What can you make with this pile of fabric strips? Why you can make a jellyroll type quilt top! What is a jelly roll you ask? It’s a package of fabric that can be purchased for quiltmaking. A jelly roll package contains 40 fabric strips that are 2-1/2 inches wide strips by 40 – 45 inches in length, all rolled up together. Commercially packaged jelly rolls are quite pricey. But they are made from a matching line of fabric, which does make for a great looking quilt. I have never used an actual jelly roll package to make mine.
The jelly roll in this tutorial is made with 22-inch strips. Quilts I have made in the past that I will share at the end were made with many different lengths, all strung together. This is why I call mine a “jelly roll style quilt.”
Jelly roll quilts are made with fabric strips that are 2-1/2 inches wide
Start sewing the strips together. Hold two strips of fabric at right angles to each other, with the right sides together. Sew a diagonal seam across the overlap between the two strips. Continue to add strips until they are all sewn together, being careful that each new strip is added with the right side facing inward.
Add the next strip of fabric to the end of the previous strip, so you’re making a long chain of strips. Remember to always keep the right sides together and to place the pairs of strips at right angles so you can get the nice diagonal seams where they join. Continue to add strips until they are all sewn together.
Step 1: Sewing the fabric strips together
Now that all of the strips are sewn together, it’s time to trim the excess fabric from sewing the strips together. Cut the triangle off fairly close to the stitching so the strips will open flat, but not too close. You can leave about 1/4″ so you don’t cut through the seam.
Step 2: Trimming the excess fabric at the seams
Now the fun begins! Take the 2 ends of your long chain of strips and, with right sides of the fabric facing each other, start sewing down the whole thing. In my photo, I have pinned my whole set to show you. (Pinning isn’t necessary, but optional if you feel more confident in sewing the strips.)
You will sew all the way to the end of the long strip. You will then cut this piece open at the bottom as shown in step 3b. Finally, you need to press it as shown in step 3c.
Step 3a: Pinning the ends together
Step 3b: Cutting the end open
Step 3c: Pressing open the strips you’ve sewn together
Continue as you did in step 3: pinning the ends right side together, sewing all the way down, cutting that open, and pressing. Do this until the quilt top is as wide as you want it to be.
Let’s look at pictures as I complete each step to the end.
Step 4a: After the second sewing
Step 4b: After the third sewing
Step 4c: After the fourth sewing
And it’s finished!
My picture of the entire quilt top didn’t come out as plainly as I would like, so I am also including a close-up as well.
Finished jelly roll quilt top
Finished jelly roll quilt, viewed close up
A normal jelly roll package will give you 1,600 inches of strips sewn together. My strips ended up being over 2,200 inches! If you get to the end of your strips and your quilt is too big for what you want, simply trim it to the size you want. If you get to the end and it’s not large enough, you can simply add borders to the top and bottom and/or sides to the desired size. My quilt top ended to be 64 x 76 inches in size.
I have used Christmas fabric strips, just sewing together what I had. Those ended up being large enough for a nice table runner. One was too small and I didn’t choose to add to it so called it a lap quilt or wall hanging. With another one, I did add borders to it to make it the desired size. I am including pictures of all of those projects.
Need help with the math on just how long total your strips need to be to make the size you want? This blog explains it well: http://patchworkplayground.blogspot.com/2012/05/jelly-roll-quilt-math.html
This is a PDF of instructions that I find online, that includes finishing the quilt, for anyone who is interested: http://www.ncbam.org/download_files/Jelly_Roll_Quilt.pdf
There are also loads of videos on YouTube to show you how to make a jelly roll quilt. Do a search and take a look at what’s out there! Jelly roll quilts are known for being really fast to make, so sometimes people have jelly roll races. You can see what that looks like in the video at the very bottom of the page.
Christmas table runner made from a jelly roll quilt
Jelly roll quilt wall hanging
Jelly roll quilt with borders added