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Friday, August 12, 2011

My First Quilt!

I made a rag quilt and I am so proud of myself. It will definitely not be the last quilt that I make because I loved it! And it didn't take nearly as much time as I anticipated. I would guess that from start to finish, it was about 10 hours. 

Here it is with a very cute little girl:

Here are the steps to make a RAG QUILT:

1st, decide how large your quilt needs to be. I made a TWIN size quilt and determined after measuring the mattress and looking online that I wanted it to be 70" X 90". 
2nd, make your quilt plan. This requires a bit of brains and math. I looked at fabrics and got an idea of how many different patterns of cotton fabric I would use before making my plan. I chose 5 different fabrics at the store, but didn't purchase them yet.
Then, I drew out my plan using a ruler. 10 inches on my quilt = 1 inch on my paper plan, so it was accurate to scale. I numbered each of my 5 fabrics and had a key at the top of the page. After my original plan, I had to make a few adjustments because the fabrics I chose were only 45" wide. Some of my original measurements  exceeded that and I would have had to buy a lot more yardage to make it work. 

Here are my first and second quilt plans:

3rd: Once the plan was complete, I added 1/2 inch seam allowances for each seam and added the total fabric needed for each fabric pattern in inches and then converted it into yards. The total amount of fabric needed for the top was almost 6 yards. The back of the quilt is 6 yards of solid pink flannel. I chose not to use any quilt batting since it is so warm here in Mesa, AZ.

4th: Next, purchased the fabric needed.
5th: Then, cut out all of the pieces. Don't forget to cut each piece with seam allowances. I used a rotary cutter and a cutting mat. That saves a ton of time compared to cutting using fabric scissors.
I checked off each piece on my paper plan as I cut them out so I could keep track. Then I laid out my fabric pieces in a pile in order according to my quilt plan. That just helped me stay organized.
6th: Next, sew each piece of cotton patterned fabric to a corresponding sized piece of flannel fabric with wrong sides together. I sewed an X pattern through each large piece to secure the flannel and cotton together.
7th: Once each piece has a flannel piece attached, start sewing your pieces together into rows with 1/2 inch seam allowances. With a rag quilt, you sew the seams with the two pieces backing-side together. So, with my quilt, pink flannel sides were together. This makes the seam stick up on the top side of the quilt and later will have a cute raggy look. I laid out my rows as I finished each one.

8th: Once all of the rows are completed, sew them together starting at the top and working down. Again, make sure all seams are facing up after sewing each row together.
This is what the seams will look like after sewing:

9th: After all of the quilt pieces are together (woohoo!), sew all the way around the edge, 1/2 inch away from the edge. I used a double needle for this to give the edge added strength. You can look here for great information on how to use a double needle.

10th: Here's the tedious part of rag quilts... trimming the seams. In order for the showing seams to get the cute rag look, they need to cut every 1/4 inch toward and close to the stitches. Using spring-loaded scissors makes this task a bit easier. Be cautious not to cut any of your threads and do this step in several different sessions so you don't kill the tendons in your hand!

Here's how the seams look after being trimmed:

11th: The Final Step is to wash and dry the quilt. I took my quilt to a laundromat and spent $3 in quarters to wash and dry it. I did this because I read somewhere in my rag quilt research that the high amount of strings and lint from the ragged seams could be too much for a residential washer and dryer. The first wash is the only one that has that high amount of lint, so in the future, I'll wash it at home.

I can hardly wait to make another rag quilt sometime soon. Maybe I'll make it really easy and do a baby sized quilt next time. 

I hope this information is helpful!

~ Chelsea ~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you are very creative! I love seeing your latest creations