I have seen the "rag" technique on pillows and tote bags recently (cut and frayed edges) and wanted to try this out myself. I recalled the fabric used on these types of projects was something like canvas or denim. I thought a denim toss pillow would work well here, so I dug into my fabric stash for some old faded denim pieces from a discarded pair of jeans. I also found an off-white piece of canvas and some cotton ticking stripe fabric for the back of the pillow.
Getting the rag look is fairly simple. All you need to do is stitch your fabric about 1/2 from the edges. Then clip the fabric with a sharp pair of scissors (the scissors need to be particularly sharp at the points). Finally, just wash and dry the item and there you go - frayed edges!
Here is the process I followed:
1. Pre-wash your fabric. I had several different pieces of fabric from several different sources, so I pre-washed all of them before starting. This is important because you are definitely going to wash the piece after you are finished sewing, and you would hate for some strange shrinkage to happen and ruin the final product.
2. Sew the design on your fabric (about 1/2" from the edges).
3. Make the cuts for the edges to be frayed, the cuts should be about 1/4" apart. Be sure not to go too far and cut your stitching. This will take a little while. I can't imagine how much clipping it takes to do an entire large quilt with this method!
4. Sew the piece together. I suppose you could trim after you sewed the pieces together (doing step #3 here after step #4).
5. Wash and dry the item. I think I could have washed and dried this one more time to get a little "messier" frayed effect, but I was fairly happy with the results after the first wash and dry.