How to Sew a Rag Quilt

Today we want to introduce you to one of the Beyond Backstitch Team Members -- 
Laura from Housewife in Town is posting here today to share how she made her latest rag quilt creation. 
Enjoy the tutorial and come back soon for more quilting inspiration! 
A rag quilt is a fun and easy way to get started quilting. It's fairly forgiving and the results are eye-catching! A small rag quilt {12x12in} can be finished in less than an hour {without two-year-old distractions or seams to rip out}. Rag quilts are especially nice for babies and toddlers because...they are washable! They like to be washed. :) They get softer and more frayed each time {a good thing!}.
Materials needed: 
Quality fabric. I usually buy 1/2 yard cuts of the fabrics I like -- 100% cotton, flannel, and minky {that super soft stuff with little bumps}. ;) If you get fabric that is 45 inches wide and you get a 1/2 yard cut {18 inches}, you can cut twenty-one 6" squares with very little waste. There's your free tip for the day. =)
Thread. In a nice color that matches all your fabrics.
Fun ribbon -- if you want to add taggies for little fingers.
Tools to have on hand:
Cutting mat, grid ruler, and rotary cutter
Sewing machine. I'm using a Husqvarna. It's got guts. :)
Seam ripper. {I know. I don't make mistakes either.}
Clipping scissors {tiny blade and spring loaded helps when snipping your rag quilt} 

Step One:
Choose your fabric and square size and begin to cut using your cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter. If you haven't cut fabric before, you'll learn something from this video:

I cut six inch strips and then pile a few of these on top of each other {being very careful to line them up, of course} and cut into six inch squares.

Step Two:
Once you have a nice pile of squares, you can decide on your quilt design. I like to make a nice thick rag quilt, with fluffy edges, so I usually do three layers of fabric. Bottom layer in this case is brown minky, middle layer is pink flannel, and top layer is my cotton pattern {or another brown minky or pink flannel for contrast}. 

Lay it out the way you want it to look, keeping in mind that things will shrink as you sew.
{I usually use a 1/2 inch seam allowance, so my six inch squares become 5 inch squares.}

Step Three:
Take your three-layered square and sew an x across it {diagonal lines from corner to corner} to hold things together. Repeat until all your squares have an x stitched on them.

Step Four:
Begin sewing your squares together, in rows. I use a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Be sure that you sew in such a way that your seam sticks up, not down {so you can see the seam}. Sew all the squares in your first row together, then work on the next row.

Step Five:
Now you are ready to sew your rows together. Again -- remember to put your rows together in such a way that when they are sewed, you will be able to see the seam. This can be a tricky step. Pin at each seam junction to give your quilt a nice "squared up" appearance. Sew down the line, again using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Repeat until all rows are sewed together and the quilt is complete.

Step Six:
Sew a perimeter stitch around the outside of the entire quilt {again, 1/2 inch seam allowance}. I like to sew a double stitch around the perimeter on my small lovey blankets. I sew a triple stitch on the section with ribbon taggies, to be sure they don't come loose.

Step Seven:
Time to snip! Get those sharp scissors and start snipping your seams {please see the photo below}. The amount of chunk is up to you -- on this lovey I snipped pretty close together. But be careful not to snip threads. You will have a hole if you cut through the stitching. The corners, where you have a bulk of fabric, will need careful snipping.

Step Eight:
You are ready to wash and dry! You'll just love the way it looks when it comes out of the dryer. So soft and raggy. :)

Laura, Beyond Backstitch Team Member, blogs over at Housewife in Town. She loves natural colors and simple styles. She gravitates to a modern country look in design and loves Pottery Barn. Children's rooms should always have polka-dots and stripes, in her imagination -- with owls, ladybugs, or some cute forest creature. She loves to write, photograph, craft, cook, and sew and she's planning to homeschool her two little boys as they grow.

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