Making a Rag Quilt in Sections | New Quilters

Making a Rag Quilt in Sections

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The purple scrap quilt I was making to use up some old quilt squares I’ve had in my sewing room for years has morphed into this purple fleece-backed rag quilt — just finished a few minutes ago! (And I still have quite a few purple squares, which made me buy a little — just a little — more purple fabric so I can use up the rest of the purple squares I have. Oh, how many mental tricks we quilters can use to buy more fabric!)

I machine quilt all my own quilts at home on this Brother 1500S.


Because I have to wrestle my quilts through the throat of this machine, I’m always experimenting with ways to divide my quilt into smaller sections for machine quilting. That led me to make this quilt a rag quilt.

I pieced the central section of the quilt into one large unit, layered the center with polar fleece backing fabric, and quilted it by stitching in the ditch between the squares. Then I cut four separate border sections and quilted each one individually with a meander pattern. Each border section has an extra half-inch of white fleece backing that extends past the top fabric. Here’s one of the sections before I trimmed the backing fabric:


I joined the sections together with an extra-wide 3/4 inch rag seam allowance, creating a fluffy white rag section that functions as an inner border. Then I used my rag snips to clip the seam allowances.

To make the quilt’s outer rag edge, I stay stitched all around the outside of the quilt, 1-1/2″ from the outer edge.  Then I used my rotary cutter to make short, parallel cuts all around the edge of the quilt.

A quick visit to the washer and dryer, and the quilt was done. (I really like not having to make a binding for these quilts.) When it’s folded, you can see how thick and cozy the quilt is. I wish you could feel the plush softness of the fleece backing!


Rag Quilting for Beginners by Felicity Walker

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