Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sewing Project #1--Baby Rag Quilt

I talked about my sewing table makeover a few weeks back (you can check it out here if your interested) and since then I've been super excited to get going on a simple but cute sewing project...one that would help me gain some confidence in the sewing department and so, I endeavored a rag quilt.  I opted to do strips of fabric as my first one not only because I thought it seemed a little easier but I think they are really cute. So if you are new to sewing and are looking for a good place to start--this is it!!  Here is my rag quilt tutorial:

In order to take on a project such as this--or any sewing project probably, you will need these basic tools: a rotary cutter, a long cutting ruler, and a cutting mat (there is probably fancy, more accurate names for these things but I think you'll get the jest). You might be able to get by without them, but honestly, I don't really know how! To me, they are a necessity!! Lucky for me, my mom sews and forewarned me about this and even got me the mat and rotary cutter for my birthday!! Thanks mom!!
Oh yeah, and of course you will also need the fabric of your choosing; I chose three different coordinating flannel patterns for my quilt (I've heard flannel fringes superbly).   I bought a yard of each fabric but I didn't use it all.  You could probably get away with 3/4 yard of each and then even have a little left over for a burp rag or two.  I just wanted to make sure I had enough (in case I messed up)!  After you have all your material--just started cutting. My mom always told me to wash and dry the material before cutting but while reading some blogs, they suggested foregoing the washing step on this project and so I went with it and it turned out just great. One less step is always nice to me but you could probably go either way. Now, back to the cutting, I wanted mine to be all different sizes of strips so I just played around with different sizes ranging from 3-6 inches long. After I cut my strips I laid them on the ground to figure out their placement and to make sure I liked the length and width of my blanket.
Now, while I did my cutting I placed two of the same material (backs to backs) on top of each other--this way, when I was cutting through them, I got a two for one deal. This made it easier because I wanted the same pattern on front and back and so when I laid them down they were already front and back ready. Hopefully that made sense--here is a picture below of the front and back so that you can kind of see what I mean:
After your placement is all good to go, get your sewing machine out and ready and let the fun begin!! Doesn't my new sewing machine look BEAUTIFUL on my refurbished sewing table?? LOVE IT!!
I did have to re-thread my machine--which meant getting out my book and figuring it all out all over again. Remember, I did say I was a super newbie at this, and I meant it!! It was good practice for me though--if I really want to know what I am doing, I can't be scared of stuff like threading my needle and my bobbin (which I had to do during this project as well)! And yes, I did take a picture of me threading my needle--I'm hoping that one day I can look back at this and laugh at my novice sewing days--when I am a PRO of course!!
Now, onto the sewing--make sure that you put the two back sides of two different strips together when you are sewing! On my project, it didn't really matter because I went the easy route and made the back and front the same. But, if you are more daring than I and want a definite front and back be careful to place back sides together before sewing.
Then, of course, sew it! I left about 1/2 of an inch for the 'raggy' part. I used my sewing foot as a gauge for me. If you want puffier/fuller, fringe or slimmed down fringe then just adjust as necessary.
Here is my project after I have put a few of the panels together-
And, just keep it up until all the panels have been sewn together--making sure that the backs are always facing each other before starting to sew.
Now, when I finished up with all my panels I noticed that one side of my blanket was nice and even while the other was all jagged and messy looking. You can't leave your quilt like that can you?
Use your handy, dandy ruler and cutter and trim off all the excess. It was a little sad for me to see all that work getting thrown out like that but I knew it was for the greater good.
Now you've got to sew all around your blanket making sure that you leave the same amount of 'extra' material (1/2 inch in my case) as you did with each panel of the blanket. When I got to the sections of extra material during my outside edge sewing I just flapped each one down toward its own fabric and kept on sewing. I am not sure if it really matters but it seemed to work just perfect for me. Here is a picture for you to better understand what I am talking about:
And an after shot of it as well:
Now, the sewing is COMPLETE--but you are far from done!!
Here is where the real time consuming part comes in!! THE CUTTING! I cut at about an 1/4 inch increment all around my blanket. Just make sure that you come close to the seam but do not cut the seam. Luckily that didn't happen to me--I assume that would be bad!! Sooo, just don't do it. Also, make sure that you take some breaks while doing this--your cutting hand will definitely need it. In fact, I read somewhere about a cutting glove and thought that seemed kind of silly, but I think if I continue to make these and especially if I want to make a big one, those that might be worth looking in to.
LOOK--I finally finished all the cutting!! Phew!!!
Now onto the washing and drying! After washing it I shook it out and tried to discard any free-flying thread pieces that I could get my hands on but then I just stuck it in the dryer and check out how cute it came out--
And here is a picture of the back (no fringe side). I know it looks exactly the same...minus the fringe. But, that is what I was going for this first time around--simple, easy, and so so cute!! I think this is a winner!!!


Sandie said...

Fabulous Job!!! That turned out adorable. You sure don't look like a newbie. ;)

Charissa said...

I think it is perfect. I love the material you picked out!

Heidi said...

So cute Marce!!

Kimberly @ The Brown Eyes Have It said...

I love those materials! So very cute!! Way to go, excellent first project!

Alexis @ we like to learn as we go said...

This is adorable! I love the giraffe theme. Baby blankets are the best! I should really start working on one for my daughter coming in 3 months. I would love for you to link it up to my link party. I know my readers would love it too! http://weliketolearnaswego.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-i-learned-wednesday-1.html

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