My first “jelly roll” quilt


There is a fun quilt technique I learned about at the quilt shop the other day. Excuse me for being behind the times, but when I heard about the 1600 jelly roll race quilt, I had to try it.

You see, I am all about care, craftsmanship, and artistry, but I needed a quick quilt top on which to practice with my new frame. The most important rule when it comes to practicing on new equipment is to never be emotionally invested in your practice piece.

So, I made this quilt. I am too frugal (cheap) to purchase actual jelly rolls, so I made my own by cutting forty 2.5″ strips across the width of my fabric. I had ten different fabrics that worked together, so it turned out to be four strips each. The more the merrier!(Fabric width is nominally 40″.)

Then I cut thirty-eight 2.5″ squares of fabric with which to join the strips. Most people choose to join their strips with a bias seam, but I love the little blocks. I wish I could tell you where I saw that first, but I’m afraid it’s lost in the recesses of my memory.

Join all the strips, end to end, either using a bias seam or the joining blocks. You will end up with one long strip, measuring about 1600″.

Choose your least favorite end and trim about 18″ off it. This is important for aesthetic purposes!

Sew the strip together from the ends
Toward the middle, right sides together, until you have a strip that is 800″ long. Cut the fold so that you can open the seam flat. Do not press until you are finished with the entire top.

Sew your resulting two-strip-wide length right sides together, from the ends toward the middle, creating a four-strip-wide piece that is 400″ long. Cut the fold to open the seam flat.

Repeat this process three more times until you have a quilt top that is (more or less) 50″ wide x 64″ (32 strips) long.

Add whatever borders you see fit.

I wondered when I first saw this whether there was an easy way to make a twin-size version. It turns out that if you use sixty strips, plus fifty-eight squares, you can make a quilt that is about (getting my calculator out) 64″(32 strips)x75″. In this one, of course, the strips run vertically, and one would want to add borders to it to get the length and width just right.

If you would like video instructions, there are plenty on YouTube.

Have fun!

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5 Responses to My first “jelly roll” quilt

  1. This is absolutely beautiful. I have no patience to do this, but I love it!

  2. Lisa Yarost says:

    Oops. Wrong quilt. That one is finished. The next one is still on the frame, although this one still needs to be bound. It won’t take that long… it’s just another thing to get around to doing.

  3. Carla says:

    Lisa, what a great technique with the squares! I’ll have to try that!

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