Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quilting - How To Make A Rag Style Quilted Table Runner

I just love to spend time in my sewing room and one of the things I enjoy making are rag style quilts, table runners, dresser scarves, pillows and wall-hangings. I love the 'country-style' feel with rag quilts! If you are a beginner quilter or someone who is just learning to sew, this is certainly a great beginners project. Before you get started, please read through all of the steps/directions involved.

Supplies Needed:

1 yd. Cotton Fabric - Primary Color
1 yd Cotton Fabric - Secondary Color or Print
1 pkg. Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
Rotary Cutter, Ruler and Cutting Mat
Sewing Machine and Basic Sewing Supplies
(optional) Fiskars Rag Quilt Snippers (like scissors but use for cutting the fringe)

Cutting The Fabric: I pre-washed my fabrics to remove sizing. I then ironed them to remove wrinkles. Using my rotary cutter and cutting mat, I cut 22 (6") fabric squares from my Primary Color of fabric. From my secondary color (print fabric) I cut 20 (6") fabric squares. You will need 2 squares of fabric per quilt block. From my Warm and Natural Cotton Batting, I cut 21 (5") batting squares. Note: Your cotton batting squares need to be a minimum of 1" smaller in size than your fabric squares.

Sewing Your Quilt Squares: You will make fabric block sandwiches by layering a piece of cotton batting between two of your fabric squares. Place a straight pin in the center to hold your 'sandwiches' together. Once your sandwiches are together, its time to sew your blocks (right sides of fabric facing out). Start in one corner and sew a straight stitch to the other corner. I leave a 1" space at each corner. You will then do this from corner to corner on the other side until you have sewn an X in the center of your sandwich fabric square. Do all of your squares in this manner until they are done.

Table Runner Assembly - Lay out your quilt blocks in your desired pattern. I decided to do 3 rows by 7 rows (see photo). Using 5/8" seam allowances (some people use 1" seam allowances) Place 2 quilt blocks right-sides together and straight stitch them together. I chose to do my horizontal rows first which consisted of 3 quilt blocks each. Once I had my horizontal rows together, I then I connected them all together by sewing my vertical rows. You now have a rectangle and all blocks are together. Finish up your sewing by sewing around the entire table runner using a 5/8" or 1" seam allowance.

Note: While attaching my rows to one another, I like to press open my seams using an iron...that is up to you if you want to do that step or not. I think it makes your sewing easier and your quilt will look nicer.

Fringing - I found the best tool for cutting all those seams to make the fringe. It is made by Fiskars (tm) and is called a rag quilt is a lot easier on your hands compared to scissors. You will want to snip all of your seam allowances without snipping into your sewing line. I like to snip/cut every 1/8" of an inch because the smaller your snips/fringe...the better your fraying will be.

Washing and Drying - Once your table runner is finished, wash and dry it twice using laundry detergent and fabric softener. The fabric softener will help it to fray even more and make it softer.

Warning: The first few times you wash your rag quilt table runner, you will need to clean your washer and dryer lint traps every few minutes to keep them from getting clogged. I set a little timer for 10 minute intervals so that I am constantly checking on them and cleaning the traps. You don't want any fires! After the first 2-3 washings, your quilted table runner will quit shedding and you can wash and dry it normally.

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