How to Make a Rag Quilt to Preserve Your Memories
When it comes to my boys, I save everything. I have their first lock of hair, all doctor’s summaries from their first two years of life, crib sheets, pictures they have drawn…. you name it, I have it. I’m not sure if the boys will want these things when they are out on their own, but if they do want something specific, I am sure I will be able to give it to them.
The only things that I saved with a purpose in mind were some special baby clothes, baby blankets and t-shirts. I knew that one day I would use these things to make each of them a quilt...and I have done just that!! Both of my boys love the quilts that their mama made for them!! James wanted a rag quilt (below left) and Tyler wanted a regular quilt (below right).
The rag quilt is really pretty simple to make. If you can keep the blocks lined up and sew some straight lines, you'll have your quilt complete in no time! Here's how I did it...
- Old t-shirts, baby clothes, blankets, or whatever you want to add to your quilt
(I used old baby blankets for the filler and the back of James' quilt. For Tyler's quilt I used an old comfy sheet for the back)
- Flannel or other material for filling
- Sewing items (scissors, sewing machine, ruler, thread, etc.)
1. Cut all the pieces to the size that you want them to be. Since I had some smaller shirts and baby clothes that I wanted to use I pieced those together to make them the size of the biggest shirt blocks (see below).
2. Next, lay out the blocks until you come up with the pattern that you like. Make sure that everything lines up.
3. Cut the pieces of the flannel or batting, etc. to make the filler. I had saved all the boys baby blankets so that is what I used. I only used one layer in between the front and the back, however, if you want a thicker blanket, add more layers (remember that you will also need a back layer). The first picture below is creating the filler and back layers and the second picture is the completed back.
4. For the back of the quilt, I used both baby blankets and t-shirts. Put all the layers together and then sew each block from corner to corner. (For Tyler's quilt, I added yarn to tie it together instead of sewing corner to corner. This was the last step I completed and will put a picture of this at the end of the post).
5. Once all the blocks have been sewn corner to corner, start laying them out in the pattern that you came up with in step 2.
6. Start sewing the blocks together. For the rag quilt, they need to be sewed with the backs together about an inch from the edge (this allows for the “rag” look that we will create after sewn) and in rows. (For the regular quilt, sew with the fronts together).
7. I chose to cut the “trim” as I went along. About every inch or so cut down to the stitching being careful not to cut through the stitching. You can also wait until the quilt is completely sewn to do this. I just found it easier to do it as I finished each row.
8. From this point, keep sewing the blocks together into rows and then sew the rows together.
9. Once your quilt is together, sew around the entire edge of the quilt. When you have finished this, cut the “trim” again around the entire quilt.
10. Lastly throw the quilt into the washer and dryer to create the “rag” look and enjoy! Below you can see James and Baxter enjoying the new rag quilt.
**Regular quilt - Tyler wanted a regular quilt instead of a rag quilt. The instructions for a regular t-shirt quilt are the same except that you sew the fronts together instead of the backs to have a clean seam. Also, for his I added yarn to tie it all together, instead of sewing corner to corner. In the first two pictures below you can see the red yarn that I used. The last picture is the completed regular quilt.
This is really a fun project to do. I hope you enjoy taking some memories and making them last in the form of a quilt!
If you do decide to make your own rag quilt, please add pictures of your completed quilts in the comments below.
Have fun and enjoy!!