It dawned on me the other day, while doing what felt like my gazillionth rag quilt, that I have learned a lot about sewing and quilting through these blankets. Of course, I can’t learn anything the easy way. All the helpful hints I have picked up along the way have been a result of a huge mess. Can anyone picture me buried underneath a rag quilt with a seam ripper? Cause that was about the extent of it. So, I thought I might give you a little heads up about some sewing/ quilting tips that I have found to be especially helpful while.
1) Pick your flannel wisely. I have bought a very cute print only to find that it was printed VERY crooked on the fabric. The design was looked like “)” this. You can imagine my frustration.
Remember the monkeys? I ended up hand cutting each block out and tilting the them sideways just to try to make this cute fabric work in the rag quilt. As you can see I was able to save the quilt, but it took way to much aggravation to do so.
2) Press fabric before beginning, on the “dry” heat setting and use spray starch. Flannel is most commonly used in rag quilts and it is very, very easy to stretch it out of shape.
3) Use a walking foot while sewing all parts of your rag quilt. I think I paid less than $20 for mine and it has become an invaluable tool for sewing rag quilts along with many other sewing projects. You just cannot sew flannel with out it. Remember, I said it was stretchy.
4) When quilting blocks for a rag quilt the best way I have found it to quilt an “x” on each one. Maybe you are all much more talented than I am, but I can not quilt a straight diagonal line if my life depended on it. The idea of marking lines on each block makes me my hand ache in agony, so I cheat a little. I use a piece of paper as my guide to make it straightly to each corner.
5) When you are sewing your rows together, to avoid bulk and ensure perfect seams, butt your fabric together. Pin on each side of the seam.
6) Spring- loaded scissors are your friend. Especially if you end up having 4 baby quilts to do in a matter of a month for 4 expecting moms.
7) It is a good idea to throw in a color catchers when you are washing any kind of quilt. Red flannel may or may not have bleed all over a rag quilt I just spent way too long working on. (tear, tear)
8) This one is the purely a preference, but wash it at the laundry mat. It is not that big of deal, take a book, relax, and sit there knowing that you didn’t have to risk messing up your washing machine by stuffing it in there and the lint from the blanket isn’t going to kill your dryer.
Rag quilts are a lot of fun, and really aren’t that hard. I have just found that these tips help me get more professional result with the least amount of frustration and time.
Did I miss anything? I would love to hear any tips you might have.