How to make a rag quilt 1

Since the weather has gotten colder, it means quilt season. But How to Make a Rag Quilt? There’s nothing I like better than to cozy up with a good book by the fire snuggled in a blanket. This quilt is a great way recycle all those sewing scraps you have collected over the year (or years).

You can use any 100% cotton fabric. I like flannel the best because it is so warm and perfect for this time of year! This is just a fun sewing project, a little time intensive I know, but the results are worth it. 

How to make a rag quilt blanket

Supply list:

  • Walking foot – this is a strong recommendation! (If you don’t have one they sell them on eBay for cheap or in Amazon)
  • Thread
  • Fabric- use anything 100% cotton
  • Batting – I use Warm & Natural (Joann Fabrics)

A walking foot looks like this. You don’t need, need, need one but if you are going to make a few they are definitely worth the investment. Just make sure you order the right one for your particular machine.

Throw 49” x 63” -11.25 yards of fabric – 63 quilt sandwiches
Large throw 63” x 77” -18.50 yards of fabric – 99 quilt sandwiches
Crib 35” x 49” -6.25 yards of fabric – 35 quilt sandwiches

How to Make a Rag Quilt

This is a fun scrappy project so don’t worry about which color of fabric is next to each other or if a plaid is straight. Take this tutorial as a procedure meant exclusively for beginners.

Due to the nature of this quilt, it is not necessary to be “perfect” in cutting, pinning, or piecing. After the completed quilt is washed, the frayed edge hides a multitude of sins.

Some Tips:

  • Do not pre-wash the batting or flannel.
  • Remove selvages.
  • All seam allowances are 1″. Yes, 1″.
  • Use a walking foot for all sewing. All stitching and seams are on the “outside” of the quilt. Press or pin all seams open, as you would when sewing a garment.

Step By Step Tutorial

Step 1

Begin by cutting out your squares of fabric. I use 9″ squares. To cut I use a quilting ruler, rotary cutter, and mat. But you don’t have to do it that way if you don’t have the supplies. Just measure and cut 9″ squares with scissors if you must. You can add layers of flannel based on the need.

Step 2

Cut the Warm & Natural batting into 6 3/4″ squares. Look above at the size you are making. However many “quilt sandwiches” it says for your particular size, that is how many squares of Warm & Natural batting you will need.

Sewing a “Quilt” Sandwich: When making your sandwich, be sure that the right side of the fabric is on the outside. This is where fleece comes into picture. Center a batting piece on the fabric. Quilting cotton is quite easy.

It isn’t necessary to use the same fabric on the top of each “quilt sandwich” as on the bottom. Top with another fabric square. Pin in place (if you like pinning. . . I don’t pin though).

Step 3

Using a matching, contrasting, or a specialty thread, sew an X on each of the “quilt sandwiches”.

The process needs a basic sewing machine to develop a fabric sandwich. You can use a pretty wide stitch since it isn’t holding the quilt together rather just giving it a quilted look.

After all the X’s are stitched on the squares you are ready to assemble them.

Step 4

When you have completed all your sandwiches it is time to sew them together. 

At this point, it does not matter which side is which because they look exactly the same.

When sewing the “quiltlets” together, lay them back-to-back (wrong sides together) so the fringed seams appear on the front of the quilt.

Step 5

I lay out all my squares so I can make sure I like the pattern. Then using a 1″ seam allowance I sew the first row of squares together, followed by the second, etc. I sew all the rows together first.

I do actually pin the rows together. It is much easier. Then I sew the first row to the second row and keep adding the rows until the quilt is assembled making sure to pin the seams down.

Step 6

It will look similar to this when it is all sewn together. Once the whole quilt is together BEFORE cutting/clipping the edges (seam allowances), you will want to stitch around the entire quilt outside to make sure NO batting is showing.

This, too, will be about a 1-inch seam allowance making sure the seams are pinned down. Now you want to clip all the edges (be careful not to clip through the seams) about every 1” or less depending on your liking.

Step 7

Grab yourself a cup of coffee for this step. Turn on some music or watch a movie and let’s begin.

This is the time-consuming part.

Using a utility, heavy-duty scissors (Fiskars has the easy grip rubber handled ones, loves those, easy on the hands), clip all seam allowances almost, but not quite, to the seam.

Make clips 1/4″ — 1/2” apart approximately. This is what makes the fringed look.

Clip all the seams and around the quilt. 

Step 8

You will then put the quilt in the washing machine, full cycle, with fabric softener and a bit of detergent. Wash fully. Dry fully.

You will want to change the lint traps OFTEN during the course of drying. Once dry, fully shake the quilt good once or twice outside, removing any loose threads.

I have also been asked a couple of questions in the past. Let me answer them. 

What Is Best Size of Squares For A Rag Quilt

Rag quilting is feasible with 6″-10″ squares but ensure that there’s a seam of 3/4″ allowance. This lets in better binding.

What Material Do You Use For A Rag Quilt

Flannel fabrics are great for rag quilts. Alternatively, you can also go with quilt cotton for any part as a top fabric, front fabric, and backing fabric.

If you can’t have enough blankets like myself, learn how to make a Faux Fur Blanket by visiting this post.

Stay warm! 

Similar Posts


  1. I love "scrappy" quilts – – they are the best quick gifts!! And they hide a multitude of mistakes! I made one for hubby the last time he deployed. It had a ton of white squares and I ironed on pictures of the kiddos and I for him to have with him all the time!! – – – They have all since washed off 🙂

  2. An easier version of this quilt is this: one side is denim (cut-up old jeans) and the other side is flannel. NO BATTING! No quilting the pieces together! Stack a piece of flannel and jean, wrong sides together. Put two of those stacks together with the seam coming up on the jean side and sew a 1/2" seam. Continue like this, sewing rows and then sew the rows together. Then fringe like you did on yours. I have made tons of these with different variations (even including shirt and/or jean pockets!) ~ I don't know how to send you a picture. It looks so cool when it's done ~ very neat on the flannel side, and on the denim side the flannel colors show on the seams. Very warm too!

  3. I HIGHLY recommend spring-loaded scissors if you are going to make many of these. It helps a TON on the cutting the fringe! 😉

    Also, I made a diaper bag using the rag quilt diaper bag for my daughter. I think my squares were about 4" each. It turned out really cute and I still use it on occasion (she's almost 18 months old now, so we more use a small bag that fits a diaper/sippy instead of the entourage!) 😉

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Thankyou, this was so easy to follow. I made a blanket for my two year old out of his old cot sheets 🙂

  5. I just wanted to say thank you… Your web page helped me with my first Rag Quilt
    (Crib size)for my granddaughter. I am now in the process of my next one a small throw for my daughter’s birthday. Your page gave simple clear instructions and helped me with my yardage.
    Thanks again for being here for me 🙂

  6. You are so welcome! Thank you for reading and taking the time to let me know you used the tutorial for your granddaughter. It makes my day! 🙂

  7. I am almost one with my quilt for my one year old, I was wondering if you think it’s possible to put a minky backing on it? I’m not a fan of the back of my quilt, I haven’t quilted in years and it’s not too pretty back there. Thanks so much for the great tutorial and the inspiration to pull out my sewing machine again!

  8. Hi Leslie, You would have to cut the minky into slits to see how it looks and if it frays. If it doesn’t fray and you like the look it is fine to use. Good luck, and I hope your little one loves it!

  9. Welp, here goes. Very first rag quilt attempt. I was wondering how much it shrinks when you wash and dry? I will be using the same type of batting as you. Any help is appreciated. Yours is my favorite tutorial that I’ve found so far, though I will likely adjust for a queen size quilt.

  10. I have made a few of these in the past couple of years. I do a couple of things a little bit differently.
    I do wash and dry all my flannel before I use it. It’s just the way I learned, and then I know how big it will be in the end.
    Also, when making a baby quilt I use a third piece of flannel in place of the batting; it makes it softer and not so stiff. I have two baby ones ready to be cut, and then the giant one I’m scared to tackle!

  11. Also, just a thought. While some people have more of the perfectionist tendencies than I do, I am of the mindset that if I make a mistake then a) I can always take the seam out and try again and b)making mistakes is the best way to learn. I likely won’t make that mistake again. Plus it gives the quilt a good story. 🙂 That said, I have very realistic expectations that my quilt will not have anything close to a straight seam anywhere on it, but it will be loved and the next one will be better! That’s how I get over my DIY fears.

  12. Great perspective! It is definitely less intimidating taking on a project when you accept at the beginning that there probably will be imperfections. Honestly, even “professionals” have imperfections, but we are more critical of our own work.

  13. Hi. This looks like a very easy tutorial with pictures. I plan to make one in the fall for my oldest grandchild. Then one every year after for the next 3. I sew clothes for all of them now. 2 girls and 2 boys. These will make a nice gift that they will not outgrow!
    Thank you for the pictures and explanation.

  14. How hard would it be to do a king? Will I be able to sew it all together or will it be to big to fit in normal machine ? I really want to
    Ale one for my Bed? If
    It’s to big could I make like two twin sizes and then hand see those two together just trying to figure out how to do a 108″x108″ size

  15. For a no clip rag quilt the Go cutter has a rag quilt that cuts the edges as it cuts the squares. You see it together already clipped! How easy is that!!

  16. I’m making a 5 year old a quilt with 9 in blocks. Would the throw be a good size for her? Did you do 7 squares by 9 rows to get 63? Wasn’t sure if I should do that or 7×10. Thank you

  17. This is great. I’ve had some fabric for awhile. I just didn’t know what quilt pattern I wanted to use. Now I do. Starting it right now.

  18. If I am using 3-4 different patterened fabric would I divide the total amount (6.25 yards crib size) by the number of different patterns and then buy that much of each pattern of fabric??

Comments are closed.