Making a Rag Quilt: A Quick Step-by-Step Tutorial

Are you thinking about quilting something charming and cozy this winter? You should think about making a rag quilt!

No, they aren’t truly made of rags. This quilt earns its name because rather than sandwiching the seams inside the quilt like usual, they are sewn in a manner that exposes them on the outside of the quilt. The exposed fabric seam allowances are snipped to promote fraying, and the finished result is a soft quilt with raggedy edges! Machine washing makes those edges softer.

Colorful Rag Quilt Photo via Fussy Cut blog

A quilt-as-you-go technique is used to make rag quilts. This makes them an easy sew and appropriate for beginners and also experts who are looking for a quick weekend quilting project. On this type of project, all of the quilting is done on the individual squares before they are joined together rather than wrestling with a large quilt during the regular quilting process.

Other benefits of rag quilts? Basic quiltmaking skills, like rotary cutting and machine piecing, can be learned or practiced during the construction. There is no binding on this quilt since the edges are frayed, and that makes the project quite less intimidating.

For a general overview on how to make your own, follow along with this fast and fun making a rag quilt tutorial!

Fabric and Batting, Rotary Cutter

Step 1:

Gather supplies. Each block consists of two squares of fabric with the same dimensions (top and backing fabric) and a square of batting or flannel that measures approximately 2” less than the other fabrics.

I am using a 6.5” square a quilting cotton, a 4.5” square of batting, and a 6.5” square of dot minky for the backing (my personal favorite).

Layering Fabric and Batting

Step 2:

Create a quilt sandwich out of those three pieces with the right sides facing out and the batting centered in the middle.

Step 3:

Use a longer straight machine stitch to quilt two straight lines, from corner to corner, creating an X. A walking foot is extremely helpful here!

Joining the Quilt Blocks

Step 4:

To join blocks, layer two quilted blocks together with wrong sides facing each other. Sew along one edge with a ½” seam allowance. This leaves the seam allowances exposed on the right side of the fabric. Continue joining blocks in rows. Once rows are completed, join them together in the same manner (wrong sides facing together with a ½” seam allowance). Nest seams together to make the rows easier to sew together.

Step 5:

Now all of the blocks are joined together with the seams exposed on the top of the quilt. To finish the edges of the quilt, simply stitch the entire way around the outside of the quilt with a straight or zigzag stitch.

Step 6:

Time to grab your scissors! Carefully snip the fabric in the seam allowances, making cut marks approximately ¼” away from each other. You will be snipping through two layers at the same time. Be careful not to cut too close to the stitches! Snip all the seams the entire way around the quilt.

Once finished, toss the quilt into the washer and dryer to soften up the raggedy edges and remove those pesky threads. There you have it, a finished quilt!

Now that you know how to make a rag quilt, check out the fabulous collection of rag quilt patterns available from indie designs right here on Craftsy!

And if you’re new to quilting, sign up for the FREE mini-class Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Skills with Gail Kessler. When you enroll, you’ll receive four fun quilt patterns plus the skills you need to turn them into quilts that will be treasured for years to come!

Have you made a rag quilt before? Do you have any tips to share?


Ruth Elaine Hurley

I clip all around the outside edge also and it fringes.

Ruth Elaine Hurley

I clip all around the outside edge also and it fringes.

Ruth Elaine Hurley

I clip all around the outside edge also and it fringes.

Ruth Elaine Hurley

I clip all around the outside edge also and it fringes.


Since you quilt as you go and see wrong sides together, does that mean you have to sew the front sides together and then sew the back sides together? If not, how are both sides sewn together for the finished quilt?


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