Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Union Jack Rag Quilt Tutorial

Hello friends! I'm Lorene, and I'm an intermittent (self-invited) guest here at Housewife Eclectic (my blog lives over at just Lu, but I'm only there very intermittently between wrangling 3 kids and running my own virtual assistant business). 

Today I've invited myself here to take over so that Debra can take some time to rest and snuggle with her cute girls. And I have a tutorial for a cute and snuggly baby gift so that you can feel snuggly, too!

Sew a Union Jack Rag Quilt

First off, I must give credit where credit is due. This tutorial would not be here today without this fabulous Moda Bake Shoppe tutorial by Lynne of Lily's Quilts. When I decided I wanted to make a union jack rag quilt for Debra and her new baby, I started scouring the internet, certain that someone must have done it before me. I didn't find much (maybe my Google-fu is rusty) but when I found Lynne's tutorial, it was like choirs of angels singing. Her tutorial is for a shabby chic wall hanging, but I was able to use her dimensions and process to figure out how to make the rag quilt I was dreaming of. 

Okay, now let's get started! If you've made a rag quilt before, these instructions will be pretty easy to follow. If you haven't made a rag quilt before, you just have to know and remember that rag quilts use double (or more) layers of fabric, and that the seam allowance shows on the *front* of the quilt -- that's where the raggy snuggly part comes from. 

Sorry for the crummy phone-camera pictures taken in my untidy craft room... hopefully they are illustrative and better than nothing!

  • 3 yards each of red, blue, and white flannel, prewashed! I even used vinegar in with mine to help set the dye so the red wouldn't bleed onto the white, so hopefully it works!
  • rotary cutter and mat (not required but strongly recommended!)
  • thread
  • sewing scissors with a sharp tip
  • a piece of butcher paper or newspaper, cut to 28" x 16"
Cutting the fabric
When you get to sewing, you'll be using two layers of flannel together, so you can double-up and cut the pieces in doubles or quadruples or whatever your heart desires. 

Cut BLUE --
  • 8 - 14"x21" rectangles, and then cut the rectangles in two diagonally, corner to corner
Cut RED --
  • 8 - 33"x5" strips
  • 4 - 29"x6" strips
  • 2 - 38"x6" strips 
Cut WHITE --
  • 8 - 31"x2" strips
  • 8 - 31"x3" strips

Sewing the quilt
Use ¾ inch seams. After you finish each seam, rather than pressing like you would with a normal quilt, just tug gently on the seam to open it up a little and help the pieces line up right. 

Remember, each quilt "piece" is two pieces of fabric laid together and acting as one, and the top of the rag quilt is the WRONG side, where you'll be able to see the seam allowances. 

Start by laying out your blue triangles.

Lay the white strips on top of the blue triangles where they will be sewn together -- you'll have 8 sets of white strips, 4 thick and 4 thin. You can consult the diagram here to see specific details of which strips should go where. Leave the tips of the strips overhanging on either end, so that you'll be able to cut them to be square with the edges of the triangles. 

The best method for me to get things straight was to lay the white pieces on top of the blue triangles that they should be attached to, and then move them to be behind the blue triangles when I picked them up to sew them together. Hopefully that makes sense. That kept it so that I knew which pieces went where, but that the seam allowance was on the top side of the quilt like it should be. 

Sew all 8 sections, white strips sewn to blue triangles, replacing each section back where it belongs as you sew it, so nothing gets lost or out of order. 

Trim the white strips to be square with the edges of the blue triangles. 

Lay out and sew a 5" wide red strip to each of the thin white strips, leaving the larger portion of the overhanging red "tail" to the outside corner, since that is where you will need it. 

Lay out your piece of butcher paper (cut to 28"x16") and align the square corners of each blue triangle section to the corners.

Now, this is the trickiest part of the whole thing. To determine how wide the red stripe down the middle needs to be, turn up the diagonal edges of both pieces. Keeping the corners lined up with the piece of paper, stand the white diagonal edge up 3/4 of an inch, to be your seam allowance, and match up the red stripe at either corner and pin. (The red will be wider than the white.)

Then, holding those two pinned corners together, flip the fabric so that the blue triangle sections are laying wrong sides together, so you are ready to sew the red-to-white seam and finish up one quadrant of the flag. 

Sew a seam allowance 3/4" from the edge of the WHITE strip, and trim the excess red seam allowance.

Repeat this for each of the four quadrants, and trim the excess red and white strips (square with the edges of the rectangles) so that you have four equal 28x16 pieces like this.

Sew each of the shorter remaining red strips to the lower quadrant section of one of the halves.
Trim the outside edge to square, and sew the red strip to the top quadrant, lining up the outside edges to square. Trim the red strip overhang on the inside edge, so you have one full rectangle half of the flag quilt. 

Then take the remaining long red strip and sew it to one half of the quilt, and trim the top edge to square. Sew it to the other half of the quilt. Bonus points if you line up the crosses and diagonals so that they match up (which I didn't but it's not noticeable on the front... just the back :)

Sew a quick 1/2" or 3/4" inch (either is fine) around the outside edge of the quilt.

Now, the long part: snipping all of the seam allowance! Using your sharpest scissors, snip along all of the seam allowances, including the outside edge, about 1/2" or 3/4" between cuts. This gets a little messy :)

Once all of the seams are fringed, shake the quilt really well (outside is best for cleanup, or lack thereof) and run it through the washer and the dryer to properly fluff all the of the fringe. I recommend using vinegar to help set the color or a color catcher sheet, just in case the red dye decides it would like the white flannel to be pink...

Total cost: I matched a sale with a percent-off-everything coupon at JoAnn's so all of the fabric only cost me about $20! Love that :)

Now I just need to make one for myself so I can be properly snuggled while watching Doctor Who and Sherlock and Pride and Prejudice!

Happy (fingers crossed) sewing,

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of 3 kids and wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She happily shows up here at Housewife Eclectic whenever Debra allows, and occasionally blogs on whatever topic comes up over at her blog, just Lu, when she has time in between projects and her awesome job as a virtual assistant. 
Post a Comment