Quilters often use sizes for rag quilts are five, six, or ten-inch squares. However, the best size of squares for your rag quilt depends on the size of the quilt you want to create. It may also depend on the size of fabric that you intend to use for your quilt.
The size of a square block for a rag quilt may also depend on the weight of the fabric used. Lightweight fabrics are more fit for smaller squares, while heavier fabrics are best to use on larger squares because they will produce bulkier seams where you join them.
Most rag quilts are made of squares, but others use strips of fabric of different sizes. But whatever shapes or sizes you want to use, creating a rag quilt is the same.
Rag quilts are easy and fun to make; they are a perfect project for beginning quilters and an exciting one for the experienced.
If you are making a rag quilt out of square fabric patches, you first need to decide on the size of your finished quilt. Below is a chart for the approximate number of squares you will need to make different sizes of quilts.
|Quilt Type and
Approx Finished Size
(size will vary slightly)
|Approx Number of 5″ Fabric Squares Required||Approx Number of 6″
Fabric Squares Required
|Approx Number of 10″
Fabric Squares Required
|Small||32″ x 56″||288 squares
(9 sq x 16 sq)
(7 sq x 12 sq)
|Twin||70″ x 91″||1040 squares
(20 sq x 26 sq)
(15 sq x 20 sq)
(8 sq x 11 sq)
Approx. 15 yds
|Full||84″ x 91″||1248 squares
(24 sq x 26 sq)
(19 sq x 20 sq)
(10 sq x 11 sq)
Approx. 19 yds
|Queen||91″ x 95″||1404 squares
(26 sq x 27 sq)
(20 sq x 21 sq)
(11 sq x 11 sq)
Approx. 18-20 yds
|King||108″ x 108″||not recommended||1152 squares
(24sq x 24sq)
(13sq x 13sq)
Note that when making a rag quilt, the finished size of each square will be 1.5 inches less than the starting size because of the seam allowance that will create the fringes, and expect a slight shrinkage on your finished quilt.
List of Contents:
What is the seam allowance for a rag quilt?
A rag quilt has a standard seam allowance of ½” from each quilt square or strip edge. After sewing the blocks together, the exposed seam allowance will give the rag quilt its unique frayed look.
But not all fabrics fray the same, so you need to adjust the seam allowance size to bring out the best look of your rag quilt.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding the size of your seam allowance to make them fray well for a great-looking rag quilt.
Type of Fabric
A wide seam allowance will be best when using a fabric that frays well, like 100% cotton. Using materials that are not as smooth as 100% cotton, such as polyester, will help if you create a smaller seam allowance. With a rag quilt, you would want a seam allowance that can give fluffier frayed edges.
Width of the Clipped Seams
The width of the cut seams also plays a big part in knowing if your rag quilt will turn out to have beautiful and fluffy frayed edges. The smaller the width of the seams, the fluffier they will become.
Although the highlight of a rag quilt is its exposed fluffy seam allowance, you also have to consider that the fabric blocks of your quilt need to be seen.
If you make a rag quilt using small square blocks, the standard seam allowance of a half-inch should be enough. A wider seam allowance will drown out the designs on your fabric blocks.
How do you sew a rag quilt together?
There is only one method of sewing a rag quilt together. You need to sew the blocks of squares or strips with the 1/2 -inch seam allowance right-side up, cut the exposed seam with scissors around ¼-inch apart, then wash the quilt to achieve a unique frayed look to a rag quilt.
A rag quilt is an easy type to put together, even for a beginner at quilting. It only includes cutting and sewing in straight lines and more cutting.
The procedure for making a rag quilt is straightforward to follow and is the same whether you use squares, strips, or any material. Below is a step-by-step method of creating a rag quilt of your own.
- Decide which shape to use, strips or squares. Either of the two will make a magnificent rag quilt.
- Choose the size of quilt you want to make to know how many squares or strips you need to cut. Cut your fabrics into the correct squares to create your desired quilt size.
- Cut the same batting squares as the fabric squares but are two inches smaller.
- Place one batting square in the middle of two square fabrics and secure the fabric pieces with pins. Using a sewing machine, sew from corner to corner of the square, forming an X. Make sure you start and stop your stitches a half-inch from the edges. Repeat this process on all your fabric squares with batting.
You can use a presser foot to help you stitch your X, pin your layers tightly, and lift the presser foot when needed to keep them from sliding.
- Stitch the layered squares together in a row. Make sure that the batting does not show through the layers of fabric. Then, stitch the rows together, ensuring the seams match each row.
- After the squares have all been pieced together, stitch around the edges of the quilt at around 5/8 inches. Cut the seam allowances around ½-inch deep and a half inch or a quarter inch apart.
- Wash in the washing machine with cold water on a gentle cycle to help fray the raw edges. Fraying of the seam allowance will get better after washing it a few times.
Making a rag quilt is more accessible than the usual quilt top but uses more fabric. Note that you are making more significant seams than traditional quilts; hence, using more material.
When making a rag quilt, it will be hard to mess up. It will be hard to see a crooked portion of the rag quilt, so this is a quilt project that is ideal for beginner quilters. The ragged and frayed seam allowance covers the stitching and the seams.
Expert quilters have these tips and tricks based on their experiences making wonderful rag quilts.
- First and foremost, use suitable fabric for your rag quilt. Loosely woven, yarn-dyed fabrics fray well.
- You can use a walking foot to help you stitch the X on your square block to prevent the fabric layers from slipping as you sew.
- Making a rag quilt can get messy, so it would be wise to wear an apron to prevent fabric threads from getting on your clothes as you work.
- Use lint rollers to clean off the threads from your finished rag quilt, clothing, and working area. They will give you more time for sewing than cleaning. Stock up on these lint rollers when you plan on making more rag quilts.
- When cutting your seam allowance, avoid doing too much at once. You can use spring-loaded scissors to make the task a bit lighter.
- Avoid cutting too close to the stitch line. If you cut into a stitch line, stitch the area immediately or place a drop of liquid fray preventer to secure the spot.
- Quilters say that the rag quilt is the most forgiving among the quilts you can make. When you finish your rag quilt, no one will notice a crooked stitch on the seam lines or complain about uneven intersections. The fringed seams will cover everything up.
- Wash your finished rag quilt separately, as threads will surely come out in the wash. The seams in your rag quilt will get fluffier after a few more times that you wash it. Then you will have a wonderfully soft and cozy quilt.
What is the best material to make a rag quilt?
The best material to make a rag quilt are woven cotton and flannel. Flannel is commonly used for the batting and the backing of the quilt because it is soft, cozy, and frays well. You can use the woven cotton prints for the rag quilt top.
When choosing the fabric for a rag quilt, make sure to pick a material that frays easily. Some fabrics are soft but do not fray as well. Minky is a soft fabric that does not fray, so it is better as a backing than the top material for your quilt.
The most common material to make a rag quilt is cotton fabric. Cotton fabrics will last a long time and are very durable. It is a popular material for rag quilts because, aside from being soft, it is also tough yet frays easily.
Cotton flannel is a better material for rag quilts. This material produces a softer quilt than regular cotton fabric. You can also find cotton flannel in various designs and prints for quilt projects like baby quilts or lap quilts.
You can also look for fabrics called Homespun which is also popular with quilters. They are usually very loosely woven and create ragged edges on the rag quilt.
To cut the quilting process short, you can look for precut fabric bundles or curated fat quarters and combine the assorted quilt blocks to create a perfect rag quilt patchwork.
Other high-fraying fabrics aside from cotton include denim and some silk fabrics. Medium-fraying materials are linen, cotton sateen, and high-quality quilting cotton. Fabrics that are not advisable on rag quilts are stretch fabrics, fleece, and most polyester fabrics.
You can choose many fabrics for your rag quilt, but not all will fray easily. When in doubt that the material you select for your rag quilt is good enough, you can try cutting into the fabric and see if the threads come apart quickly.
Do you put batting in a rag quilt?
Some quilters put a low-loft batting while others see no need for batting at all. When using dense fabrics like denim, you can waive the use for batting.
Using old jeans to make quilt blocks for your rag quilt will produce a heavy quilt. Thus, there is no need to use batting.
But if you decide to have batting on your rag quilt, make sure you use low-loft batting instead of a high-loft one; that will make quilting a rag quilt more difficult. The size of your batting should be 1.5 inches smaller than your quilt square block.
Batting will add more thickness to your quilt materials and provide a quilt blanket warmth and coziness.