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Thread: Any tips for sewing a rag quilt together?

  1. #1
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    Any tips for sewing a rag quilt together?

    So, the other quilt I am in the middle of is a rag quilt with two layers of flannel, and one layer of dimple plush fabric. All layers were the same size. I've sewn a cross on each square, and sewn ten rows which are now ready to be joined. Obviously the sewing squares together is six layers of fabric at the seams, so far so good. But now I need to join the rows, and it's proving trickier than I thought! I have sewn two rows together (twelve layers at the corner meeting of seams) which I managed with one of those tools for going over bulky seams, but am now having to rip it out because the plush fabric has shifted about so there's insufficient caught in the seam between the two rows! Can I use the Elmer's school glueI have heard so much about on the plush fabric to keep it in place?? And is there an easy method for going over the bulkiest part of the seams?? Or am I just doing it wrong??

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, don't know that I can be much help. With the rag quilts I've made I always cut the middle layer square smaller than the top and bottom pieces. I knew it would be held in place by the cross I sewed on each square so there was no need for it to be included in the seams.

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Press your seams open, nice & flat. If that doesn't make it easier you can hold the ( raggy edge overlaps) up and stitch underneath them right up to the seam, not catching the bulky part. It does mean a stop,start at each block. You stitch to the seam, under the bulk, fix stitch, stop, cut move to other side, start as close as possible to the stitch line under the bulk again, keep going across the row. I had to do one that way for a Denim, corduroy, batting, raggy. It was slower ( but not really because I didn't have to fight with those bulky overlaps.)
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    You can use glue or blue tape to keep the ends down. I use the tape because I use the accuquilt and the tabs are already cut. You can also use a walking foot to help keep the fabric going right. If you presser foot has a little small know (screw head) on the side, could be black, when you get right before the thick part push on the black knob and it'll help the presser foot go up over the fabric. Hope this helps

    I make mine 3 layers but only two layers get sewn together, the middle layer is held in place by the X or embroidery design and then I also stitch around the square before I sew them all together.
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  5. #5
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I think the problem is with the dimple thickness. It probably won't fray like flannel does.
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  6. #6
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    I agree with ManiacQuilter. Whenever I've made a rag quilt I also cut the middle about an inch smaller than the top and bottom squares.

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I make my rag quilts with 3 layers of flannel, or sometimes 2 flannel and one corduroy, and I don't sew an X because it's unnecessary to hold the layers together when all 3 are sewn at the seams. I don't have a problem sewing the rows together. I think you're having more trouble because the dimple plush fabric is slippery and thicker than the flannel. I would try pinning the fabrics together pretty closely so they don't have a chance to shift while you're sewing. The advantage of this over glue would be that it will hold all 3 layers together. You would have to insert glue in between 1st and 2nd layer, and also in between 2nd and 3rd layer to do this. I think pinning would be faster and would leave no residue.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I cut the middle layer smaller and only rag the top and back pieces. I use the Go to cut the 8" rag squares and the 6" square die to cut the middle layer. There is very little bulk in the seams this way.
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    I have made rag quilts with denim and those corner seams are really bulky.

    What finally worked for me; sew up to but not through the corners. Take back stitch, then cut the threads and start on the other side of the corner. By the time you snip a wash the quilt, you will not know that you did not sew through the corner.

    As far as the plush shifting, glue, or baste the blocks just inside of where you will snip, before you sew the rows together.
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  10. #10
    Super Member Tiggersmom's Avatar
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    Are you using a walking foot?

    I've only made one rag quilt with denium and flannel.

  11. #11
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    I just did a rag quilt. When I sewed the rows together, I pinned the seams open. It turned out nice. DH is pleased as punch.
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    Thank you all for your suggestions and tips! Having taken an age to rip the first seam out, I've pinned it all with so many, many pins (pinning seams open - my machine seems okay with the thickness - it's the transition between seams and not which I am finding tricky, so I have gone really slowly and carefully with the thick seam tool, and using my walking foot). It seems to be going okay. Oh, and I made the seams a bit wider, to make absolutely sure they'll hold. Slow going, and I think I may try the middle of the sandwich smaller next time, but I think I am getting there now, slowly but surely. Thank you again, I really appreciate it!!

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    MadQuilter, your rag quilt is lovely!!

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    Okay, so I am all sewn together, and I am pleased with how it's gone so far - but now I am faced with the snipping... Oh my! I bought snips specially, having read that snips are better by far than scissors, but I obviously chose the wrong ones! Does anyone have any recommendations, because I already have a blister on my thumb, and have only managed to snip around two (edge) sides of one single corner square...

    Thank you!

  15. #15
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Oh dear, I sympathise with you! The first snips I bought were hopeless and like you, I ended up with blisters. I then purchased some Fiskars Rag Quilt Snips and although they were pretty expensive they worked a treat and were well worth it in the end! Hope your blisters heal and you get the quilt finished with a smile on your face instead of a grimace!!! Post pictures!!!

  16. #16
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    PIN< PIN< PIN is the only help I can give you. I have made many many rag quilts and pinning at the seams is so necessary. Good Luck

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  17. #17
    Junior Member angelanicole's Avatar
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    and make sure use a bigger size sewing needle........

  18. #18
    Super Member dellareya's Avatar
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    The first time you wash it take it to a Laundromat. There is just too much lint for home machines. The first time I washed one a home it cost me $100 in a service call. Now I always wash
    and dry rag quilts at the do it your self wash and dry.

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