Wrap up your favorite someone in this incredibly snuggly rag quilt with its special “secret admirer” heart appliquéd onto the bottom row. “What’s a Rag Quilt?” We were hoping you’d ask! A rag quilt is sewn together so the seams show on the outside. After washing and drying, the seams begin gently fray or rag, producing a soft and cuddly look and feel. The more you wash and dry it, the fluffier the rag becomes. Our quilt is made from ten different Woolies Flannels by Maywood Studio in patterns and tones we thought were very guy-like and so qualified the quilt as a potential boyfriend/hubby/dad/son/uncle/grandpa project. Truth be told… all the women we showed it to were ready to snap it up and take a little nap, so we think it’s a perfect everybody project.

The trick to a good rag is to choose cotton and other natural, loose weave fabrics, which are more likely to ravel when washed and dried. Flannel is always a favorite. The Woolies Flannel collection from Maywood Studio has dozens of colors and patterns from which to choose. To get a look similar to ours, use the layout template below to see how we laid out our 10 different flannels. This guide also shows you how much yardage is needed of each.

Traditionally, flannel requires pre-washing, sometimes we even do a double pre-wash. The exception is for rag quilts. Unwashed flannel is crisper and easier to work with, and it rags better when washed at the conclusion of the project. We do recommend the first wash and dry be done with a “color catcher,” such as Shout’s Color Catcher Sheets. The sheets help catch any dye that might migrate.

The first time you launder the completed rag quilt, you’re likely to leave a lot of thread and fabric pieces in your washer and dryer so don’t forget to clean out your lint trap.

The quilt finishes at approximately 60″ x 60″.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • Fabric for 73 squares (36 front and 36 back, plus 1 for the heart appliqué), we used 10 different Woolies Flannel patterns. See our swatch key and layout plan below for our mix-and-match specific yardage recommendations.
    NOTE: Each square is cut at 11″ x 11″ – you can use this measurement to figure your own cutting plan. In general, we found if you’d like to cut two or three squares from one particular fabric, get ¾ yard; if you’d like to cut four or five squares from one particular fabric, get 1 yard. 
  • Thirty-six 9½” x 9½” squares of lightweight natural batting
    NOTE: We gave the dimensions needed rather than yardage because batting comes in a such huge variety of options: from pre-cuts in standard bed quilt dimensions to bolts at 34″, 45″, 90″ and 124″. We bought 2½ yards of 45″ wide batting.
  • All purpose thread to match fabric for construction
  • All purpose thread in a contrasting color for the “X” quilting stitch on each square
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil or pen
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sharp scissors (for clipping edges to rag)
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Straight pins

Click to Enlarge

Getting Started and Template Download

  1. Download and print out the one template sheet: Rag Quilt Heart Template.
    IMPORTANT: This template is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the template along the solid line.
  3. Following our guide above or your own design, cut thirty-six 11″ x 11″ squares for the front, thirty-six 11″ x 11″ squares for the back, and one 11″ x 11″ square for the heart appliqué.
    NOTE: We used one fabric for all the back squares, which is the easiest and looks quite nice. If you want to be extra fancy, you could mix and match fabrics on the back as well as the front. Just be aware this can make it hard during assembly to remember what’s front and what’s back.
  4. Using the pattern, cut out ONE heart shape. Set aside.
  5. From your batting, cut thirty-six 9½” x 9½” squares.
  6. Following our layout plan or your own, make fabric sandwiches for each square. Your sandwich starts with one back square placed on your work surface WRONG side up, followed by one square of batting on top of that, centered carefully so there’s ¾” of back fabric showing all around.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Finish your sandwich with one top square placed RIGHT side up.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Make thirty-six sandwiches in this same manner. (Is anyone besides me a little bit hungry?)

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Thread your machine with the contrasting color thread in the top and bobbin (we used a dark red).
  2. Stitch an ‘X’ through the center of each square sandwich, stitching from corner to corner. This holds the fabric layers together through washing and drying.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Re-thread your machine with the seam thread (the thread that matches your fabric; we used a light tan) in the top and bobbin.
  4. Following our layout pattern or your own design, take the first two squares of your first row and pin them, BACK sides together, along one edge.
  5. Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance. Your raw seam should be standing up between the squares on the FRONT.Click to Enlarge
    NOTE: Some patterns may directional. If this is true of any your selections, be sure to keep the direction of the fabric consistent as you sew the quilt together. And be sure to keep all lines within any pattern straight and square.
  6. Take the next square in your first row sequence and attach it in the same manner to the two-square unit you just completed. Continue until you have one six-square row.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Make the remaining five rows following the same steps.
  8. When all six of your rows are done, the next step is to stitch them together. To do this, take your first and second row and place them BACK sides together. Pin in place along one long side, being careful to line up all the individual seams so your corners come together at a nice point.
  9. Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance.
    Click to Enlarge
  10. Repeat to add rows three, four, five and six. Remember, you always start with backs together so your seam will stand up and show on the front.
  11. When all the rows are complete, stitch around the entire outside edge of the quilt, using a ½” seam allowance. Remember to pivot at all the corners.
  12. With a pair of sharp scissors, make small snips at ¼” intervals along ALL the raw seam edges in between the squares (yep — that’s a lot of snipping; there are 60 sections to clip).
  13. Do the same around the entire outside edge.
    NOTE: Be careful not to cut through any actual seams with your clipping.
  14. Find the heart shape you cut out above. Thread your hand sewing needle with a color of thread that matches the heart but will stand out against the fabric you selected for the back of the quilt (we used dark red again).
  15. Center the heart on the fourth square from the left on the bottom row. Pin in place. Hand sew, using a simple running stitch, close the the edge through all layers (the cut edge of the heart remains raw). Your stitching will blend with the heart on the front of the quilt but will show through on the back of the quilt as a heart outline (ahhhhhhhhhhhh… that’s sweet).
    Click to Enlarge
  16. Wash and dry your quilt to rag the seams and the edge of the heart.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Heather Tucker

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1 month ago

I’ve made one before but I was wondering whether you could make it without the battling, for an ultra light-weight blanket?

Liz Johnson
Liz Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jan

Hi Jan – you certainly could. Flannel may still be your best choice.

Lillian Dooies
Lillian Dooies
1 month ago

Love this! Thank you for the easy to understand tutorial. Would this method work for a tee shirt quilt? Do you have a tutorial for a tee shirt quilt?

Liz Johnson
Liz Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Lillian Dooies

Hi Lillian – T-shirt material doesn’t fray, so the exposed seam idea would be “okay” – but wouldn’t have the pretty, soft effect that cotton or flannel provides. We don’t have a t-shirt quilt project, but they are easy to find from other sites. We do have a t-shirt pillow project: https://sew4home.com/keepsake-t-shirt-pillow-with-knotted-corners/

5 years ago

Love Love LOOOOOVE this Quitl

Love Love LOOOOOVE this Quitl!! Thank you for Tutorial!! I see an early start for Christmas gifts ahead!!! 😀

Patty W
Patty W
5 years ago

Do you know of an online

Do you know of an online store that sells these woolies flannel fabrics?  I really like the color combination you have here and I’m not very good at coming up with my own combinations.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a store near me that sells woolies flannel.

5 years ago

Thanks for the wonderful rag

Thanks for the wonderful rag quilt tutorial.   I’m going to add a few more red hearts and make for my granddaughter.  

5 years ago

I love, love, love this! Can

I love, love, love this! Can’t wait to make one. I’ll make one for a gift, but first I will make one for myself. 

5 years ago

I made t-shirt blankets for

I made t-shirt blankets for my sons for Christmas. My daughter didnt’t get one because we couldn’t really find t-shirts she liked….. but this…. she will love! Thanks so much for the inspiration. I cant wait to see it on her bed. 

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