4 Essential Rag Quilts Quilting Tips – Guide For Beginners 2021


How To Choose Fabric For Rag Quilts?

What is the best fabric for rag quilt?

100% cotton homespun plaids or flannels work really well in rag quilts, because they fray a lot! You could use a 100% cotton with a loose weave — the drawback is that the quilt itself may not wear well.

See if you can find fabric that has color on the back. Since both sides of the fabric will show in the seams, a bright white background may create a definite outline for each block. That may either add or detract from your quilt.

As with all quilting, check the colorfastness of your fabric to be sure that the colors won’t bleed into each other.

Use a backing fabric that will complement your quilt. Remember, it will show in the seam allowances, and, if you use a light color for the quilt top, the backing fabric may show through (if it is very dark).

How To Fringe Rag Quilts?

Fringing is what makes rag quilts unique. It’s easy, and here are a few hints to make your fringing more fring-ey.

  • Clipping through 2 layers of fabric at a time makes it easier, and you will make fewer mistakes.
  • Clip into the seam allowances on each seam and the outside of the quilt 1/4″ to 3/8″ apart.
  • Clip into the seam allowances toward the stitching, stopping at least 1/8″ away from the stitching holding your seams together.
  • Use a seam ripper to slice through the fabric, and start from the seam side, working to the raw edge of the fabric.

How To Piece Rag Quilts?

Rag quilts are fun and easy to make. They are very forgiving in many ways, and sewing them together is somewhat easier than piecing a patchwork quilt.

Here are a few tips that might make piecing your rag quilt even easier:

  • Set your sewing machine to stitch 12-15 stitches per inch.
  • Use a sharp, new needle that is designed to sew medium-weight woven fabric
  • Use a neutral color of thread (unless you want your thread to stand out).
  • Use a 1″ seam allowance to sew the blocks together. Check your pattern, though. Some rag quilts are set for 1/2″ seam allowances. If you are piecing patches within a block, use a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  • Chain piece when possible.

I sew blocks together using open seam allowances. I have found that the fringing looks better. Other quilters sew blocks together with seam allowances facing opposite directions. As with so many other things in quilting — it’s up to you!

How To Wash And Dry Your Rag Quilt?

Once the seam allowances are cut, to get the quilt to fringe, you must wash and dry it. Here are some helpful hints for washing and drying…..

  • Shake your quilt outside before you place it in the washer — to remove as many of the seam allowance threads as possible. (Pick your shaking spot carefully — you may have threads flying!)
  • If possible, use a washer with a lint trap.
  • Shake the quilt (again) and clean the lint trap in your dryer before you put the quilt in.
  • Once dried, shake the quilt (outside in your pre-marked spot!) to get rid of even more loose threads.

It may take more than 1 washing and drying to get the quilt to fringe as much as you would like. Not to worry, this will give it the “well-loved” look you want as well.

Use masking tape to remove wandering threads on the quilt. A vacuum cleaner works, too. Or, if you have one of those special lint remover rollers, use it.

Wear clothes that don’t attract lint — otherwise, you will be using masking tape on your clothes, too.

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