I’m so excited to be part of an awesome collaborations with some other great homesteading bloggers! We’ve come together to bring you some fantastic DIY homemade gifts.
These gifts are perfect for Christmas, birthdays, or just any time you need a perfect gift for a loved one. Be sure to check out all of the other DIY homemade gifts linked at the bottom of this post!
This simple DIY rag quilt tutorial will teach you how to make a rag quilt in no time!
Sewing is something that I’ve enjoyed doing for quite a few years now. My parents bought me a sewing machine for Christmas back in 2004. I like to sew a variety of items from clothing to cloth diapers to bags to quilts and just about anything that strikes my fancy.
A rag quilt is definitely one of my favorite things to make. If you are looking for a great gift guide for sewing items, you’re in luck. I picked some of my favorite sewing items and put them together in a list for you so shopping for the sewing enthusiast in your life is simple.
Quilting may be my favorite sewing activity. I like to make traditional quilts and rag quilts. A rag quilt is nice because it goes together quickly and also tends to be less expensive to make than a traditional quilt.
They also make great gifts and are also beautiful and functional as a decorative throw.
My mom and I have made several rag quilts together. They are fairly simple to make and you do not need to have much sewing experience or knowledge to make one. You only use a straight stitch and sew straight lines for the project.
How to Make a Rag Quilt
DIY Rag Quilt Tutorial
Choosing your fabrics:
You will need to choose your top fabric, for our rag quilt, we used a Christmas/winter time themed fabric for this rag quilt. You will also need a middle layer and a backing layer. All three layers will show on top as the ragged or frayed edges.
The best fabrics to use for rag quilts are woven cotton and flannel. I personally prefer to choose woven cotton prints for the top layer and complementing flannel colors for the middle and back layers. Flannel is soft and cozy plus it frays really well.
You definitely want your fabric choices to fray easily.
I have seem some rag quilts made with minky as the backing because it is soft but it does not fray. It can be used but just know that it won’t have the same look as a looser fabric. Minky is also a lot more difficult to work with.
Another option is to make a rag quilt with batting as the middle layer. This will insulate the quilt but you will only have 2 layers of ragging instead of three. If you choose this option, be sure to cut the batting to fit inside of your seam allowance so that it doesn’t show.
Calculate your yardage:
To calculate your yardage for the amount of fabric you’ll need for your quilt, you need to decide what size quilt you want to make and how many fabrics you will use.
I like to draw a sketch of my quilt to give me a visual reference. Remember that each quilt block will be 1″ smaller when finished because you will be using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Here is a list of handy yardage calculators: Quilter’s Paradise Calculators
Supplies you will need to make your rag quilt:
- Sewing machine (This is a good starter machine)
- Complimenting fabrics (I usually shop at Jo-Ann Fabric)
- Matching thread (I like Gutermann)
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat (This is a great kit)
- Sewing pins (I like these pins the best)
- Iron (I have this cordless iron for my sewing room)
- Ragging scissors are very helpful as well (Buy them here)
- Seam Ripper-Hopefully, you won’t need on but I always do (like this one)
- Optional: Quilting squares for measuring (I like these)
I must confess, I’m not much of a pinner when it comes to sewing but it really is a good habit to get into. I’m teaching my girls to pin their projects for better finished results.
Prepping your fabric:
Begin by pre-washing all of your fabrics. You’ll typically be using 100% cotton fabric that will shrink. The fabric can also bleed colors onto each other. I wash everything of like colors on warm with color catching sheets in the wash.
I then dry them on high heat in the dryer. After they come out of the dryer I iron each piece (Can I get a collective groan here?). Now, we are ready to cut out our individual blocks.
Cutting and layering your blocks:
You will need to cut your top, middle, and bottom blocks before you can sew. Once they are all cut out I like to lay my quilt out on the floor to be sure the pattern works. You will want to have the layers all together at this point.
To layer your rag quilt, you will need to take your bottom piece with the right side facing down, lay your middle piece on top of that, and them place your top piece right side up on the very top.
You’ll have yourself a lovely little fabric sandwich. Line your edges up as best as possible. If you aren’t great at cuttung straight lines yet, it’s ok, rag quilts are very forgiving because they edges will all be frayed.
Just be sure you can catch all three layers withing your 1/2″ seam allowance and have plenty to fray. You’re now ready to begin your rag quilt assembly.
***The block sizes that I used for this rag quilt were a 9 1/2″ square, a 9 1/2″ x 5″ rectangle, and a 5″ square. The finish size is approximately 54″ x 60″ and would take about 3 1/2-4yds of fabric per layer. This is a general how-to post, not a specific pattern design.***
Quilting or x’ing your layers:
Next step is to sew an “X” across each block. You can use a ruler and a washable fabric marker to get a perfect “X” or you can just eyeball it, my preferred method. Make sure all three layers are even and sew from corner to corner.
Assembling your rag quilt:
Once all of the blocks are “X” ‘d you’re ready to begin putting your blocks together. This is the part that can get you. You have to remember to sew so that your seams are all exposed on top of the quilt. Goes against every sewing bone in your body to do this.
Place the back sides of your blocks together and sew at a 1/2″ seam. Once you’ve finished each row you can sew them together. Again, make sure you are sewing your seams on top. If you mess us with the seam, just rip it out and re-sew it correctly.
When your whole rag quilt is pieced together, you need to sew all the way around the outside of the quilt at a 1/2″ seam.
Ragging or Snipping your edges:
Now, you need to snip all of the seams and around the outside on the blanket at 3/8″-1/2″ apart. No need to be exact, just snip along. Be careful to not cut into your stitching.
Rag quilting scissors are almost a must. They have a spring to help you snip right along. double and triple check your quilt for missed seams.
Fraying your edges:
Once you have all of your snipping done, wash (I always use color catcher sheets just in case) and dry the quilt several times to promote the seams to fray a lot. For me, the third washing and drying seems to be the one to do it.
After it comes out, I check the rag quilt to make sure I didn’t snip any of my stitching and cause a seam to come apart. If and when I do, I just sew the seam back up on my machine.
I also like to trim up loose threads and any really “wild” frayed areas.
That’s it, all there is to it. A beautiful rag quilt to enjoy or gift to someone else to enjoy! I hope this diy rag quilt tutorial showed you exactly how to make a rag quilt and you can get started right away!
Best fabrics for fraying: Woven cotton fabrics are the best for rag quilts because they fray so well. I prefer a cotton print for the top later and flannel for the inner and back layers.
There is a line of fabrics called “Homespun” that are very loosely woven and make beautiful ragged edges on these quilts.
Can minky be used: Yes, it can but it will not fray and give the same ragged look as woven cottons. It is a very soft fabric but it is also very slick so not the easiest fabric to work with either.
Thread color choices: I like to match my top thread color with my quilt top and my bobbin thread with my backing color. This is a personal preference.
Size of blocks cut for this rag quilt: 9 1/2″ square, a 9 1/2″ x 5″ rectangle, and a 5″ square.
Finished size of this rag quilt: Approximately 54″ x 60″
Fabric needed for this size rag quilt: Approximately 3 1/2 to 4 yards per layer. (note: if you use multiple fabrics for your top layer, you will have to calculate how much of each you need)
Do I give this pattern out: I made this up in my head based off of some ideas that I saw on Pinterest so I do not actually have a pattern. You are welcome to use my measurements and design as a guideline to make your own quilt like it.
Some other rag quilts I’ve made:
Some other great rag quilt tutorials I found around the web:
Gifts You Can Make in an Hour or Less
Creative Cookie Packaging Ideas || Rootsy Network
Create a Giftable Indoor Herb Garden Kit || Not So Modern
Two Holiday Chai Tea Blends: The Perfect Fall or Winter Gift || Healing Harvest Homestead
Soup in a Jar: the Perfect Comfort Gift || Dehydrating Made Easy
Snickerdoodle Cookies || Nancy On The Homefront
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds (with printable gift tags) || A Modern Homestead
How to Make & Give Homemade Hot Cocoa Mixes || Homespun Seasonal Living
How to Can Homemade Salsa || Not So Modern
Make Gift-Worthy Bread Mix In A Jar – Great for Your Own Pantry Shelf Too! || Oak Hill Homestead
Make Your Own Lotion Bars || Learning and Yearning
Easy Homemade Bath Salts Recipe || Better Hens and Gardens
Peppermint Foot Salve || The Self Sufficient Home Acre
SPF Lip Balm Recipe || Our Inspired Roots
3 Bedtime Bath Teas for Kids || Homestead Lady
DIY Flaxseed Neck Heating Pad for Soothing Muscles || Joybilee Farm
No-Sew Scented Sachet Bags With 5 Herbal Recipes || Rockin W Homestead
Fall Air Freshener DIY || Feathers In The Woods
Gifts You Can Make in a Day or Less
Easy Applesauce Recipe For Canning or Eating Fresh || Hidden Springs Homestead
How to Make Hot Process Soap Complete Picture Tutorial || Healing Harvest Homestead
Crockpot Apple Butter with Canning Instructions || A Modern Homestead
DIY Quilted Mug Rug || Flip Flop Barnyard
Feathers & Hugs – How to Create a Psalms 91 Throw || The Farm Wife
DIY Flower & Veggie Row Markers || The Self Sufficient Home Acre
Make Your Own Veggie Hod || Nancy On The Homefront
Horseshoe Farm Sign – Fun DIY Gift for the Horse Lover || Homegrown Self Reliance
Gifts You Can Make in a Week
Easy Primitive Throw Pillow Tutorial || Hidden Springs Homestead
How to Make a Rag Quilt || Flip Flop Barnyard
Make Your Own Plant Pots and Baskets || Homestead Lady
Special Gifts That Take One Month to Create (but are well worth the wait)
Making Herbal Vinegar || Better Hens and Gardens
Elderberry Elixir – A Delicious Immune Boosting Gift || Homegrown Self Reliance
How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract || Farming My Backyard
How to Make Strawberry Wine Step-by-Step || Stone Family Farmstead
How to Make Cold-Process Soap from Scratch || Oak Hill Homestead
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Charity Harper says
I have been making rag quilt to donate to the,local children hospital and I love this,lay out this,quilt I was,wondering what size your blocks are. In the quilt with the snowman, brown, aqua, it think those are the,colors.
Hi! The block sizes I used for that quilt was a 9 1/2″ square, a 9 1/2″ x 5″ rectangle, and a 5″ square. 🙂 It is so wonderful that you are sewing for the children’s hospital! God bless you! 🙂
Did you cut 9 1/2″ squares to have a finished 8 1/2″ square
did you cut 10 1/2″ squares to have a finished 9 1/2″ square?
I cut the 9 1/2″ and the finished was 8 1/2″. 🙂
farmer liz says
Looks great. Thanks for sharing your method.
Candace Crawford says
What does the back of your quilt look like? What did you do for the back?
The back is flannel. I layer the top, inner, and back together and then sew them. 🙂
these are great can”t wait to try
Jenna, this was the perfect tutorial for my first quilt ever. Thanks and keep those tips coming for us beginners.
Thank you! I’m so glad it helped you! ?
How much fabric did you buy of how many different fabric? Do you have cutting instructions? Thank You!
Hi! The amount of fabric depends on the size quilt you make. I believe a quilt that is 54″x54″ would take 3 1/2-4yds of fabric per layer. The top layer would just depend on how many fabric prints you use. I do not have my cutting instructions in a post but I use a quilting square ruler in the size block I need. I usually layer my fabric 3-4 layers and use a rotary cutter on a mat and cut around the ruler. 🙂
When sewing the X in each square…..do you go all the way to the edge of the fabric? Do you back stitch?
I do go all the ways the edge. There’s no need to backs rich because when you piece it the X stitches will be caught and shouldn’t come out. ?
I really like this turorial! Thank you for posting, but I do have a few questions.. What did you use for the middle? Can you post a picture of the back of a quilt? I’m not a big quilter, but am making a baby quilt for my expecting sister. I am planning to do 5″ squares and am curious about what the back would look like! Is flannel best or would I be able to use a softer fabric like mink? Thanks again for a great tutorial and plan!
Hi! I used flannel squares in the middle. I don’t use batting. The back just looks like pieces squares. I’ll take a picture of one when I can and post it. Thanks! ?
The flannel is pretty soft. I would not use minky. It is very slippery and not user friendly for quilting. Also it will not fray the same way as flannel. The raw edges will just shed everywhere.
linda dow says
hi I have made several rag quilts but after washing I am finding seams coming apart have any ideas what I am doing wrong
Sometimes when I snip the rags, I accidentally snip the seam stitching. Just go back over the Sean with the sewing machine. ?
Love this. This design will be my next rag. Thank you so much for sharing.
Hi. I really, really love this layout. It really takes rag quilting up a notch!! Thanks for your , and the sizes of the blocks. I have another question. What was the approximate finished size of the quilt pictured?? I’m trying to figure out how many blocks I’d need to create a decent size couch cuddle quilt…
Thanks for your help!!
What was the approximate size of your finished blanket?
I believe it was around 54″x60″
Searching all over for a tutorial, and this one was amazing. I have seen double sided rag quilts. I can’t figure out how to accomplish. I am making a baby quilt with flannel
What is a color catcher sheet?
It’s a little sheet that you put in the wash and it absorbs the color that bleeds out of fabric so it doesn’t bleed on each other.
On the featured quilt what are the measurements of each block? I have fat quarters and am wondering if I’ll be able to cut without too much waste.
Robin Kaspar says
Thanks so much for your tutorial. I am planning my first rag quilt using your pattern. I have drawn it in EQ7 and reduced it to 38×38 for my little grandson.
Did you pre-shrink your flannel? Like you, I’m going to use cotton for the top layer as there are better choices of novelty fabrics. I’m concerned that if I don’t pre-shrink the flannel, it will end up wonky.
Robin Kaspar says
Oops, I see where you did state you pre-wash. You can delete my comment. Thanks.
Tanya Ewing-Finchem says
Thank you so much for your Pattern and directions. I finally got my rag quilt made for my new grandson. I added some embroidered squares to match his safari themed nursery. I used the extra fabric from his nursery sheets and bassinet sheets. Cutting the edges is very tricky, be very careful not to snip the seams when you cut them. I had to resew many of my seams. I would love to send you pictures if you like!
I will be making more of these for a special gift!.
Looks lovely and so cozy! I am going to try this for sure! Thanks for posting !
Really good tutorial. There are a few things you can do to make the process quicker. My favorite is speex sewing the x’s. Lay tjem in a stack next to your sewing machine only srwing one line of the x at a time. Sew your diagonal line but dont stop just lay the next one down and keep going until you have a long line of squares with one line then stop clip your thread between each one and do it again for the other line in the x. This saves a ton of time.
Also I make a border on mt rag quilts to finish them off.
Donna Blackwelder says
Would love to see the back of the quilt. Did you make it all of one fabric?
The back side is all one color but it is separate pieces like the front there are no solid large pieces in a rag quilt. 🙂
What are color catcher sheets? Also, all the layers of the blanket is fabric not batting?
The color catcher sheets go into the washing machine with the fabric to catch the dyes that wash out. This keeps your fabric colors from bleeding onto each other. This type of quilt only uses fabric, no batting.
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This is the most informative post I have seen yet. Most hit the high light and skip all the important step. Thank you, I look forward to making a rage quilt now.
Deena Paine says
[…] How to Make a Rag Quilt […]Can I please have the pattern to this wonderful quilt. Wow
Deena Paine says
I’ll be glad to purchase it. Just got to have it.
Deena Paine says
Please let me purchase the pattern for this beautiful brown an aqua baby blanket
I don’t have the pattern written down, I just made it up. I’m sorry!
Kim Langford says
In the featured project did you use the same color thread for the whole project. I tried to zoom in on the pictures of the brown material and couldn’t tell if you had used brown thread for it. I was wondering if you had used white thread for the whole project.
I usually match my top thread with my fabric and my bobbin thread with my backing. I like it to blend. It’s just a personal preference. 🙂
Missy Pea says
I absolutely love this quilt tutorial! And I adore the fabrics. I can’t wait to make a rag quilt of my own!
I don’t see the size of the flannel pieces for this quilt. Will you share that? Thank you!!
They are the same size as the blocks.
Bacheca Incontri Milano says
Great tutorial. I’ll surely try this..thanks for sharing!
Hi, I was wondering where you got your 9 1/2 inch x 5 inch rectangle? I have searched everywhere and even online and can’t find one
Hi Jeanne, I don’t have one for that rectangle. I just measured the fabric to 5 inches wide and used a straight edge ruler to make sure my cuts were straight. 🙂
Love the layout. What size did you cut the center of each block?
The center is the exact same size as the front and back pieces. You want a contrasting color so it stands out in the ragged edges. 🙂
Myra-Ann Pickens says
Hi. I’ve used your tutorial to make a rag quilt out of homespun and it was brilliant. I want to make another one now, out of flannel, and I have a question. If the flannel is printed on the front rather than being yarn-dyed, will that make too much of a difference?
The thing is, I live in Australia, and we don’t have the same fabrics here that I can get in the US. I always do a quilt shop day when I’m there, and pick up tons of fabric for whatever I know I’ve got planned for the near future, but I won’t be back there until October.
The only flannels we really have here are pastels and kids patterns, like Frozen, etc. I am having to buy what I need online out of the US, so I want to get a better sense of what choices I should be looking at. I can’t actually check them out in person.
So the ones I’ve bought so far are plaids and they’re beautiful and are yarn-dyed, rather than printed. But there are some really pretty choices that are printed too, which means the second side is not exactly like the front. Since the back of the fabric shows on a rag quilt, I’m concerned about whether or not it would look funny. What do you think? Have you had any experience with them?
I think that the printed flannel on the back would be fine. 🙂 I use cotton on top and flannels on the back for most of mine.
Inez Montgomery says
Hi, I absolutely love this quilt tutorial! And I adore the fabrics. I can’t wait to make a rag quilt of my own! Thanks for the sharing this.
Emma McGann says
Great tutorial. I have bought a sewing machine some days before and I want to learn to make a lot of things like ladies bag and many other crafts. Now I have got an idea about making a rag quilt. Thanks for sharing this awesome tips.
Hi. Love your tutorial. I’m just wondering how many of the squares and rectangles you cut.
How many large blocks in each row and column? It looks like 4×4 but I can’t tell for sure on the picture.
Yes, it’s a 4×4.
BREEZY BIRD says
I’m wanting two convert your pattern to a larger block size to use t-shirts. If Mt largest block was 14*14 what would my other blocks be? I think I’ve been over thinking it!
Hi! I’m so glad you are making one. I’m not a math whiz but I’ll tell you what I *think* they would be but you should definitely cut out paper or scraps first to be sure it works. lol If your big block is 14″ x 14″, your rectangles would be 14″ x 7 1/2″, and your smaller square would be 7 1/2″ square. This makes sense in my mind. 🙂 Good luck. Let me know how it turns out!
Anthony Castillo says
Learned a lot. Now I can make a rag quilt with my sewing machine. Keep sharing such a lovely post.
Moira King says
I loved the lay out of your rag quilt so made a quilt using that design.
I was hoping to show you the final result but don’t know how to paste it for you to see.
Many thanks for your wonderful ideas.
If you’d like to see it please send me an email and I’ll send the picture of the quilt to you
Hi! I’d love to see it . You can email me at email@example.com. I’m so happy to have inspired you!
Elle Meager says
Hi Jenna, thank you for this great post, such beautiful quilts! The rag quilt bag is awesome, never thought of making a bag. I really did groan at your ‘ironing each piece’ though, I’m firmly against ironing anything 😀
Your rag quilt looks beautiful now, but it’s not finished until you wash and dry it to fray all those clipped edges.
Leslie Harris says
Hi Jenna! First off I am excited to try this as I am a first time quilter. Secondly, could you possibly explain some of the tools that are needed because I am not understanding what they are and also can this be done by hand stitching? Thank you. God Bless 🙏😇
Sharon Lucas says
I made my first rag quilt as a pillow instead of a quilt as it was smaller. Sort of a test. I had trouble with the intersecting corners of each row. When you stitch one row to another row do you stitch down the intersecting seams? Should the top row seam face one direction and the 2nd row seam face opposite? They looked weird sewn down. What is the proper way to do that? Thank you.