sit down in front of a long movie.  You will need to snip the seam allowances at about every 1/4 inch apart.  It doesn't matter if they are exactly perfect.  The corner intersections can be a bit bothersome, but it won't matter too much which way you cut them.  Just don't forget to cut around the outside edge of the quilt, too.

The very last step is really quite simple.  Wash your quilt in the washing machine.  That is what gives the quilt a frayed up look.  Make sure you clean all the lint out of your filter before you dry it.  This quilt will produce a lot of fuzz and you will have to clean the dryer filter several times!  I, on the other hand, took mine to the laundromat.  That way, I didn't risk gobbing up my machines.

Here you are... all done!  This is the smooth back view of my finished rag quilt.

Shown below is the front view of my quilt. Don't you love how warm and snugly it looks?

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed this rag quilt tutorial.  It was a lot of fun to make!  Please feel free to comment or ask questions.  I would love to hear from you, I'm Lisa and I'm sew glad we're quilting friends!

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