April 10, 2009

Don't Toss It: Make a Charming Rag Quilt in a Weekend

Photo credit: patch-to-patch.blogspot.com via yahoo images
Wait! Don’t throw away all those old clothes. You need them. For what? For a rag quilt, of course. It sounds a bit strange at first, but a rag quilt can become your child’s (or another child’s) most prized possession. A rag quilt is essentially a quilt made out of old clothes – rags, quite literally. 
Watch Videos
Before you start, you should check out some of the videos out there on sites like Vimeo and YouTube. Get a feel for the process. See what others are doing with their quilt projects. Then, download a few videos using something like http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/ so you have a good reference saved to your own hard drive. In fact, you should consider saving a few of the best videos, as long as they’re not copyright protected. If they are, ask the owner of the video for permission to use them for your project. Make sure you remember to respect intellectual property.
Get The Materials
You’re making a quilt, so naturally, you’ll need materials. Fortunately, this is the easy part. Rags. All you need are rags. Old shirts, pants, jeans, even underwear if there’s enough material (you’ll be cutting it up a bit so it’ll be unrecognizable). 
Cut The Material and Batting
Cut the material for the quilt and the batting that will go inside. For the material, you’ll need 180 squares of flannel cut into 6 inch squares. You’ll also need 132 squares of rags, and 8 squares of each of complimentary fabrics. 
Now cut 180 5-inch squares of batting. Make it easy on yourself. Use a rotary cutter and cutting mat. 
Put Everything Together
Place a 5-inch square of batting on a 6-inch piece of fabric. Now, top it with another piece of fabric. Align the edges of the squares of fabric. Repeat this process to create 90 squares. Make 42 blocks of the main fabric and 48 blocks of complimentary fabric. 
Prepare For Sewing

Now that you have the basic batting sandwich done, it’s time to align everything. Get a ruler and draw a diagonal line across each of the squares from one corner to the other. Now, repeat the process, making an “X” in the center of each square. This will form the basis of your stitching  lines. Make sure you’re using water-soluble pens. You want these to come off when you wash the fabric.
Sew It Together
Sew everything together. Follow all of the stitching lines on the quilt. Here’s where your sewing skills will come in handy. You’ll need to sew everything together to form the quilt. Use a half-inch seam allowance when sewing the blocks of fabric together. Make sure that the seam faces the front of the quilt. 
The first row should have 9 blocks – this will give you a guideline for the rest of the quilt. Just keep sewing everything together, layer by layer, until you run out of blocks. Pin the first row to the second and repeat the process using the ½ inch seam allowance. When you’re done, clip through each seam allowance about ¼ inch. Stop snipping at about 1/8 an inch from the stitching line. Clip around the perimeter of the quilt as well. 
Lisa Harold is a passionate crafter. She loves recycling old things to make beautiful and useful new things.

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