How to Make a Dozen Layer Frayed Quilt

Watch even more great videos when you become a National Quilters Circle Member!
  • Choose Annual or Monthly Plan
  • All-Access Video Pass
  • New Videos Every Week
  • View on Computer or Mobile
Learn More

Using a fabric that easily frays is a great way to add texture to a quilt along the raw edges of a piece. Heather Thomas shows you how to make a fun frayed quilt using cotton gauze and a quilt as you go technique.


While quilts are commonly made using cotton fabric- cotton gauze looks and feels entirely different. It is a light weight, loosely woven fabric sometimes called shot cotton. Heather explains some of the reasons why she chose to make her frayed quilt using cotton gauze, including sharing how cotton gauze is colored and why that makes it a good fabric to fray. She also shows what kind of batting to use for this project and explains why a different colored batting is the best choice.


When it comes to making the twelve layers that make up the frayed quilt in this quilting tutorial, Heather doesn’t use a rotary cutter and mat. Rather, she explains how part of the artistry behind this project is that the lines don’t have to be perfectly straight and the rectangles don’t have to have perfect corners. She demonstrates how she uses the largest rectangle piece as a guide to cut the next smallest rectangle and works her way towards the center. She then demonstrates how to stitch the rectangles in place and explains what seam allowance and stitch length should be used. By stitching through all of the layers of fabric and batting at the same time Heather is both quilting as she goes and eliminating the need for piecing her art quilt.


Once all of the layers have been stitched down the edges can be frayed to give it more texture. Heather shows how that can be done by pulling out fibers along the raw edges of the fabric. Washing and drying the quilt can also cause the edges to fray more.

  • (will not be published)

11 Responses to “How to Make a Dozen Layer Frayed Quilt”
  1. kitkat

    How does Heather join the rectangle sandwich pieces together for a table runner? Each one has so many layers!

    • Customer Service

      Hi. They are attached by sewing together just the backing, batting and base layer. Stitched along the edge of the batting so just the tinniest bit of it gets caught in the stitch line and the 1/4″ or so of excess backing and base fabric is the seam allowance and the seam is sewn, wrong sides together so that the seam allowance shows from the front of the finished work.

    • Customer Service

      Hi Marlene. Let’s begin with the background, backing g and thin batting. Cot or rip the background (first rectangle) and backing the size you want the finished size to be, for example, 18″ x 12″. Cut your batting 1 ” smaller or 17″ x 11″. Lay down the backing, right side down, center the batting on top of it and lay down the first rectangle, so that all the raw edges line up and pin. Sew around the inside of the sandwich using a 5/8″ seam so that the edge of the batting is caught in the stitch line. Your base is now ready to add smaller and smaller rectangles. It’s up to you how much smaller each one is, they can all be 1″ smaller than the previous one or you could do some that are 1 1/2″ smaller than the previous one and so on. Stitch new layers on with a wide seam allowance if you don’t want the stitch line to show or with a narrower one if you want it to show. Have fun with it. As long as things are stitched down well, it all works. Have fun with it!

      • Marlene

        Thanks! Can’t wait to try it. The specialty fabric is at the top of my “be on the lookout for” list.

  2. sylvia

    for some reason I have not been getting e mail from quilters guild even though i am still a member,bit annoyed about that as i wasted my membership time but oh! how I have missed you Heather I love your ideas some so off the wall great ! You are the reason I joined because like you I love fresh technequies and pushing fresh ideas Fab!

  3. Marj Nardi

    Thank you for this video! I know some fabrics fray better than others, but can I use any fabric I want for this technique?
    Thanks so much!

    • Customer Service

      Hello Marj,

      Yes, you can use any woven fabric.


      National Quilters Circle Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first-year membership.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Sue,

      Thank you for your patience while I got the answer for you, here is the experts reply:

      Our instructor is using batting that she has dye painted, however I do not know what fiber content the batting is.


      National Quilters Circle


Tags: Free Videos, Heather Thomas