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Thread: 2 questions about rag quilts

  1. #1
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    2 questions about rag quilts

    Hi! I am new here and making my first quilt! It is a rag quilt made of old t-shirts (cotton). I have two questions I hope you experienced quilters might help me out with

    1. On a rag quilt, the seams all go out on one side, and the other side is smooth - right? Someone suggested that both sides should have cut seems out on them, and now I am confused.

    2. My quilt has large squares (8"x8") and then 4 small squares that make up a large square. I have seen pictures of this style, and the 4 small squares also have cut and frayed seems around them. For the batting, I am wondering if I then put together each of these 4 small squares as if they are large squares, with tiny squares of batting, and THEN sew them into the 8x8 square, or if I first sew them together, and then use a regular size of batting.


    I hope these questions make sense, I don't know all the proper terms. Thanks so much for any advice!!

  2. #2
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    You are right. The seams all go out on one side, like you said and the other side is smooth. For the four small squares, you put batting in each small one as you do the large ones and then sew them together into the 8 x 8 square. See, you know what you are doing.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  3. #3
    Member mikenoma's Avatar
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    Others will chime in I hope, but for question number one...all of your cut seams should be on one side and the back side is smooth. Question two...I would sew the little squares together using little squares of batting to make one 8" square when finished then so that to the larger squares. Be aware that there are "quilt police" out there and they are not always correct. You seem to have some pretty good instincts. You will gain more confidence as you go. Good luck and post a pic when you're finished.

  4. #4
    Junior Member brunswickgirl's Avatar
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    I make my rag quilts with 3 layers of fabric not using any batting, gives more fraying and still has some weight. I find it easier to cut three layers of fabric vs. cutting batting 1/2-1" smaller than the fabric. Just my 2cents worth.
    Linda K Stafford

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    Wine is the Answer.....What is the Question????

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    Welcome to the QB! As I see you already have information you need as you will always have with any future questions.

  6. #6
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    Just a quick note here. Remember that you will lose the seam allowance when you put together your smaller squares. You need to either add these measurements here or cut your larger squares down to fit the 4 patch.

  7. #7
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    Hello and welcome from Texas. I haven't made a quilt like this yet, but I thought I read somewhere that you're supposed to sew an X in the middle of the squares. Someone pleaser correct me if I just dreamed this.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brunswickgirl View Post
    I make my rag quilts with 3 layers of fabric not using any batting, gives more fraying and still has some weight. I find it easier to cut three layers of fabric vs. cutting batting 1/2-1" smaller than the fabric. Just my 2cents worth.
    This is the way I do mine too. I use 3 layers of flannel and mix in some corduroy sometimes. I love the texture it gives. It's much easier this way, and the quilt is plenty heavy and snuggly. Also I don't have to sew any X's or do any quilting because all the layers are already sewn together, nothing to shift around in the middle. As far as the 4-patch, using batting, you could do it either way (individual batting pieces or only one), but if using only one piece of batting behind the 4-patch you could put the 4-patch's seams on the inside (toward the batting) and then they wouldn't fray, but they would still look very nice. There are many, many ways to make quilts, and you can choose the ones that suit you best.

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    Thanks everyone for your helpful and positive replies!

    Brunswickgirl - I heard about that idea after I had bought/cut my batting. I think I might try it on a future quilt (let's see how this goes first!)

    cjsews - That is good advice! I realized that late at night when I was about to start cutting, that the math wouldn't work out if I just divided 8 by 4.

    Misty's Mom - That's right, in most of the guides I have read on the internet the pieces and batting are sewn together with an X.

  10. #10
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    If you are working with old t-shirts - knits behave differently than woven fabrics.
    Take a square and clip it on two sides. See if you like the look.

  11. #11
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    T shirts don't fray

  12. #12
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I didn't notice the part where you said you were using T-shirts. Yes, the edges will curl up somewhat, but you will need to check it out to see if you like the look. It's not so bad with fleece, because it's thicker and fuzzier, but I still prefer homespun, flannel, or corduroy for rag quilts.

  13. #13
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have made rag quilts both ways. Some fray in front and back and some smooth on the back. There is no right way.
    Got fabric?

  14. #14
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    Sounds like you have a good handle on it! Welcome and don't forget to show us the finished product!!

  15. #15
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    Missouri Star Quilt Company has a tutorial on making rag quilts. I watched it before I made my first one. Good luck with yours.

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