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Thread: Trouble With Rag Quilt

  1. #1
    Holly's Avatar
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    I have a cheap walmart Brother Machine and when i go to sew my sandwiched rag quilt pieces together( which is 2 pieces of cotton and 4 pieces of flannel) my feed dogs do not want to pull the fabric!! Is it just that the machine is too light duty, or am i doing something wrong! Very new to sewing and i am still learning!! Thanks

  2. #2
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I have used two layers of flannel, but I haven't tried 4 layers. It may just be too much for the machine to handle.

  3. #3
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I agree, two layers of flannel and one cotton will rag nicely... or three layers of flannel :D:D:D

  4. #4
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
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    Do you have a walking foot? The problem with flannel is that it needs to be pulled on the top and bottom at the same time. The walking foot has teeth on it like the feed dogs which grips the top and bottom allowing the flannel to move at the same time other wise the flannel on the top layer moves or slips backwards while the bottom layer is moving as it should.

  5. #5
    Holly's Avatar
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    All the patterns i have seen say to sandwich with flannel or batting, so i figured i could use it in the middle and for the backs!! So I guess I have some more cutting a pinning for this quilt if my future!! Thank you so much

  6. #6
    Super Member NancyG's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with my White sewing machine and realized that my machine wasn't powerful enough. Tried another machine (Bernina) and no problem. I was using 3 layers of flannel in each square, which meant 6 layers being sewn together. Hope this helps ☺

  7. #7
    Holly's Avatar
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    No walking foot just a pressure foot!! I kind of figured that my machine wasn't quite powerful enough!! Oh well I might try to use less fabric or talk the DH into a new machine!! LOL

  8. #8
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I have similar problems when I use my 1980's Singer. Years ago I spent $20 at auction on an old 1950's Pinnock (made in Australia) it is an oldie but a goodie and will sew through the heaviest of fabric...If you feel denim or multi thickness fabrics are in your future, it may be worth considering a second "heavy duty" machine.

  9. #9
    Power Poster sharon b's Avatar
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    Did you cut the middle ( batting) layer smaller then the outside edges ? that will help cut down on some of the bulk .

    Also try tugging gently to get it to feed thru

  10. #10
    Fancy Nancy's Avatar
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    i have what is probably a dumb question about rag quilt making. is the back of the quilt also raggedy or are all layers brought to the front? like if there are 3 layers, do they all go up and then the back is smooth? does this question even make sense? I have read several tutes but still confused.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancy Nancy
    i have what is probably a dumb question about rag quilt making. is the back of the quilt also raggedy or are all layers brought to the front? like if there are 3 layers, do they all go up and then the back is smooth? does this question even make sense? I have read several tutes but still confused.
    All the layers are sewn to the same side, leaving the other side with 'regular' seams (smooth).

  12. #12
    Fancy Nancy's Avatar
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    that is what i figured but wanted to be sure . do you use batting and if so is it cut smaller than blocks and then stitched down first? some of the tutes say to do that and others do not.

  13. #13
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    I could help with rag quilt info, if anyone wants to PM me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fancy Nancy
    that is what i figured but wanted to be sure . do you use batting and if so is it cut smaller than blocks and then stitched down first? some of the tutes say to do that and others do not.

  14. #14
    Super Member athenagwis's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good excuse for a new machine to me!! :) I would check out the Kenmores, they are made by Janome. I have had mine for a while now and I simply adore it, it is very powerful and runs great. I think they have a lower end model than the one I have on sale right now for $180, I have heard good things about that one too.

    Cheers!
    Rachel

  15. #15
    jenna p  in ga's Avatar
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    I have a Brother from WM also, it is a light weight machine and when I tried my first rag quilt had the same problems. (i used 2 flannels and batting) A walking foot is the best solution. The machine is not too light weight, but when using so many layers you need that help from the walking foot. Also, I use a heavy needle (jeans) when doing thick layers. A walking foot is inexpensive and you will use it a lot for other quilting projects...a worthy investment.

  16. #16
    Super Member dungeonquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancy Nancy
    that is what i figured but wanted to be sure . do you use batting and if so is it cut smaller than blocks and then stitched down first? some of the tutes say to do that and others do not.
    Rag quilts are very forgiving. I made my first one with batting cut down so it was not caught in the seams. Quilted each square with an X and then sewed them together. The rest I have made using old flannel sheets for the middles, cut the same size as the blocks. Some I quilt with X's, some with +'s and some free motion in various shapes. I get bored with the X's.

    Just have fun with it, whatever you decide to do.

  17. #17
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    For that many layers, you will certainly need a walking foot. If you don't have one, it will be a great investment.

  18. #18
    Holly's Avatar
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    I think I will look into a walking foot for my machine first! Thanks everyone you have been very helpful!

  19. #19
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Your seams will have thicknesses of 12 fabrics if you make it as in your first post(6 on top and 6 on bottom). That is quite a bit. I use a Brother1500 that is a workhorse and I wouldn't have any problem, but that is thick. Remember also, that you will have to clip all of that thickness.

    If it is a good quality flannel, it would be too hot for me to sleep with, but a lot of people get cold. I made one with denim on one side and flannel on the other. I didn't put any kind of batting or flannel in the center. It was plenty heavy.

    Everyone has their own preferences, you just have to find the one that you like. I would take some leftover fabric and play with it.

  20. #20
    Super Member misseva's Avatar
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    i have two brothers but i have a walking foot and never had any problems with too much fabric except sometimes sewing over thick seams.

  21. #21
    tooMuchFabric's Avatar
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    That's what the walking foot is designed to handle.
    Three of my Brother machines I got at Wal-Mart, and they all came with complete sets of feet.
    Your Brother likely came with a walking foot, and it will do the trick.
    .

  22. #22
    Holly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae
    Your seams will have thicknesses of 12 fabrics if you make it as in your first post(6 on top and 6 on bottom). That is quite a bit. I use a Brother1500 that is a workhorse and I wouldn't have any problem, but that is thick. Remember also, that you will have to clip all of that thickness.

    If it is a good quality flannel, it would be too hot for me to sleep with, but a lot of people get cold. I made one with denim on one side and flannel on the other. I didn't put any kind of batting or flannel in the center. It was plenty heavy.

    Everyone has their own preferences, you just have to find the one that you like. I would take some leftover fabric and play with it.
    In each block i have a cotton pc on top, 1 pc of flannel in the middle, and 1 pc of flannel on the bottom!! So every block has three pieces of fabric! This one is just mainly a practice quilt to see if i even like it once it is done!! Thanks so much

  23. #23
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Ok, I thought when you said 2 of cotton and 4 of flannel that was for each block. duh!!!!!

    That would only make 6 layers and I haven't had any trouble with any of machines sewing through this. Your machine may be different and need the walking foot. I have never had to use mine, but machines have their own personalities sometimes.

  24. #24
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I always cut my middle filler fabric 1/4" smaller then the top and back for rag quilts. No use stripping gears on your machine and that will happen if the fabric is too thick and you have to pull it through.

  25. #25
    tooMuchFabric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    I always cut my middle filler fabric 1/4" smaller then the top and back for rag quilts. No use stripping gears on your machine and that will happen if the fabric is too thick and you have to pull it through.
    I get it. So you are saying the middle fabric is not included in the seaming, right? Very interesting, I never thought of that.
    .

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