Friday, 14 September 2012

Easy to make "rag" style quilt!

My Brother and his wife had their first baby a few weeks ago and I decided that I wanted to make a practical welcome to the world gift for him.

I'm not a crocheter or knitter but I can sew a semi straight line on the machine if its an easy enough project. So after flicking through a few library books I decided that I could make a basic quilt to put on his bed or even on the floor for when they do that naked kick around thing... (the baby, not the brother and his wife...)

I decided on a rag quilt as it allows the beginning or one off quilter a fair margin for mistakes!

It looked easy enough on the tutorial here and here and so I gave it a go.

Here's what I did...

I used matching cotton materials from a sheet set (that I started to rip up before I took the photo)
First I cut a series of strips and then cut them into rectangles (squares might be slightly easier upon reflection)

And using the first rectangle as a template, I cut the sheet part into matching squares.

First strips the same width and then into matching rectangles

Then I laid them out in the pattern (I thought) I wanted - I had one square left over - it took me a while to realise that I had planned a quilt of 5 x 5 squares (which makes 25) and not 4 x 6 squares (which make 24)
I had started sewing before I noticed my mistake... 
I'm doing a mixture on the front and just stripes on the back

To make the batting (I think that's what its called) I used some old towels that were past their hang in the bathroom days

Then you make a sandwich of a back, a piece of batting and the front. BOTH front and back have to be right side out - we wont be turning it inside out or anything. So if you have it the right way up - you can see the front of the front and if you have it with the back side facing up you can see the good side of the material as well.

Then sew corner to corner in a plain straight stitch - either in a plain or contrasting cotton.

You want each piece of your quilt to have an "X" across the back and the front of it.

To incorporate the embroidered designs already on the material, I drew around them in pencil

And then carefully stitched around it trapping the batting between the back and front pieces still. I didn't want to X out the motifs but still needed to stick the batting and back to the piece.

Return each piece to its place ensuring the back and front patterns still do what you want them to do. This is a good time to turn your quilt pieces into their final places and look for any mistakes.... 

See how the embroidered animals are now in the middle and have a different quilting pattern from the others?

Now the tricky bit - sew two rectangles together so that one side is flat and the other side has all the seams.

and then make strips like this...

Keep going until you have all the rectangles made into strips - look for your mistakes and unpick now if you see two orange ones together or wait till later and be annoyed that you didn't see it in time to correct it...

Then keeping all the seams to one side sew the strips into a quilt.

Sew a line all the way around the edge

and cut the edges like so - being careful not to cut through the stiching.

My front looks like this

And the back like this...

You then have to cut along all those seams to fluff up the edges - this takes some time. Grab a cuppa and some music to snip to!

The front in (my case) is smooth so that the bub doesnt pick ip bits of cotton and eat 'em.

And the back has the "rag" characteristic that the quilt is named for. Normally you would have this as the front, I would say, as this is where the fun of the quilt really is.

I really enjoyed making this! Pretty basic and easy enough to do. I would probably attempt another one but I might go and price batting as the towel was hard to keep square.
Even though I have put mine through the wash a few times, it hasnt fluffed up the way the one I saw at a quilt show did or like the ones in the tutorials on other blogs did. Maybe it was the material, mabe my machine is too delicate (Hmmm... what wash did I use maybe I should put it back through on super heavy duty?)

At any rate, I hope the young fella apprecietes the thought and the effort even if there isnt a lot of technical expertise to admire in it!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for making a present out of things you already have kicking around in the hall cupboard.
Frugal-ness:  5/5 Made with love not money!
Time cost: I managed to make this in one sitting and it took me about 4 hours.
Skill level: If you can sew a stright line and can unpick it - you can make this quilt!
Fun -ness: Great fun! Im looking forward to a photo of the young fella on it!


gail said...

Love this little quilt .

Blessings Gail

Practical Frog said...

Thank you! The cat is currently sleeping on it so im going to have to wash it again before I send it to them! Thanks for stopping by! - Kara x

lightlycrunchy said...

Thats a wonderful gift! I started one of these quilts two years ago and still have all of the squares with the x's sewn, but have yet to piece it all together. Soon!

livingsimplyfree said...

I love this!! You did a great job.
I have tried my hand at quilting and it's not really my thing, but this looks much simpler than what I've tried in the past and may actually give this pattern a try this winter, when I have some free time.

Practical Frog said...

I'd love to see what yours looks like when finished Lightly Crunchy! Dont forget to blog it! Im not really a quilter - in fact its the only quilt I've ever made. But as its an afternoon of intensive work, it got done. If it had been a weeks project... I reckon it would still be sitting there and I'd have bought something instead. K xx

africanaussie said...

I have wanted to make one of these type of quilts for ages. Not sure what type of batting you would use though -

Practical Frog said...

Apparently there is a commercial batting you can buy from Lincraft or Spotlight or the like. I havent been to have a look. I was to intent on making it there and then and knew if I went off to buy something, it wouldnt get made. Basically it was quicker to cut up an old towel than to get dressed properly and go and buy some! Next time Im in one of those shops I shall have a look. - K xx

mainegreengirl said...

I love rag quilts! I use most anything in the centers of them - old sheets, towels, flannel shirts or nightgowns, etc. I find they are not only the most economical quilts to make, they are the "greenest", easiest and best of all, the more you use/wash them, the better they are!

Practical Frog said...

I have heard that the more they are washed the better the seams jumble up! I washed mine twice to see if that would happen and then again after the cat decided it was a comfy place for a nap and it didnt foof as much as I had hoped. Maybe after a few more washes once the young fella has puked on it a few times! - K xx

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