Halloween is all about fun! Celebrate with this fast and fun Halloween quilt pattern. This Jack O’Lantern face rag quilt uses a basic rag quilt method combined with scrappy applique for a fun holiday quilt. Rag quilts are a great way to quilt quickly and for those new to sewing to complete a large project without difficulty. This quilt works great in almost any fabric. From stretch velvet to basic quilting cotton to flannel this quilt works with any fabric you prefer. It results in a quilt approximately 50″ x 60″ in size.
Halloween Quilt Pattern – Jack O’Lantern Face Rag Quilt Instructions
60 Squares 11″ in size of Orange fabric (I used stretch velvet but if you are a novice to sewing I suggest a non-stretch fabric such as cotton)
1/4 Yard Black Fabric
30 Squares 9″ in size of Batting
Rag Quilt Scissors
Preparing the Quilt Sandwiches
What makes rag quilting so fast and easy is that you quilt as you go rather than having to wrestle with attaching large sheets of backing and batting later. The basic process of rag quilting starts with making “sandwiches.” This means you place a piece of backing fabric (right side down), place a piece of batting on top of that, and finally place a piece of the front fabric (right side up) on top. In this case, your top and backing fabrics are both orange. Pin the fabric sandwiches at the corners and in the middle to hold them steady. I like to make all of the sandwiches before I begin sewing.
One you have the sandwiches pinned, you can begin sewing. Using orange top and bottom thread to match the orange fabric, you will sew from corner to corner of each fabric sandwich. These two seams will result in a large X across the sandwich that will hold it securely in place when assembly of the quilt begins. Remember to avoid sewing over pins.
Cutting the Face
The face of the pumpkin is a simple mouth and two triangles for eyes. To cut the eyes, cut two 8″ squares of black fabric. Using your straight edge, cut from one bottom corner of the square to the center point of the top of the square. Repeat to create your triangle. You can do this with each fabric square individually or stack the squares to cut both at one time.
The mouth of your pumpkin will cross three squares. To cut the mouth you need to decide on the mouth pattern first. Free Stencil Gallery has a great selection of simple Jack O’Lantern face templates to choose from if you need help picking a design. Your pumpkin mouth will need to be roughly 27″ long and 7″ wide at its middle. An easy way to cut this is to cut a 27″ x 7″ rectangle and fold it in half. Then cut a half crescent moon shape. When you unfold the fabric you will have a full mouth shape.
Once the basic mouth is cut you can cut out any teeth you like. To cut the mouth into the 3 pieces, find the middle of the mouth and measure 5.5″ on either side of that center line.
Assembling the Face
For sewing the face onto your quilt, you’ll use black thread for your top thread and orange thread in the bobbin. Pin the eyes of the pumpkin onto sandwich squares and sew around the triangles with a 1/2″ seam allowance. To assemble the mouth, it is easiest to lay 3 squares side by side so you can more easily line up the pieces of the mouth. Carefully place and pin the mouth so that the 3 pieces line up across the blocks. Note that the center of the mouth will stretch the width of the entire center block while the two side pieces will only cover part of their blocks. Be sure to line up these pieces with the edge of the block as we want some black of the mouth to show in the rag fringe. When you stitch around the mouth pieces (1/2″ seam allowance again), remember to leave the edges that are even with the edge of the squares open. Those edges will be sewn up when you assemble the rows.
Assembling the Quilt
For quilt assembly you’ll be using orange top thread and bobbin again. Quilt assembly from this point is the same as any other rag quilt. This particular quilt is 6 squares long and 5 squares wide. Begin by creating the 5 square rows. Squares are sewn together with a 1″ seam allowance, WRONG sides together. Remember, we want the seams on the front of this quilt.
The first row is simply all orange squares so your square choice will not be important. Just sew each block together in sequence.
The second row is orange, eye, orange, eye, orange squares. Remember to make sure you get the triangles of both eyes facing up.
The third and fourth rows are all orange.
The fifth row is the mouth row. Orange, left side of mouth, center of mouth, right side of mouth, orange.
The sixth row is all orange.
Once all of your rows are complete, you’ll need to sew the rows together. When sewing rows, it is helpful to use pins to keep the fabric from shifting. I like to begin aligning my rows together in the center so I can better match up the corners for each square along the length of the rows. Remember, wrong sides together so the seams show in the front and use a 1″ seam allowance.
Once the quilt is completely assembled, sew around the outside edges of the quilt using a 1″ seam allowance again.
Finishing the Quilt
Now you’ll need your rag snip scissors. These scissors are spring-loaded so that they reopen automatically after you close them. This greatly reduces hand strain when clipping the quilt. Every exposed edge needs clipping into roughly 1/8″ strips. Remember to be careful not to cut into your seams.
Once the edges are clipped, you’ll need to wash and dry the quilt. I wash rag quilts in cold water with a few clean towels and no soap, only vinegar for the first wash. This helps set color and the towels catch much of the strings kicked off in the fraying process. To dry the quilt, run it through two short dry cycles so you can clean the lint trap during the process of drying.