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Stylish Baby Nursery: Scalloped Rag Quilt

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With most sewing projects, you spend a lot of time hiding seams and finishing all the raw edges. Well toss that worry out the window for this one! A rag quilt is sewn together so the seams show on the outside. After washing and drying, the seams gently fray or 'rag,'producing a very soft and cuddly feel. If you can sew a straight line, you can make this quilt. And, you can easily put it together in a single day.

The trick to a good rag is to choose cotton and other natural fabrics, which are more likely to unravel when washed and dried. Anything with a loose weave will work well. Flannel is always a favorite for rag quilts because it's soft to start with and rags up wonderfully.

Our sample was made for a baby girl's nursery, using Patty Young's Andalucia collection. There current collections available for your project are nearly limitless. Have fun mixing and matching to create your own look. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fabric for 20 top scalloped edge panels: 1 yard of 45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Kiwi Flora
  • Fabric for 8 of 16 top center square panels: ½ yard of 45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Earth Flora
  • Fabric for the other 8 of 16 top center square panels: ½ yard of 45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Petal Jester
  • Fabric for all 36 back panels: 1¾ yard of 45" wide fabric: we used a brown flannel with small pink polka dots that we found at our local fabric store – no specific designer was noted on the bolt
  • All purpose thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil or marking pen
  • Template plastic: this is available at your local fabric store – you could also use cardboard, but it's easier if you can see through it
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Ruler
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the three templates. Cut out the template shapes.
  2. Using the template shapes as a pattern, cut one Corner Scallop template, one Side Scallop template, and one 7" Square template from the template plastic.
  3. Position the Corner Scallop plastic template on the WRONG side of the Kiwi Flora fabric, and trace around the shape with a fabric marking pen. Repeat to trace a total of four Corner Scallop shapes. Trace the shapes as closely together as possible to minimize fabric waste. Using the Side Scallop plastic template, trace sixteen Side Scallop shapes on the Kiwi Flora. Cut out all the shapes on the drawn lines.
  4. Repeat step 3, but this time draw the two shapes on the WRONG side of the Brown and Pink Polka Dot Flannel, cutting four corner scallops and 16 edge scallops.
  5. Position the 7-inch Square plastic template on the WRONG side of the Earth Flora, and cut eight 7" squares.
  6. In this same manner, from the Petal Jester cut eight 7" squares.
  7. In this same manner, from the remaning Brown and Pink Polka Dot Flannel, cut sixteen 7" squares.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Note: Use a ½" seam allowance throughout.

  1. Match up your fabric pieces according to size and shape. You will pair each of the Brown and Pink Polka Dot pieces with corresponding Kiwi Flora, Petal Jester, and Earth Flora fabric pieces.
  2. Place each pair of fabrics WRONG sides together (fabric patterns facing out) and pin.
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  3. Stitch an 'X' through the center of each 7" square (This makes sure the fabric squares hold together through washing and drying. Without this step, your squares would like come out of the dryer looking twisted or puckered.). Do your best to stitch an 'X' in the scallop shapes, but don't worry if it isn't perfectly symmetrical.
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    Click to Enlarge
  4. With Brown and Pink Polka Dot sides together, place one 7" Earth Flora square together with one 7" Petal Jester square. Pin. Stitch along one edge using a ½" seam allowance. Note: The Petal Jester fabric is directional, which means the pattern of the fabric runs in a specific line. Be sure to keep the direction of this fabric consistent as you sew the quilt together.
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  5. Repeat step 4 to create eight two-square units.
  6. With Brown and Pink Polka Dot sides together, stitch two of the units created above to create one row of four squares. Be sure to alternate Petal Jester and Earth Flora squares. Repeat to create four rows.
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  7. With Brown and Pink Polka Dot sides together, stitch the four rows together along the long sides to create the Quilt Center.
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  8. With Brown and Pink Polka Dot sides together, stitch two Side Scallop pieces together. Repeat to make eight two-scallop units. Note: Be sure to stitch on the STRAIGHT SIDE EDGES ONLY - leave the curved scallop edge unsewn.
  9. Stitch two units sewn above together to make one long row of four Side Scallop pieces. Repeat to make four rows of four Side Scallop pieces. Remember, you're always stitching with the Brown and Pink Polka Dot sides together so your seams stand up.
  10. Stitch one Side Scallop row to side of the Quilt Center.
  11. Stitch a Corner Scallop piece to each end of the two remaining Side Scallop rows, making a six-square row.
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  12. Stitch these final two rows to the top and bottom of the Quilt Center.
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  13. Stitch around the entire outside scalloped edge of the quilt, using a ½" seam allowance.
  14. Using your scissors, make snips in the raw seam edges at ¼" intervals. Do the same around the outside edges of the scallops. Be careful not to cut through any actual seams.
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  15. Wash and dry your quilt to 'rag' the seams. Caution: this will leave a lot of thread and fabric pieces in your washer and dryer so don't forget to clean out your lint trap.

Hints and Tips

We didn't use batting in our quilt, and were very happy with its light weight. It's perfect to bundle up your baby without making her sweat bullets. Batting is that fluffy stuff placed between the quilt top and the quilt backing to add definition and weight to a quilt.

If you would like to use batting in this project, choose a lightweight cotton type for best results. You will cut a piece of batting for each of the quilt pieces. Cut each piece ½" smaller on all sides from the fabric version. So you will need sixteen 6" squares, four Corner Scallop pieces and sixteen Side Scallop pieces. Cut the Scallop pieces so that they are ½" smaller than the template on all sides. Then, as you match up all the pairs of squares (that's fun to say .... pairs of squares ...) in Step 2 above, sandwich a piece of batting between the top fabric and the back fabric. When you stitch the 'X' you'll secure the batting in between. Finish your quilt following the rest of the steps as-is.

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Heather Tucker



Comments (63)

ktf said:
ktf's picture
Did you use flannel fabric for all or just the backing? Does it turn out best if all fabric is flannel?
mamato4 said:
mamato4's picture
Thanks for the quick response. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something :-) I will def let you know how it turns out..hopefully as beautiful as yours! Thanks for sharing such a great tutorial!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi mamto4 -- you're right, that was too confusing. I just re-wrote and re-posted those steps. Thanks for the catch. Let us know how your project turns out.
mamato4 said:
mamato4's picture
I am just starting my cutting for this quilt and maybe I am completely silly or something but I cannot figure out the need for the 20 squares of the kiwi flora, as described in step 5. It's not indicated in the items you will need but in step 5 it says to cut 20 squares of that when isn't that print just used on the scallop pieces and the 7" squares are 8 each of the other prints and then the dot on the back?
ec34 said:
ec34's picture
My printer wasscaling the template for the corner scallop and the edge scallop down, but not the regular square.....thanks greg for the tip. It will help if I make another one. Thanks for your wonderful projects....you have such good ideas. I am doing pom pom pillows next!
greg.keene said:
greg.keene's picture
ec34: Be sure the window says it will print at 100% (DO NOT SCALE) when you go to print the PDF templates. Some printers try to reduce or scale.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Let us know how it works out for you. Again, sorry you had a problem, but I'm sure it will still look great.
ec34 said:
ec34's picture
I will try to download the templates again.....thanks for your response. I am going to try to trim down the center and make this blanket work...and then get the templates the right size. Thanks for your response.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
All your templates should be 7". I double-checked the originals and printed them out from the site as well to be sure. The square is 7" x 7" , the base of the scallop is 7". and the centerline of the corner scallop is 7". I'm so sorry you had a problem. But, rag quilts are forgiving - especially since you trim and fluff the seams. Try taking a slightly bigger seam with your center panel piece, adjusting raw edges to best match the center panel to the scallop row. Your raw edges will be off when you sew, but you can trim the one side back to even when done. True, your lines will be off slightly from scallop to square, but I think it will look okay. The border will match all the way around, and since it's a border, it's okay it's slightly different. If it's going to drive you nuts, you could re-cut the scallops at the 7" size, but that means more fabric. I bet if you just adjust to fit, and then get that border seam to be extra fluffy when you rag, it will look fine.
ec34 said:
ec34's picture
I tried to finish up this rag quilt today but I can't figure out what I did wrong. The scalloped edges don't fit my inner panel. The template for the inner squares is 7 inches, and the template for the scallops is only 6 1/2 inches....so when I sew my outer scallops together for the edge the inner squares don't match. Did I do something wrong? I used 1/2 inch seams like it said.
alicia.thommas said:
smilies/tongue.gif Sorry folks! The templates are now accessible. Thanks for commenting, thoothnana, and thanks also to those of you who emailed. We appreciate your quick feedback! -- Alicia Thommas
craftyreb said:
craftyreb's picture
I just finished my first quilt using this pattern and I love it. To save time and fabric I cut all the squares as 7" blocks with my rotary cutter. Next I sewed the top and back layers together with the "x." Then I used my templates to mark and cut the scallop pieces. The corner scallops actually only need a 6" square so when you're cutting those 4 pieces it's easier to cut them off the 7" tall row as 6" wide pieces then trim the extra 1" off the top. Thanks for such a lovely pattern and easy instructions.