Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Chevron Rag Quilt

My second quilt ever is done, and all my kidlets are as pleased as punch!  If you're here for the first time, you missed seeing the pinkalicious rag quilt I made for my daughter, so I hope you'll take a look-see right here.

My son, who is 7, was not going to be down with anything even remotely resembling a baby quilt.  And I, having just finished little sister's quilt with 100 blocks, was looking for something fast and simple.  With that in mind, I attempted to make his quilt as big-boy-ish as I could and use fewer, larger sized blocks. My design inspiration: chevrons.  Those trendy zig-zags are so popular right now, and paired with some cool "big boy" colors, I knew I had a winner.  So I got out my sketch book and came up with a not-quite-perfect-but-definitely-easy method of making a rag quilt with chevrons.

I made 3 major deviations from little sister's quilt:
  1. Rectangle shaped blocks arranged in a brick-like pattern.
  2. Some frayed seam allowances are shown on BOTH sides of the quilt.
  3. Did not "square-up" the perimeter of the quilt.
The first deviation saved my sanity by allowing me to cut out a mere 72 fabric rectangles--as opposed to the 200 squares I had to cut for the first quilt. (let's not even mention the batting, OK?)  The second deviation helped to break up the striped fabric that dominated the back of the quilt.  The third deviation just saved me a ton of time.  Plus, my son thinks the jagged edges are "just like lizard spikes" and that's pretty cool to a 7 y.o. boy.

Check out some pics of the finished project and keep scrolling for the tutorial:

Here's the front.
The short sides of the rectangles have frayed seams on the front side.
Here's the back.
The back side displays the fraying in the long seams.
My inspiration?  Check out these quilts from my pinterest "quilts" board:  

Source: via 

Source: None via Rikka on Pinterest

There are a lot of great rag quilt tutorials out there.  I listed 4 tutorials in this post.  I made this chevron quilt slightly different from the norm, so I thought I'd offer you a brief explanation of how I put it all together.  

Here's my list of supplies:
  • 34 rectangles of fabric for the back----7" x 13"
  • 34 rectangles of batting----------------6" x 12"
  • 34 rectangles of fabric for the front-----7" x 13"
  • coordinating 100% cotton thread
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
Because this design requires a precise arrangement of fabrics, I laid out everything on the floor.  After each sewing step, I returned everything back to the floor, ensuring nothing got switched around.

Remember, you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.  

These pics show how to create your fabric-batting-fabric sandwiches.
  • Left pic: Lay out the fabric of the back, wrong side up.
  • Center:  The rectangles of batting are centered on each piece.
  • Right pic:  The rectangles reserved for the front are placed on top of the batting, right side up. 

These pics show the three stages of sewing.
  • Left pic:  Each sandwich is pinned and quilted.  I quilted a simple X in each rectangle.  
  • Center:  Stitch together the adjacent short sides of each rectangle.  I grabbed one row at a time and made it so the raw edges of each seam were visible on the front side of the quilt.  After all this stitching was done, I had 9 long strips of varying lengths.
  • Right pic:  Stitch together the long strips.  I made these seams so the raw edges would be visible on the back side of the quilt.  I thought I was being very careful, but still managed to reverse one of the strips.  At least it wasn't one of the longer strips in the middle!  

These pics show the quilt all sewn together, before the snipping and fraying of the raw edges is done.
  • Left pic:  I fixed the mistake and this is what the front looked like after all the seams were sewn.
  • Center:  This is what the back looked like.
  • Right pic:  This shows the front side.  The short sides of the rectangles have the raw edges of the seam allowances in view.  The raw edges of the long seams are visible only on the back side.
  • Not shown:  I stitched a double row of straight stitches all around the perimeter of the quilt .5" from the edge. Then, I snipped all the raw edges about every .25", being careful not to cut through the stitching.  The last step was to machine wash and dry twice.  The resulting frayed edges were soft and fluffy.  Cool, eh?  
  • The finished dimensions are roughly 52" x 52".

Little sister was my photographer's assistant!

Big brother likes how his new quilt matches his Cub Scout uniform.  
In conclusion, I'd like to mention a few things I've learned so far about rag quilting:

  • The cutting can be a tiny bit wonky:  You can play a little game of give and take with the seam allowances if the blocks don't come together perfectly.  I cut all my blocks using a regular ruler and some scissors, often cutting through multiple layers at once.  That method made for some less than precise cuts, but it all worked out in the end.  Cutting mats and rotary scissors are cool, but I don't own any (yet!) and did just fine.
  • Denim is a superb fray-er:  The denim frayed so well after only one washing that I am slightly concerned it may eventually unravel right out of the seam.  I'll have to keep an eye on it.  Should you decide to use denim in your rag quilt, I'd recommend a double row of stitching OR a narrow zig-zag stitch over the straight stitch to strengthen all the seams with denim.
  • Hindsight for making better chevrons:  If I could do it all over again, I would have ditched the stripes and just stuck with solids.  Also, the chevron design could have been reinforced with some creative quilting.  Meaning, the quilted X's didn't help the chevron concept.  If I could do it again, I would quilt it like this:

I am so pleased you took the time to read through my little crafty journey!  I've got a lot more creativity in store for you all, so stay tuned!  I hope that while you are here at Ricochet and Away!, you will check out The Solids-Only Tote Challenge here.  This is a sewing event hosted by me and Keren from sew la vie.  Our Retro Pillow Challenge was a smashing success and we hope to make this new challenge even bigger!  We are currently accepting participants.

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,
this is my craftgawker photo!


  1. Another fabulous quilt! Well done on finding a way to make a boyish one! I love the idea of the chevrons! Very creative!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  2. Great colour scheme for a boy. Love the lizard spikes!

  3. It looks beautiful! Great job!


  4. Fabulous post! Great job. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  5. very pretty love the color and pattern come see me at

  6. Oh very cool!! I like the colors and the ragginess! Plus that shape makes it really fun too. Very nice!

  7. I love this! I make "Rag" projects, too. I love this pattern design!

  8. The 2nd rag quilt I made, 8 years ago, had every other square out of denim. Its been washed countless times and never frayed beyond what it was supposed to. Your quilts are gorgeous.

  9. Wow, that is really impressive. I am a huge fan of chevron too. Love the quilt it is so on trend. Thanks so much for linking your mix of modern and traditional to Motivated Monday at BeColorful

  10. gosh!! thats stunning!! another fabulous quilt.. so so lovely!!

  11. What an amazing post...just love how the quilt came to be and your little bits at the end...especially the hindsight info.

  12. Great quilt! I love the zig zag borders. I made a similiar quilt once and I had to go back and sew a LOT of the seams due to the fraying. It had been a gift for my dad... kinda embarrassing to have it returned to me a couple of times in the first year to fix it. Definitely I would aslo recommend the double stitching!

  13. Great tutorial! i will have it for this winter, thanks for sharing.

  14. I've been meaning to comment on this quilt for a while. I love it! It's so modern and has a very "home" feeling to it. I love the colors, I am a big fan of reds and blues together. I love the chevron / brick look. And there's just NO WAY craftgawker won't accept your photos. Would you be willing to send me photos of the quilt and I could try to enhance their brightness/contrast so you could submit them? They're great as is but you know how craftgawker are O_O

  15. Beautiful. Just discovered your blog and I love it. I'm a new follower. Hope you stop by and check out my blog. I also have a link party every Monday. Would love for you to stop by and link up.

  16. What a gorgeous quilt. Your son must be really pleased with this one, not girly at all. Thanks for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  17. I love this pattern design, thanks

  18. I really like it. Thank you for sharing.

  19. I like your layout. I have quite a lot of old denim jeans ( never throw anything away) and this is a good pattern and chance to use up my stash. Thanks .

  20. Love the pattern! Could you tell me the yardage?

    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting! Sorry, I never figured out the yardage.


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