Sewing a Rag Quilt

after cutting the background squares

after cutting the background squares

Yesterday I have cleaned up my wardrobe and found some old Jeans… so I thought I must immediately start trying to sew a rag quilt… I already saved some denim fabrics from my daughters jeans too and some other clothing and upholstery/ decoration fabrics. Because I deceided to use heavy fabrics for the back side, I don’t use any lining/batting. 01a_the fabrics

First step was cutting 6.5″ squares from all these fabrics. For the front side I mixed several fabric leftovers and single fat quarters I thought I wouldn’t use for other projects. I also used some fabrics I got from a friend who has given some fabrics to me because she moved and had too less space for it in the new flat. I ended up with two fabric piles – I thought making a quilt which has 11 blocks in each of 15 rows (appr. expected size is 60×80″ / 150×200 cm) – 165 pieces each:


fabrics for back & front

fabrics for back & front

The first step of making a rag quilt is combining a front fabric with a back fabric and sewing two diagonal seams – fabrics – wrong sides together. To make it faster I started today with chainpiecing the first diagonal… on top here a lovely Tula Pink fabric.

first diagonal is sewn

first diagonal is sewn

After that I chainpieced again to add the second diagonal.

added a second diagonal

added a second diagonal

Even now it is time to decide which squares should be connected to rows… I laid all the squares following the colours to look which squares fit together:

ready to sort for the rows

ready to sort for the rows

I tried different layouts on the floor an made a pile at the end to connect the rows. I sewed the squares together wrong side on wrong side so that the 0.5″ seamallowance shows up on the front.

06_building rows

In this way I built 15 rows – each from 11 squares:07_rows

All that took a bit more time I expected – and so I wasn’t able connecting all the rows today. But the first five rows are sewn together:

first five rows connected

first five rows connected

I didn’t care how the different background fabrics were combined – it is looking like that so far:

backside I hope I am able to join the rows tomorrow afternoon when I’m home from work… I’m looking forward to snip all the seam allowances!

Although the quilt isn’t finished after I all in all  invested 10 hours work – the cat already loves it!



Als ich gestern meinen Kleiderschrank aufgeräumt habe, stieß ich auf ein paar alte Jeans und habe mich spontan entschieden einen Rag Quilt zu nähen… Man benötige Stoffe für die Vorderseite und Stoffe (z.B. alte Jeans oder Hosen, aber auch Dekostoffe, die man sonst nicht verwendet) für die Rückseite. Da ich mich für dicke Rückseitenstoffe entschieden habe, habe ich auf ein Futter verzichtet.  Jeweils 165 Stoffquadrate (ca. 16 cm) für die Vorder- und Rückseite habe ich zugeschnitten. Jeweils ein Vorder- und Rückseitenstück werden links auf links zusammengelegt und mit zwei diagonalen Nähten miteinander verbunden – damit das schneller ging, habe ich zuerst die eine Diagonale bei allen Teilen genäht (als Kette genäht), dann die andere. Anschließend können die Quadrate direkt zu Reihen verbunden werden – dabei werden sie so mit 0,5 Inch / ca. 1,25 cm Nahtzugabe zusammengenäht, dass die Nahtzugabe auf der Vorderseite erscheint (also Rückseite auf Rückseite) – die Nahtzugabe werden dann am Ende eingeschnitten. Dadurch krinkeln die Nahtzugaben beim Waschen dekorativ zusammen, was den typischen Rag-Quilt-Effekt gibt. Leider musste ich nach insgesamt 10 Stunden Arbeit an dem Stück (aus Rücksicht auf die Nachbarn) nach dem Verbinden von fünf Reihen aufhören… ich hoffe, dass ich die restlichen morgen nach der Arbeit schaffe und dann abends mit dem Einschneiden der Nahtzugaben beginnen kann – soll ja ein schneller Quilt werden. Die Katze fühlt sich allerdings jetzt schon wohl darauf!




  1. Wow that was a lot to do in one day! I like the back, even though it isn’t as colorful. This should be fun when you are finished!

  2. I have friends who have made several of these rag quilts. So far, I’ve been able to resist the urge! Yours is looking good; hope you get to complete it soon. Meanwhile, I think you’ve got a very handsome cat (but I’m sure he/she is already well aware of that!).

    1. Thank you Sue, it is my first attempt and collected old jeans for a while … at the end I added some other fabrics for the backside now to finally start with it.

  3. It’s looking very good already! You’ve got great combinations going in the colours. What a job to mark all the diagonals before you stitched them, or did you do it by eye, without marking?

    1. I have to admit I just eyeballed it… I aimed to get the rows connected today (Sunday) evening… but I had to give up after five rows at 8 pm – out of consideration for the neighbors below me.

      1. I’m very lucky in that respect, there is only our garage under my sewing room! But I do understand running out of time – too many cakes, not enough sewing in the last few days, and I’m worried about not getting my last F2F block for Susan done in time before we go away…

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