Thursday, December 01, 2011

Rag Quilt Tutorial part 3

Now we're getting closer, but there's still quite a bit of work to do yet.
 Take 2 squares, with different colours, and pin together as shown.  For a rag quilt, you are working the opposite of ordinary sewing - you will be stitching WRONG sides together, so that the seams stand up and are visible on the RIGHT side. Use a BIG seam - mine is 2 cm but you can make it as wide as 2.5cm (an inch).  There's a reason for this, as you'll see.
 The 2 squares sewn together look like this on the BACK.   Note the blue thread.

 Repeat, sewing the 48 sets of squares into pairs to make 24.  You can chain piece these, too. There is no need to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams.
If you're having trouble envisaging the end result, here's a quick look at at a more complicated rag quilt.  This one is made from ordinary cottons, not flannel. This is "Home Is Where The Hearts Are".
 Here's a close-up of the seams.  The white bit you can see is cotton batting (or wadding).  I've dyed my middle layer, so there will be no white showing on this quilt.
 This is what the back looks like.  You can see that this is a far more structured design.  We are making something simpler and easier.
 Now...take 2 pairs of squares, and sew them together.  I've tried not to put the same colours together.
 You'll end up with 12 units that look like this (above).
 Sew 2 of these together to make 6 units, each of 8 squares.  Here mine are, laid out on the floor. I rearranged these to make the most pleasing layout.
 Now we're going to sew the rows together.  Match up the seams of each square with the one underneath, and open out the fabric so you're not sewing through too many layers.  Pin through all layers.  I've marked the 1st row with a pin in the bottom corner so I know which the first row is.
 Repeat until you've sewn all the rows together.  Your quilt will look something like this......but don't be disappointed, cos we're not finished yet.
 This is the reverse - I wasn't concerned about having colours butting up to one another.

 Now for the tiresome part of the quilt - using short-bladed scissors - mine are toenail scissors, but sharp embroidery scissors or snips are just as good - cut through all layers of all seams that are sticking up, avoiding cutting through the seams themselves.  Yes, it really IS tiresome, and grew a couple of blisters doing this.  You may want to do it over a day or so.
 Then put your quilt through a cool wash and a HOT dryer.  This design does need a dryer to work properly - use a friend's if you don't have one. (Make sure you clean all the fluff out afterwards, as there'll be lots of small threads in the lint tray)
 This is the end result!  Well worth waiting for, and the blisters will heal.  The cut edges fluff up beautifully, and it's way better looking than it was when you finished the sewing.
Close-up of the seams.

This is a lovely, warm quilt - mine is large enough to use as a lap quilt or tuck myself under if I feel like a snooze on a miserable day. These make great gifts and don't cost the earth.  Give one of these to someone you love, and I'll guarantee they'll be delighted.

Rag quilts are "potato chip" quilts - one is never enough, so now I'm planning another one for a friend.  This one will be red and grey, and done somewhat differently, with fringing only on the outer edges.  Watch this space for the tutorial.


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amandajg said...

Hi Shirley
I remember seeing your rag quilt in a magazine a while ago, and it gave me quite a buzz that someone I "knew" had a pattern in a magazine. What a great use of recycled fabric

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