Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Baby Flannel Rag Quilt Tutorial

I have a dear friend who is pregnant with twins. Twin girls, to be exact. So other than two of something, I wasn't sure exactly what to give her, as she already has the most adorable two-year-old boy and all of the "baby" stuff that entails. But, after a little convincing from my mom, who has made her share of beautiful quilts, and from Pinterest, I was inspired to try my hand at sewing. 

But, other than a pair of floral shorts and a jumper, (stylin'!!) I made while in 4-H while in junior high, my sewing skills were a bit rusty. So, let me preface this post by saying that if you can sew in a straight line, you can make this flannel rag quilt! 

This particular pattern, with long, wide strips of fabric rather than squares made the process extremely simple.  And the best part - it's as soft as can be, and only gets better with every wash. Does that sound like a commercial? It's true! 

Here's all you need to make your own: 

7 different coordinating pieces of flannel, 1/4 yard each
2 yards of batting 
thread
scissors
... and a sewing machine of course!

First, the most difficult step of the whole project - choosing your fabrics. There are too many cute patterns! I got mine at JoAnns on a day when all flannels were 50% off. 

 

Next, lay out your fabric and cut your material into strips. You will need four 7" strips, and three 4" strips. 



Make sure to cut off the dead ends ... 


Next, cut strips of batting two inches smaller than your fabric and lay it in between two pieces of fabric - like a sandwich! The "good" sides should be the ones showing. 


Pin your material, and you can begin sewing (yes, already)... One tip on the pinning first, though. Make sure at least one end of your sandwich has a straight top edge - don't worry if the bottoms don't exactly meet. You'll use all of the "clean" top edges for one end of the quilt and the uneven edges will all be on the other side, which you'll trim up after sewing all of your pieces together.  

First you'll sew directly down the center of the fabric strip to keep your sandwich together. A tip on this - the machine I used has a wavy stitch, which was very forgiving. If my line wasn't exactly straight, it wasn't as easy to tell! 




Once you have all of your sandwiches made, lay out your pieces on a flat surface to try and piece this quilt together and form a pattern. This part was hard too, but just a matter of arranging and rearranging until the pattern looks way you want.

Here is the layout for one of my quilts. I folded my strips over so I could see the pattern on the back as well, since I used different fabrics for each of my "sandwiches" to add some variety.)


Once you know how you want the quilt to look, start from on end, and pin two adjoining pieces together (front to front, or back to back) and start sewing a straight line - it's that easy!! I used ahem of about 5/8" as it was a bit easier for me than a half inch. The flexibility is the best part about this project. 


Then grab the next adjoining piece, and so on, and so on ... 


Once you have all of your pieces sewn together, make sure to hem each outside edge of the quilt, and also to trim up the bottom with the uneven edges. Find the shortest length and use that as your base measurement for cutting the other pieces. Once you've completed all of these steps, you'll end up with a quilt!

 Here is the finished product with all of the piece sewn together and the edges hemmed. 


You're almost there! The next step is to cut your seams in 1" increments to create the signature rag quilt fringe.  


For this step I'd recommend a sharp pair of scissors and few movies ... the below worked well for me :) 

 


Love stories at their best, people. And if you haven't wiped your teary eyes with them, your seams should look something like this!


And when you've cut each seam, the rag side of your quilt will look something like this ... 


The last step is to run the quilts through the washer a few times - this is how you get your edges to fray. One tip here as well - these quilts tend to produce a TON of lint, so I'd agree with the experts who recommend drying them at a laundromat. If you want to use your home dryer, make sure to check the lint trap several times while they dry. 


Here's one after being washed a few times - it's the beginning of a nice, soft rag-ish edge. :)


After Mama B washes them a few more times, I'm confident they will continue to get even more soft and fluffy. 



So there you go. If I can do it, I know you all can, too. Yes, you could certainly buy a quilt like this, but there's nothing better than a handmade gift straight from the heart. I hope the twins will agree! :) 


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2 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures. I love making raggy quilts!

    Bobi
    http://westernwarmth.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Bobi! It was easier than I thought!

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