Quilting Blog

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?



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?


I’m with Ginny. If you back your rag quilt with fleece (does not fray) do you sew the top pieces with the wrong sides together and then sew the back (fleece) pieces together with the right sides together??? I’m lost here!

Cheryl Dinnin

There is no right or wrong side to this kind of quilt. The top and bottom layers of each block are sewn together as one. Just be sure when sewing blocks to each other and rows to each other that all seam allowances are showing on the same side of the quilt. The other side will have no seam allowances.

Cheryl Dinnin

I snip each seam as soon as sew it. That way my hand doesn’t ache as it did when I left all the snipping to the end on my first rag quilt. I also often bind the quilt with a single-fold flannel binding or a double-fold cotton binding on a flannel rag quilt. If I bind a rag quilt, I do not snip around the outside as I do if I’m not binding it.


Is there a certain way to cut flannel material for a rag quilt? LOF?


I often use flannel for the backing and batting in my rag quilts. I wash my flannel first because it tends to shrink alot.

Linda Smith

What loft of batting would you suggest. I am using flannel God my squares.

Jess C

I’ve made these with two layers of flannel and didn’t put any batting inside. It turned out great and heavy enough.


I bought flannel to make this .. Glad to see your post

L. Adams

I also use denim and flannel with no middle. Denim frays beautifully.

Connie Montgomery

You don’t clarrify the number of squares per row. Also for beginners , you need to explain about right and wrong sides o the blocks. If I overlooked this I apologize for my comment.


How many squares per row? Depends how big your squares are and what size quilt you are making. For Example: If you were making a 40″ square baby quilt, with 10″ squares, you would need 4 rows across and 4 rows down. This is approximate since there are seam allowances. I have made rag quilts with 5″, 6″, 8 1/2″, 10″ and 12″ squares. The creativity is endless.


I agree. Are both right and wrong sides fringed? I have no idea and I’m a beginner.


Would you be able to place reference pictures from steps 4-6. For those who are new to sewing might find this difficult to follow witout a frame of reference. Thanks ☺


Why no pictures for the remaining steps? That would be so very helpful.


I have been trying to figure out if the batting should be sewn into the edging or if you only want to sew together the front/back pieces when making the edge. In your example, you cut the batting two inches smaller than the front/back pieces, which suggests to me that apart from the “X,” there would be no additional sewing that includes the batting. If this is correct, could you also confirm that the batting won’t bunch up and cluster towards the center of each “X?”

Thank you in advance!! Been trying to figure this one out for a ridiculously long time with no luck online elsewhere.


Goodness. Seems to me a lot of questions for some really clear instructions. Size- make it as big as you like. Batting is on the inside and held by the original X. On the “back” the seams are all flat, so here it will be the soft pink stuff. The “front” is the colourful blue cotton which will have all the open seams showing the front and back stuff, snipped to fray. The batting is not near the edge because it is a smaller square between the bigger front and back squares. Sorry seems obvious to me when you read all the instructions through. Never sewn one though so will be giving this a try.


I don’t agree with you Chris, for a beginner it’s not clear enough . Those of us who have made quilts or clothing it would be enough. But as someone who has taught sewing and quilting to others, I feel there needs to be a bit more clarity on how the squares are joined and how the back will look as squares are sewn together.
Goodness, it seems to me this is not enough instruction for a beginner .


You are correct I’m a beginner thank u

Dee Spencer

Why not just find another tutorial (there are 100’s) and compare?


Have made several and love this technique — be careful with washing the first few times. I jammed my washer with threads so now i wash for a few minutes then let settle (use a strainer to get out some of the threads from the wash water) then allow to wash again. The shedding will stop after the first few washes.


Instructions are clear to me. Thanks for taking the time and effort to post this FREE tutorial.


How does the minky fabric hold up over time? I was told the minky on the “rag” edges would fall apart and become non-existent. Thanks

Patricia Luchini

I found if you use old jeans I had to do two seams 1/2 inch in sewing the squares together. The first quilt didn’t hold in all places. I believe the jeans were to heavy.

Marguerite Taitano

Seems like she got a bit defensive when asked to post more pictures, that’s hardly a good teacher. Yes there are other tutorials where you can get a better understanding of what to do.


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