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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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  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)

Loganw said:
Loganw's picture

New to ragging. Will it stop fraying after the wash? I want to make a carseat cover using this technique but want to make sure that it will not be constantly dropping thread on him.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@Loganw - It will probably take more than one washing to completely stop the effect. It really depends on the type of fabric you're using. You might want to send the finished covered through the wash two or three times prior to putting it on the carseat. The more you launder a rag quilt, the softer the seams become - so that's an added benefit !

PrincessAlly said:
PrincessAlly's picture

This is great. Im making this for a co-workers granddaughter. Ive been sewing a few years but this will be my first time with this pattern. Thanks

BethNorred said:
BethNorred's picture

did you get yours to print out correctly at 7" SQUARE.. i CANT get it to print to size.. it isn't 7" square

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

@ BethNorred - we have tested all the patterns again using two different in-studio printers and they all print at exactly 7". If your printer is set to print at actual size, it should work correctly. Troubleshooting computers and printers long distance is tough as there are so many system and software variables. All we can insure is that they do print correctly when printed actual size. However, the patterns aren't super complex; you could draw your own 7" x 7" sqaures and then follow our drawings to make your own rounded top for one and rounded top and point for the other. Sorry for your frustration. 

Emblady03 said:
Emblady03's picture

I have printed out the templates by clicking  on the underlined link and printing them.  The 7" block is not 7" but approx. 6.75" as well as the other templates where they would be connecting.  I have a new Dell laptop with all the newest software on it so can you tell me how I can get the template to be 7".  I did not see anything about downloading it.  I have never made a raggy quilt but thought this would be nice for a friend's baby but I need to get moving on it since we will see him on Thursday, 1/30/13.  I hope that we can get this fixed quickly.  I even measured the printed block and added the necessary amount all around the block to make it 7".  My main concern would be the other two templates match and I even added around each of those; however, I am not sure this is he right thing to do.  It should be easier than that.  I have template plastic that I can put through my printer so if I could get the right dimensions, I could print it.  I don't want to waste my template plastic if its not and it would be bette than tracing it onto it.  Thanks, in advance, for you assistance and quick response.

BethNorred said:
BethNorred's picture

hey, ok, i done everything you said to do. and as far as the Scale 1x1 is PERFECT, but the paterns do NOT measure 7".. guess i need HELP.. love this pattern, just not sure how to do this

Leoni said:
Leoni's picture

so excited to see this pattern! I came up with a pushchair cover a while back using squares of denim (from old jeans) a a piece from a fleece blanket that had rag seams like this, and I get so many comments on it. Can't wait to try this out, doing it 'properly', and with the scalloped edge!

AnnR said:
AnnR's picture

I have made this several times now and just love it.  The scalloped edge is such a fun twist.  Thanks for the pattern!

Heidi J. said:
Heidi J.'s picture
Okay Thanks! I'm new to this so I'm never sure if I'm suppose to "pre shrink" the fabric or not. I'll try post a picture when I'm done smilies/smiley.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
@ Heidi J. - For a rag quilt, rather than pre-washing, I think it is best to wash and dry several times when you are all done with construction. That's why it's the last step in our tutorial.
Heidi J. said:
Heidi J.'s picture
Okay great! Thank you! One last question... do you pre-wash the fabric?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
@ Heidi J. - Ours is cotton on the front and flannel on the back. Flannel is often suggested for rag quilts because it will fray and ravel (in other words - "rag") so nicely. But regular woven cottons will work... you may have to launder it a few time to really get it going. Have fun!
Heidi J. said:
Heidi J.'s picture
I am so excited to try and make this quilt. I found some awesome fabric that I'm going to use but then I thought oh goodness did I buy the wrong "type" of fabric. I bought just regular print fabric. Not flannel, will that work? Thanks!!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
@ Lizzie Moon - I'm not 100% sure I understand the question. It sounds like you've been very careful and I'm sure your seams are great. Remember, with a rag quilt, you want the fabric free from the seams to fluff up or "rag". The last step is to go around all the scallops with a line of stitching 1/2" from the scallops' raw edges. This is so the "rag" has a finished seam to stop against. You just want the edges to rag so you need to have that last seam line as a stop point. I hope that helps.
Lizzie moon said:
Lizzie moon's picture
I made the quilt and it turned out beautifully. I had no problem with the directions until I got to the scallops. I measured making sure I only sewed them together on the straight sides not the curved but when I finished it seemed that the seams should have been a bit longer. Could you clarify this part and how the outside stitching goes around the scallops.

Thank you for the beautiful pattern!
CalicoCarousel said:
CalicoCarousel's picture
A tip for collecting all the thread, lint and fabric pieces when washing a rag quilt....toss in a piece of netting or tulle. Cheap and easy. One-half yard is plenty for a child-sized or lap quilt. (BTW, this works great for pet hair on towels, etc. in the regular laundry too!)
5ewHappy said:
5ewHappy's picture
I am also having a problem with the templates. The square is 7" but the other 2 are a little less than 7 inches. I selected print actual size on my printer. Is there something else I should do? Maybe I can increase the size of thetemplates myself but I would feel better if I could print them out correctly. Also the green fill=in color takes a lot of ink. I think it would be better if the inside of the templates were left blank or just filled with black and white lines or squares.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
@ Mrs D - Glad you are having fun with this tutorial. The Minky would be a cuddly choice, but you're right, it won't rag. I would suggest using two layers of flannel on the top to get a good rag. Make the entire top by itself with the two layers of flannel -- the second layer won't show much, other that at the seams, so it could be a simple solid color. Then cut out your Minky for the back, using the finished top as your pattern to follow the scalloped edge. Sew front to back with an opening to turn. Turn, press, pin together across the face of the blanket and then run a few vertical seams through all the layers to keep them from shifting... These quilting seams need to be sewn CAREFULLY along the edge of your top seams .... you need to carefully run along the sides of the seams because you don't want to stitch down the raw edges - they need to be free to rag. You could also skip the scalloped edge and just make a square rag quilt. That's a quick solution. Hope it helps.
Mrs.D said:
Mrs.D's picture
First of all, thank you for this wonderful pattern! I just finished one of these (my first quilt), which came out great! I was curious if you thought it would work out if I used a minky fabric for the back and a flannel on top? Or maybe like not sew the minky seams up into the "rag" part or something...? Thank you for your time, I love your site! smilies/grin.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi again coutlow -- no special feet are needed. If I use a specialty foot for one of our projects, I will usually put that in the supplies list. Your standard foot will be fine for this one.
coutlow said:
coutlow's picture
Okay great!! one more question, did you use a special presser foot to make this quilt? smilies/smiley.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi coutlow -- Yes, you could use only cotton and no flannel. It will be a very lightweight blanket as this design does not have any batting between the layers. But the cotton should still rag nicely. Flannel adds a softness and it does rag the best of all the wovens. But, it is always nice to have a very lightweight blanket. If you want both sides to be cotton - you should do just that smilies/smiley.gif
coutlow said:
coutlow's picture
Hello, I know that this was posted a couple of years ago, but I am just getting into sewing and have some friends that are having babies this summer and I wanted to try to make a blanket. I have a question though, can you use all cotton fabric and no flannel? thank you!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi Emhika -- Sorry you're having trouble. I tested all the download templates, which are .pdf files, this morning and they are fine. Do you have the latest version of Acrobat? If not, it's free and you can download it here:
Ms Martha said:
Ms Martha's picture
That answers my question. I sewed mine down but it won't be a big deal to rip a few stitches out smilies/smiley.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi Ms Martha ... I'm not 100% sure I understand your question about the "flaps were the corners meet" -- do you mean where the seam allowances come together? If so, no -- don't stitch those down, they are part of the raw edges that will rag-up. Is that what you meant? If not send me an email via our contact form and I'll try again.
Ms Martha said:
Ms Martha's picture
When sewing your finished rows together, do you sew down the flaps where the corners meet? lovely instructions and design. Cannot wait to try this one out.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi Mama of 4 -- Yay! Glad the bumpers turned out. Our rag quilt is cotton on the top -- flannel just on the back. Cotton will rag up, it just won't be as dense as flannel. And... the more you wash it, the more it frays. It's nice to add a bit of flannel, but don't worry if you don't have the scraps to do that. Also, no need for a fray check border. Have fun.
Mama of 4 said:
Mama of 4's picture
I had a quick question! I have used your wonderful tute for baby's crib bumper and after completing baby's entire crib set, I wanted to use scraps for this rag quilt! But, all I have left is cotton fabric. How would cotton "rag"? Should I worry about fraying on the edges? I was curious if I'd have to use liquid sew or fray block around the edges, first? Thanks so much in advance!
banndit1 said:
banndit1's picture
Hey guys thanks for all the feedback. I was smart enough this time to read all the comments before I started (thank god) so I am good to go. Thanks everyone for all the info! Here I go my first rag quilt.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi kmlabay -- YAY! Your first project. That is so awesome. Congrats. We hope this is the first of many. I bet the quilt becomes your son's favorite smilies/wink.gif
kmlabay said:
kmlabay's picture
I just finished my son's rag quilt, it was my very first project, so it isn't perfect, but it is still cute.. I didn't use the scallops, since it is for my 3 yr old son, but will use them if I need to make one for a little girl..
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hey there, craftyreb, congrats on your first quilt! We're honored you chose one of our projects for your maiden voyage. And, thanks for your suggestion on time and fabric saving cutting.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Congratulations, javadiva. Send us a picture - I'd love to see how it turned out. Good for you! Now ... on to the next.
javadiva said:
javadiva's picture
I finished mine! This is my first completed quilt!! Thank you for the inspiration and tutorial!
I used a layer cake (10" pre-cut squares), 2 different flannels for a checkerboard back, and the even feed foot. I did not do the scallops, but I love those and if I make this quilt again, I will try them. I love the weight and the softness of this quilt, I did not use batting. I feel this is already heavy enough.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi javadiva - you don't need a special foot at all. A regular quilt, which traditionally is made with 1/4" seams, would be made much easier with a 1/4" foot (which the Janome MC6600P does have) so you could keep all your seams just right. But our rag quilt doesn't use a 1/4" seam, it uses a 1/2"; your standard A foot is perfect. Have fun with the project.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi ktf -- yes, you should stitch a 1/2" seam all the way around the scalloped edges of the completed quilt. You will then clip your scallops (but don't clip the seam) so these outer edges rag.
ktf said:
ktf's picture
K one more! Don't you have to sitch the edges of the scallop so it does fray all the way? Just do a 1/2 inch stich around the rounded part?? Thank you for all your help!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi ktf -- no apologies necessary!

You don't have to backstitch your Xs, because those seams will be secured when you stitch the squares together. Plus, you want the edges to rag, and backstitching could leave a little stiff part. Good luck, so glad you're giving this project a go!
ktf said:
ktf's picture
Thank you! I am off to get fabric to make this for my friends new baby!!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Hi ktf -- our rag quilt uses flannel on the back and cotton on the front. As you can see from the main photo, it ragged up quite nicely and the cottons are so much more vibrant. However, you can certainly use flannel on both front and back, and it would be even a bit more fluffy. The only thing to avoid are fabrics that don't rag at all, the synthetics, like fleece, polyesters, etc.