Friday, July 8, 2011

Making a Rag Quilt - Part Four

Sewing the Squares Together

I got my first sewing machine two years ago from Craigslist. It had an unfortunate run-in with some vintage chenille and was never the same. I donated it to a charity garage sale, and a woman named Heaven bought it. That made me laugh because that machine gave me nothing but H*&%!

My next machine was from Craigslist also, a Singer Model 384. It was a fine little machine, but it could not stand up to the rigors of rag quilting. Sewing through all the layers, especially denim on denim, requires some power. A no frills machine is fine, no computerized options are necessary, but it needs some oomph.

My second machine, on the floor next to the dog bed, awaiting a new home.
Then I got my new machine. While I still make some bone head sewing mistakes, it is so wonderful to sew without jams, skips and whining, the latter coming from me.

My new Janome HD1000!

Ready to put the rag quilt together. The first row is sewn together just as it was stacked together. Picture the whole thing laid out on the floor, that is how it will be sewn. 

The first square in your stacked first row...

...will be sewn to the edge of the next square...

 ...on down the line. You can pin these together if you like, but it's not necessary if you keep the stack in order.

The seam allowance can be as wide as you like but definitely more than the typical 1/4" in regular sewing. Some raq quilters use a huge 1" seam allowance, but I think that looks like the tail wagging the dog. I use the far right of that hole as my guide, which is between 1/2" and 5/8".

Start sewing the squares together, the top of one to the bottom of the next.

Keep it consistent, and make sure you sewed all four layers. If they are not all even, that's OK, as long as you have all four safely in the seam.

One row done, seven more to go.

Now to sew the rows together. It will go together just like you laid it out.

You can pin the corners, but I don't. I got tired of being poked. I just line them up and adjust them before they go under the foot.

 It's a match.

 It will look horrible on the one side, that is normal.

Depending on whether I plan to sell it or not, I may or may not let this go. On a memory quilt? Well, no one was perfect. For Squared Up? Maybe I should have named my business Close Enough!

Definitely a tear out, that looks really bad! But I just tear out the corner itself, not the whole row. Then I just force it to cooperate.

Sew row 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 6 to 7. Then sew the three parts together and you are done, with the rows. But one more step.

Sew around the entire edge with a slightly larger seam allowance, it will help balance the appearance of the Xs on the side squares. Now you are done, with the sewing part at least. The next part? The dreaded snipping process.