The soft, raggedy edge quilts have become popular. They are not usually used as bed quilts, but as cozy lap quilts, picnic or travel quilts, or to snuggle in while reading your favorite quilting magazine.
Use Flannel, Homespun, or old Blue Jeans
You need to choose fabrics that will ravel and fray. The best choices for these are either flannels or a "homespun" type fabric with a loose type weave. (There are some links at the bottom of the page to show samples.) If you want to have a heavier quilt, you can also have a great looking rag quilt using old blue jeans (see links to Jeans Gallery at bottom of this page).
Batting, Flannel or Nothing in the Quilt Sandwich
Depending on the weight of the quilt and what types of fabric you use for the front and backing you may or may not want to use batting in your quilt. I prefer flannel for the batting - it frays well. True batting makes a lot more lint mess. If you are making a Jeans Quilt you do not need to use batting at all. A nice quilt can be made with old Jeans on one side and flannel on the back.
Cut Squares: Top, Bottom, Filling
The top and bottom squares are cut the same sizes. 8" or 9" is usually about right, even 10" is fine. If you are working with old jeans you will want to use 9-10" squares. If you are working with all flannel or homespun you may want to use 8-9" squares.
If you are putting in filler, use flannel. In fact, you can use cheap flannel, or any flannel leftovers. All you want is a filler that will ravel, the flannel fabric won't show. Flannel filler squares should be cut the same size as the top and bottom squares.
If you decide you want a heavier quilt and choose to use batting as a filler, you will cut the center squares of batting 2.25 inches smaller than the top and bottom squares. Thus, if your quilt has 9 inch top and bottom squares means you would cut the batting at 6.75". If your squares are 8 inches, cut your batting 5.75".
Note: If you are using batting, you need to quilt the squares before you put them throw the washing step. Sew an "X" throw the top of each square before joining them together if you used batting. You do not need to do this step if you are using flannel or homespun for filler.
When you sew a raggy quilt, you will be using a 1 inch seam allowance so that you have extra fabric on the seams for raveling. Thus a 10" square will be an 8" sewn square.
Below I outline how to make a 64" lap quilt, but you may want to experiment with a few squares first to see the effects of different fabric choices, Just follow the procedure below, but make a few 4-square samples to wash and dry to test fabric fraying. You can always make a pillow out of your trial pieces.
Sewing a 64" Square Quilt
We will use as an example a quilt with 10" squares which will be 64" x 64". Adjust for your chosen size squares. You will be making a quilt 8 x 8 squares = 64.
Cut 64 each, 10" squares of your top and backing fabrics. Be sure to use a variety of flannels or homespuns - combining different plaids gives a great country look.
We will use flannel for our filling - cut 64 additional 10" squares of any kind of flannel - cheap flannel from JoAnn's or WalMart is fine for this purpose.
Now, make stacks of the 3 sets of squares:
1. Backing squares right side down
2. Filler squares - anyway
3. Front squares - right side up
Sewing with ONE INCH seams, join 8 sets of squares into a row. You will sew so that the raw edges are toward the front squares. That is, they will all face front so that you can have them showing from the front of the quilt. Make 8 of this rows of 8 squares each. Press the seams open between the squares.
Now, sew these rows together, matching seams. Again, sew with raw seams toward front of quilt. Sew the seams open to reduce the bulk of sewing over seams turned to one side.
If you are doing a Jeans quilt, you may find it easier to stagger the joined rows so that they build up in a brick-like fashion with a half-square at the ends of alternate rows. This makes for less bulky seams to sew over.
After you have joined the 8 rows, sew an inch inside the outer border all around the quilt.
Cut the seams: This will take awhile, it's a good project to do while watching TV? With sharp scissors snip into the one inch seams, being careful not to cut the sewn seam. Make a cut every 1/2 - 3/4 inch. Cut the outer edge the same way.
Wash to Fray: This can get a little messy and if you don't have a washing machine with a good lint filter, you may want to go to a commercial laundromat. Run the quilt through a long cycle of wash and drying. This will make the edges soft and frayed.
That's all there is to making a rag edged quilt!
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