Indian Hatchet Rag Quilt Pattern

  • 01 of 07

    Indian Hatchet Rag Quilt

    How to Make a Rag Quilt
    Janet Wickell

    We have to admit that we're becoming a little tired of making rag quilts from squares and rectangles. Don't get us wrong—we love all rag quilts, but it's time for something a bit different.

    The traditional Indian Hatchet quilt block was a logical choice for a rag quilt. Its triangular areas aren't too small and fussy, and the block is easy to sew using quick piecing techniques. The Indian Hatchet rag quilt isn't difficult to make, but it is important to stay organized as you work so that like-areas are easy to find when it's time for final assembly.​

    Rag quilts are warm and cuddly, especially if you include a middle, or batting, layer. We prefer to use flannel batting for rag quilts, because it isn’t as thick as a regular batting and because it remains stable in the finished quilt, just like any other fabric. Quilting stitches aren't required when flannel (or other fabric) batting is used.

    Flannel frays nicely, making your ragged edges a bit more lush than they would be if you either omitted the middle layer or used quilting cotton in that spot. Do keep in mind that a middle layer adds more weight to the quilt, and the larger the quilt, the heavier it will be. Omit the batting layer if you prefer.

    Be as careful as possible when you stack and sew fabrics, but try not to worry too much about perfection. Rag quilts provide comfort, and you’ll find that people are not afraid to actually use them, something they often hesitate to do with our overly fussy quilts. Rag quilts are perfect for snuggling up with on a chilly night or taking along in the car when you travel in wintry weather.

    You’ll find that it’s easier to sew multiple layers accurately when you use a walking foot, also called an even-feed presser foot, but a special foot is not required. Mine had gone missing when we assembled this quilt, and although it does have some bobbles, it’s warm and comfy and not terribly mismatched.

    If you've never made a rag quilt, be sure to become familiar with rag quilt basic instructions before you begin. You might also consider making our easy four-patch rag quilt first.

    The Indian Hatchet rag quilt finishes at about 55" x 73" as shown. Add borders to the quilt to increase its size.

    Take a look at the reverse side of this rag quilt—it's made from very different fabrics.

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  • 02 of 07

    Indian Hatchet Rag Quilt Yardage Requirements

    Rag Quilt Patterns
    © Janet Wickell

    Fabric Yardages – Front of Quilt

    For Central Blocks

    The term central blocks refers to the 24 Indian Hatchet quilt blocks that make up the six rows that form the central (rectangular) portion of the quilt.

    • Fabric A: Medium scale light brownish print for latticework within quilt’s interior — 2 yards
    • Fabric B: Light neutral fabric to contrast with Fabric A — 1 yard
    • Fabric C: Green fabric darker than Fabric A — 3/4 yard

    For Outer Row of Blocks

    These Indian Hatchet blocks surround the central blocks, acting as somewhat of a border.

    • Fabric D: Dark brown print for latticework — 2 yards
    • Fabric E: Gold print to contrast with Fabric C — 3/4 yard
    • Fabric F: Black print — 1 yard

    Fabric Yardages – Back of Quilt

    You’ll need the same yardages for the back as for the front of the quilt.

    You can use the same fabrics on the back of the quilt as on the front, or choose a totally different color scheme. Our quilt is backed with fabrics in shades of rose pink, tan and chocolate brown. We felt the brownish shades were a natural for our quilt, and that the hint of rose and pink would add a little color and contrast to the frayed edges on the front.

    Flannel Yardage for Batting

    5-1/2 yards

    Choose a single color or use several colors to add variety in the frayed edges. We used an off-white flannel for the batting of our quilt.

    Buy additional yardage if your flannel fabric is less than 44” wide.

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  • 03 of 07

    Cut Patches & Begin Assembling Quilt Blocks

    Rag Quilt Pattern
    © Janet Wickell

    Cut Fabric for Block Fronts

    Fabric A
    • (24) 10” x 10” squares

    Fabric B

    • (28) 6” x 6” squares

    Fabric C

    • (20) 6” x 6” squares

    Cut Fabric for Block Backs

    Backing Fabric(s)
    • Cut the same sizes and numbers used for block fronts (repeating the same color scheme or using your own fabric choices)

    Cut Flannel Batting

    Matching the edges of your front and backing fabrics is somewhat easier when the flannel patches are slightly smaller than front and back patches.
    • (24) 9-7/8” x 9-7/8” squares
    • (48) 5-7/8” x 5-7/8” squares

    Assemble the Central Blocks

    When sewing a rag quilt, it can be challenging to remember that we place wrong sides (backings) together for sewing, the opposite of the alignment that we’re accustomed to.

    Sew 1/2" seam allowances when joining blocks.

    1. Place a 10” x 10” medium scale print square right side down on your sewing table. Center a 9-7/8” x 9-7/8” piece of flannel on top of the square. Top off the stack with a 10” x 10” backing square positioned right side up. Repeat to create 23 more identical stacks.
    2. Mark a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the right side of each 6” x 6” light neutral square. Using your rotary ruler as a guide, mark another diagonal line one-inch past the first (Figure 1).
    3. Repeat, marking the right side of every green square with the same two diagonal lines. Use a light marker if necessary to make marks visible on a dark fabric.
    4. Place a 6” x 6” backing square right side down on your sewing table. Center a 5-7/8” x 5-7/8” flannel square on top of it and then add a marked light neutral square, right side up. Repeat to stack all light neutral squares with their batting and backing.
    5. Stack all green squares with their batting and backing the same way.
    6. Align a neutral stack in one corner of a 10” x 10” stack, backing sides touching and positioning the marked lines as shown in Figure 2. Notice that the shorter marked line is nearest the corner of the stack.
    7. Sew a seam on each marked line (Figure 3). Take the block to your cutting mat and align your rotary ruler so that its edge is half-way between the two seams. Cut apart at that spot (Figure 4).
    8. One half of your Indian Hatchet block is now complete. The section you cut away is a half-square triangle unit that can be used in another project. You’ll have 96 of the units when all blocks are complete, enough for a border or to create either a wallhanging or throw pillow covers to match your rag quilt.
    9. Repeat, sewing a green stack to the opposite corner of the 10” stack. Cut apart as before and flip the corners of the block open. You should see ragged edges on the front of the block and finished seams on its back.
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  • 04 of 07

    Assemble All Central Indian Hatchet Quilt Blocks

    Rag Quilts
    © Janet Wickell

    Every Indian Hatchet block placed in the central portion of the rag quilt is assembled in the same way, although corners are configured in three different arrangements (Figure 5). Make the following quilt blocks:

    • Four blocks with two green corners
    • Eight blocks with two light neutral corners
    • Twelve blocks with one green and one light neutral corner (including the first block you made using instructions on the previous page)

    Once you’ve made a block or two, and are comfortable with the process, you’ll find it’s much faster to prepare all of the stacks and chain piece them by feeding one block after another through the sewing machine for the first seam, and then cutting the strings between them in order to chain piece the blocks again for the second seam.

    Slice the corners off after sewing both seams of a corner in order to create those 'ready made' half square triangle units.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Make Blocks for the Outer Edges of the Rag Quilt

    Rag Quilts
    © Janet Wickell

    Cut Patches for Perimeter Blocks

    Fabric D: dark brown
    • (24) 10” x 10” squares

    Fabric E: gold

    • (20) 6” x 6” squares

    Fabric F: black

    • (28) 6” x 6” squares

    Backing Fabric(s)

    The same sizes and numbers used for block fronts.

    Flannel Batting

    • (24) 9-7/8” x 9-7/8” squares
    • (48) 5-7/8” x 5-7/8” squares

    The perimeter Indian Hatchet blocks are sewn in exactly the same way as the central blocks, but in two different fabric combinations (Figure 6). Mark all small squares on their front sides as before, and pair all squares with their partners using the same method as for the first 24 blocks. Be sure to continue sewing stacks together with backing sides touching. Make:

    • Four blocks with two black corners
    • Twenty blocks with one black and one gold corner
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  • 06 of 07

    Assemble the Indian Hatchet Rag Quilt

    Learn to Make a Rag Quilt
    © Janet Wickell
    1. Arrange blocks in eight rows of six blocks each (Figure 6).
    2. Sew the blocks in each row together with a 1/2” seam allowance. Make sure you backings face each other for all seams.
    3. Join the rows. The quilt will be heavy, especially if you used flannel batting. It’s easier to deal with the weight if you sew two rows together at a time. Next, join the top four rows to create half of the quilt, and then sew together the bottom four rows to assemble the bottom half of the quilt. Sew the two halves together to complete the quilt top. Be sure to place each row back in its correct position as you work, to avoid mixing up the orientation of blocks.
    4. Sew a seam (straight or zigzag) around the entire quilt, placing it 1/2” from edges. Stop and backstitch when you make a turn (or sew each side independently, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam).
    5. Clip raw edges on the front of the quilt. Cut straight inward about 1/4”, placing cuts every 3/8” or so on every seam allowance. Use a pair of scissors that cut all the way to their blade tips – it’s more difficult to control the inward cut with standard scissors.

      A retractable handle will help keep your hands from getting too tired, but plan to take regular breaks. When clipping, be careful not to cut away chunks of the quilt where seams meet, including those outer corners.

    6. Wash and dry the rag quilt.
    7. Inspect the quilt to determine if some seams are unclipped. Make inward cuts where necessary.

      Take a look at the rag quilt from the back, to make sure that all seams are sturdy, and that the clips didn’t travel far enough inward to break the threads. Repair broken seams if necessary, backstitching at the beginning and end of a repair.

      Wash and dry the quilt again. Re-check the seams. Repeat washing and drying to achieve more fraying.

    8. When you are satisfied with the fraying, inspect the quilt carefully for seams that have not beenclipped; use scissors to clean up loose strings and uneven frays. Use a lint brush to remove strings and bits of frayed fabric. You’ll see fewer loose threads each time the quilt is washed and dried.

    Other Rag Quilts Include:

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Reverse Side of the Indian Hatchet Rag Quilt

    Rag Quilt Reverse Side
    © Janet Wickell

    The back side of all-rag quilts looks finished, with no raw seams. We used a completely different color scheme for our backing squares because we wanted the pink and browns of this chocolaty print to show up in the ragged seams on the front of the quilt.​