A Rag Quilt for Baby — tips for beginners!

A rag quilt for baby

My big high school reunion is coming up . . . 25 years!!!  It seems impossible that it was that long ago.  I loved high school and had the time of my life.  My home town and school were super small with only about 30 kids in the 1990 graduating class.  On the flip side, it meant we got to be involved in everything — every sport, thespians, music — you name it we did it!  In my junior high school all the girls took home economics and all the boys took shop class.  It wasn’t optional and that’s how it was.  Knowing how much I love renovation now, I wish I could have taken shop back then.  But because of my home economics classes and some private instruction from my grandma and mom, I did learn to sew a straight line (sometimes) with my sewing machine.

Over the years I’ve done various sewing projects.  Most have been Halloween costumes for the kids — they’re so much cuter home made!  But with Regan’s little baby boy coming, I wanted to make a baby quilt for him.  Something soft, cuddly and made with love.  If this is something you want to try, I’d highly encourage it!  If you can sew a mostly straight line, that’s the only skill you will need!

There are lots of videos on YouTube that give great instructions for making rag quilts from minky fabric.  The few that were most helpful for me are referenced at the bottom.  But, there are a few tips that I want to share for anyone doing this for the first time.  These are things that I definitely will incorporate if I make another quilt in the future.   With five children, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of grandbabies that will need baby quilts from Gigi!

1)  Minky fabric is fairly heavy.  I thought I needed to have lots of fleece between my squares to give it warmth.  Not SO!  Two layers of fleece with two layers of minky (front and back) means eight layers of fabric to sew through in some of the seams.  This is hard for any machine and leads to some not-so-nice words coming from any seamstress’ mouth.  I would recommend only one layer of fleece AT MOST!  It would be perfectly sweet and soft to leave out the fleece all together.

2)  If you plan to order your fabric online — Fabric.com has a great tool to help you see what your swatches will look like together.  Also, when you pick out one fabric, it shows coordinating fabrics below.  This really helps in planning five, six or seven fabrics for your blanket.

fabric swatches

3) When making your sandwich squares use the same fabric for the top and bottom.  Some quilts have a different pattern on the top and bottom, and if you have lots of experience making quilts this is not an issue to lay out and plan.  For any beginners, though, keeping the fabric the same ensures that you don’t have two of the same fabric pieces together on either side of your quilt.

cutting squares

Cutting squares with same fabric for top and bottom

4) Make sure that the nap of your minky fabric is laying the same before you cut your squares.  Some of mine didn’t get lined up correctly when I cut them, and I realized this before sewing the seams so I was able to fix them.  BUT this led to the edges not being exactly straight — which drove this perfectionist crazy.  For the straightest edges, ensure your fabric nap is correct before you cut. This just gives the whole blanket a softer feel as you rub your hands across it — all of the minky nap lays the same way.

sewn pieces

pieces sewn together before “ragging” the edges

And that’s it for my tips for beginners.  Have you made a quilt or rag quilt?  What tips would you share for beginners — and me????  Now — here’s the baby doll I planned this for!!!!  Welcome Chevy Aaron!  He was born on April 28th and weighed 7 lbs  2 oz.

Chevy

And here are a few more newborn pictures and mom, Regan!

Regan and Chevy

Regan and Chevy

Chevy

Most helpful videos: Beverly Fabrics and Fleece Fun.  Check them out!

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