A rag quilt is an easy-to-assemble project that's perfect for the beginning sewer. The quilt requires no seam finishing or binding application and does not require quilting once the entire project is pieced together. Rag quilts are made with yardage of flannel or by recycling scraps from previous projects, including old jeans.
The best fabrics for a rag quilt are flannel or homespun fabrics. Cotton prints do not fray easily and are not recommended. If you have old jeans, consider making the quilt from one layer of denim and one layer of flannel.
You will need 4 to 5 yards of fabric for the front and back pieces of a lap-sized rag quilt measuring 30 inches by 54 inches. A twin-sized quilt that measures 69 inches by 90 inches requires about 10 to 12 yards of fabric.
If you use denim for one of the quilt layers, you will not need any batting. Otherwise, choose between a lightweight cotton batting or flannel for the inner layer. The amount you need is determined by the size of the quilt you are making.
Cutting and Assembly
Cut squares of fabric appropriate for the finished size desired. Six-inch squares are a good size to work with, though squares cut larger in size require less sewing and assembly. A lap quilt requires about 140 6-inch squares; a twin-sized quilt requires about 360 squares that size.
Cut squares of batting 2 inches smaller in size than the fabric blocks. If you are using flannel for the inside layer instead of batting, cut the squares the same size as the blocks.
Sewing and Finishing
Make "sandwiches" from the fabric by putting two squares together with the wrong sides touching. If you are using the batting or interior flannel, insert that material between the fabric squares to make your sandwich. Using a marking pencil, draw two lines on the square, from corner to corner. This "X" marks the sewing lines. Sew through the layers of each sandwich following the X lines drawn.
Once all of the individual sandwiches are sewn, join them together in strips using a one-half-inch or three-quarter-inch seam. Sew the strips together to form the quilt. One side of the rag quilt will have raw edges that will fray when washed.
A lap-sized quilt using 6- inch blocks has approximately 10 rows of 7 squares each, while a twin-sized quilt requires approximately 15 rows with 12 squares in each. To add more length or width, sew an additional row onto the quilt. Once completed, sew a line of stitching at one-half or three-quarter inches around the entire quilt.
All seams and the quilt edge must be clipped to promote fraying. Clip slits approximately one-half inch apart throughout. Use caution to not clip through the stitching. Shake the quilt vigorously, preferably outside, to shake off stray threads and fray. Wash the quilt in cold water on a regular cycle with liquid fabric softener to start the fraying process. Prior to drying, shake the quilt to remove loose ends. Dry the quilt on a regular dryer cycle, stopping once or twice to empty the lint trap. The quilt may not be completely frayed, but use will finish the process.