Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baby Rag Quilt Tutorial

 Mom was here for a few days and really wanted to make a couple of baby rag quilts for a friend whose daughter is expecting twins.  We got two done in a day! Well, the washing isn't done and a little bit of clipping left, but pretty much done.

Baby Rag Quilt
Size 35" x 45"
the seams aren't clipped or been washed yet...but it's on it's way to SC to be finished!
Fabric Requirements

2/3 yard of 6 different flannels

Do NOT prewash the flannel.
Press each piece, wrong sides together, with the selvages matching up perfectly (like it comes off the bolt)

1. Cut (4) 6" strips out of each color

2. Make (3) 6" cuts out of each doubled strip. (which yields you 6 squares per strip and 24 squares per color) or 144 squares total. Leave the squares doubled and you'll be ready to sew! You'll have 72 block.

3. Sew an 'X' in each block (two squares, wrong sides together) so the fabric doesn't shift all over later after washing.  I chain piece this part. I start with the first square and sew a diagonal line from one corner to the next corner. 

Stitch an "X" in each block (2 squares wrong sides together)

NOTE: I do not mark a line, although you could if desired.  But try this first: Put your needle in the first corner and stitch a little bit.  Now let your machine do the work...on a slow to medium speed, let the feed dogs advance the material, barely guiding it with your hands. Believe it or not, your machine will stitch straight without you interfering!  And if you do have to gently guide it, look at the next corner where you are NOT look at the needle.  It's like driving a car, you don't look just ahead of the front of the car, you look down the road. 

4. Lay out your blocks in a 7 x 9 format in a pleasing manner.  I just laid them out with the blocks being in a diagonal row for quick way to be done. You could lay them out randomly all over as well.
blocks laid out randomly

 You will have some blocks leftover. You could always add them to make another row, if you would like a bigger quilt.

5. Lay Row 2 over onto Row 1. 
The photo below has the top two blocks of Row 2 laid on Row 1. Continue down the row.

Lay Row 2 onto Row 1

 Pick up the blocks, starting with the top block, and leaving them in order. Your stack should have the top blocks on top.  Take to the machine and stitch with 1/2" seam, chain piecing the whole row. (chain piecing is stitching each block and then adding the next block without breaking the thread in between the blocks). Do NOT clip the blocks apart after the row is complete.  It is easier to keep them in order if they are still connected by a thread. The front will have all smooth seams and the back will have big ol' seams hanging..that's okay, we'll take care of those later!

Stitch with 1/2" seam
6. Now pick up Row 3 in order with the first block on top of the stack. Take to the machine. Lay the top block of Row 3 on top of Row 2 and stitch with 1/2" seam. (Notice that the smooth seam of Row 1 & 2 is facing up) When you are done with that first block, pick up the second block of Row 3 and lay on the next block of pieced unit.  Continue until Row 3 is pieced onto the first two rows. 

Laying Row 3 onto Row 2. 

7. Continue in the same manner for all the rows.  They will all be connected in one big unit, with the horizontal rows being connected to each other by just by threads.

Sewing all horizontal rows together, leaving the connecting threads (as shown from the 'ragged' side)
8. Lay the smooth sides together (NOT the side with the big ol' seams hanging) of the first two rows. Stitch with 1/2" seam.  When you approach the seams, finger press the top seam UP and the bottom seam down and then 'nestle' them together to match the seams. 

making seams go in opposite directions to 'nestle' the seam

9. Repeat for each row, continuing until the rows are all done.  Do NOT worry that the seam directions are going all over the place!  We will clip them later, so don't stress about it now.

Stitching the rows together, photo show bottom rows sewn

10. Last step of sewing: Stitch 1/2" all the way around the outside edge to keep the seams from coming apart. 

Stitching 1/2" around outside edge of quilt

11. Now to the fun part: Clipping.  I'm not going to lie  sugar coat this. This is not the funnest part of this quilt to do. Although it is smaller than the regular size Rag Quilts, it still is a lot of clipping. My recommendation is to get a Rag Quilt scissors.  They are well worth the money if you are going to make Rag quilts.  If you don't want to invest in one, make sure you use a spring action scissors at the very least! 

Clip about 1/2" apart to ALMOST the seam line, taking care not to cut the seam.  If you cut closer than 1/2", the seam will get real ragged and almost create a ridge, so I recommend not to clip too close together, at least for a baby quilt. When you get to the intersections, just clip the fabric free from the seam to release it. Don't forget to clip around the edge of the quilt as well. 
(PS..sorry no pics...they all turned out blurry and the quilt is gone now)

12. Washing:  take the quilt to a laundromat and wash with a small amount of mild detergent.  When it's through the wash cycle, take outside and shake it really hard to get rid of a lot of threads. Trust me..take it outside!  Then put it in the dryer.  Take outside to shake again and voila! A soft cuddly baby quilt. 

Note: on regular sized Rag Quilts, I use Warm and Natural batting, but I don't on baby quilts as it makes it almost too heavy. Two layers of flannel is a nice weight.  Now go cuddle that baby!


Marydon said...

How fun your quilt & fabrics, Karen. Best wishes for your friend & her twins. May all safely arrive ...

Have a beautiful day ~

Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Karen. I didn't know about the rag quilt scissors, but then I also haven't made rag quilts! I may give it a go make it look fairly easy and a cuddly baby quilt is always a good project.