Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shabby Chic Rag Quilt Tutorial

I finished all the sewing (and picture taking) on my rag quilt today and am posting this tutorial for all ya'll!  
This project can be completely put together in one day.  
It is THAT simple!  
I would love to know if you make one!!

  I used an 8 1/2 inch square rotary ruler, rotary cutter & rotary mat, 2 yards yellow toile, 2 yards blue toile, 1 yellow twin size sheet & 1 old light blue flannel twin size sheet.

I decided to use 2 colors and do a kind of checkerboard effect.  It also makes it much easier & less confusing to lay out.   You also do not have to use sheets.  I picked up that yellow (Ralph Lauren) sheet for this purpose because I wanted a really soft back on my quilt.  That blue flannel sheet is actually an old sheet.  I use flannel as my filler because I wanted something lightweight that would still be warm in my quilt.  (I even have a stash of old flannel pjs that I am going to be using for another quilt!)  If you use sheets, make sure they are smooth before you cut them.  You want your squares to be as even as possible and wrinkled fabric prevents that.

I have also made rag quilts with batting instead of flannel an they are a little puffier & cute, just not quite as quick & easy - so this is my preferred method.

On to my tutorial:
I made this quilt 6 squares wide by 9 squares long.  This way it will cover my Manly Man's toes when he uses it.

Cut 54 (8 1/2 inch) squares from your backing fabric & your flannel.

Cut 27 (8 1/2 inch) squares of each of your two fabrics for the front.

 Now that you have all of your squares cut, it is time to make the fabric sandwiches.

*off topic side note
I found that darling pin cushion at a thrift store and I LOVE it!

Whats not to love??  Those cute little sumos guarding my pins.

*totally off topic side note over
 Use ALL of the squares to make fabric sandwiches.

Put backing fabric on the bottom, flannel, on the inside, and print fabric on top.
 I actually had to go back and iron all of my squares I made from sheets (after I took this pic) because they were wrinkled and my squares didn't cut evenly.

 Now that you have your two stacks, you divide them into 6 rows of nine squares (1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 blue, etc.)

These will be your blanket rows.

 You have all of your squares divided into rows, so now it is time to sew them together!

  You are half way through!

Get your first stack & put them neatly backsides together.

Sew them using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  It looks a little weird with all the seams poking up, but they will be precious at the end!
 Grab the next square and sew it to the bottom in the same way.  Continue until you finish the row.
 Be careful not to sew it front sides together.  I have done this at least once on each rag quilt I have made.  If it happens just get your seam ripper out and fix it - and then just pretend it never happened!

After your first row is finished, set it aside and repeat for the remaining 5 sets of squares.
 oops!  I made another boo-boo.  Somehow my sandwich got messed up!  Where is that seam ripper...

Yay for you!  
Now, that you have all 6 vertical rows sewn together, it is time to sew the rows together!
 Put the rows together longways- with backs together - and sew together with a 1/2 inch seam.

The easiest way to do it, is to sew three rows together, then set them aside.  Then sew the other three rows together the same way.

Then sew the 2 sets together.  It is just easier to handle that way.

O.K. Girlies!  Now that you have all of your rows sewn together, your sewing is almost finished!

 You need to sew a 1/2 seam all around the outside edge of the entire blanket.
I double stitched (went around it twice) this one because I used decorator fabric and wanted it to be extra secure.

 Whoila!  Your quilt is all sewn together!  All that's left is to snip all of the seams!

Go down every raised seam & around the edge snipping about every 1/4 - 1/2 inch.  Go as close to the seam as you can without snipping the stitch.  
 Be careful because it is a pain to find holes after it is washed - but, if it happens you just have to restitch those places. 
I used to get REALLY close to the stitch, now I stay back a bit )as in the picture below). 
Another note about snipping - regular scissors will work, but spring loaded scissors are recommended.  That is ALOT of snipping - your hands will thank you for spring loaded scissors.

These are the Fiskars scissors I used for my first couple of rag quilts (cost about $16 at Wal-Mart)-

You can find them at Wal-mart or Hobby Lobby (use that 40% coupon!).

But after making a couple of these quilts, someone recommended these scissors (which I love).  They cost about $36 with shipping.  You can find them at Amazon.

Here is my uwashed quilt!  

After washing, the upturned edges start to fray & look adorable.  I bring them to the laundry mat because the lint it throws off is CRAZY!  Commercial washers/dryers are designed to handle more lint than home machines.  I have heard it can tear up your machine.  

I have also heard that some people just stop the wash half way through and get all the lint out then & then shake the quilt out and finish the cycle.  I am too big of a chicken - so I just bring it to the laundry mat!

This is the buttery soft backside of my quilt.  You can use decorative fabric on the back & make it reversible. 
I just recommend that you keep it simple for your first quilt!
I would love to see pictures if ya'll make one!  

I will be happy to answer any questions you might have!


  1. It's a beautiful quilt and a great tutorial. I've never heard of spring scissors, but will have to look into it! :-)

  2. Oh I love this quilt --- the colors would go perfectly in my living room! Love the material you used --- and love the ragged shabby look too!
    BTW - Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog!

  3. I love your pin cushion and you quite is gorgeous. I love the colors.

  4. It turned out gorgeous! Thanks for sharing ~ please come by and say HI sometime!

  5. This turned out awesome! I just bought a bunch of flannel to try this with... but I'm a little chicken. Thanks for the encouragement! I have a feeling I'll be back here while I'm working on my quilt (actually quilts... three of them...) Thanks for linking up at While He Was Napping!

  6. This looks like a quilt I would actually have the patience to finish! Beautiful job!

  7. So cute! Love those fabrics you used.

    The Queen Bees Hive

  8. So pretty. You picked the perfect fabric-so springy looking and cheerful.

  9. awesome awesome...I'm totally gonna make ones of these - someday! great tutorial!

    would love for you to hop over for a visit - I'm a newbie sewer!

  10. Really beautiful quilt! Love the fabrics and the colors you used.

  11. Thank you! I've been wanting to try one of these and this is a GREAT tutorial! I love that you can finish it in a kind of project!

    So love your blog...I'm off to look for your follow button!
    All Things Heart and Home

  12. I love the yellow and blue colors you chose for the quilt. Thanks for the first quilt I ever made was a lot like this one. :-) Thanks for linking up to A Marvelous sure to come back next Monday for the next party!!

  13. Great tutorial and beautiful quilt. I really want to make one, but I just haven't had time yet. Seing how easy and fast you made yours I don't think I have any more excuses.
    Thank you for sharing.

  14. I featured this today! I'd love for you to come grab a button. They are in the sidebar. Thanks for linking up last week! Hope to see you again this week!

  15. Love it! I do have a question though. When you start sewing the rows together, do you flatten the seams holding the blocks together in all one direction (for instance, the direction you are sewing the rows together) or does one side lay one way and the other side the other way? I tried to look closely at your pictures but can't quite tell.

  16. Thank you! I fold the ones on top one way and the ones on the bottom the other way. You can open the seams if that is easier for you. Either way won't affect the appearance of it after the seams are cut. I just try not to have so much bulk for my machine to sew through. I hope I explained it O.K. If not, just ask...

  17. This is the BEST rag quilt tutorial! I hunted the internet for an hour perusing all the rag quilt tutes out there and yours is TOPS! Thanks for posting this--love your blog (I'm also an ex-Louisiana native) and am adding you to my blog roll!

  18. I just love your blog and I'm looking forward to getting a chance to make my first quilt using your tutorial to do it! I'll definately share pics if/when I get it made. :)

  19. Thank you for the tutorial. I am trying to find those scissors on Amazon but to no avail. Could you please tell who manufactures them?

  20. Beautiful Quilt!
    I am making my first one in 5" squares using denim jeans my boys have grown out of with navy and red flannel and cotton fabrics! Cutting process at the moment!
    Thanks for your wonderful tutorial! I have linked you in my Blogroll at

  21. how big did the quilt turn out to be?

  22. I just wandered when you sewed around the edges were the seams pressed open or going one way? Did you sew on right side or wrong side? Thanks Barbara


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