How To Make a Jelly Roll Type Quilt

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 quilt: 2-1/2" strips Jelly roll quilts are made with fabric strips that are 2-1/2 inches wide


Step 1:

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.


Jelly roll quilt: Sew the fabric strips together Step 1: Sewing the fabric strips together


Step 2:

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.


Jelly roll quilt: Trimming the excess fabric at the seams Step 2: Trimming the excess fabric at the seams


Step 3:

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.


Jelly roll quilt: Pinning the ends together Step 3a: Pinning the ends together

Jelly roll quilt: Cutting the end open Step 3b: Cutting the end open

Jelly roll quilt: Pressing open Step 3c: Pressing open the strips you’ve sewn together


Step 4:

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.


Jelly roll quilt: Second sewing Step 4a: After the second sewing

Jelly roll quilt: Third sewing Step 4b: After the third sewing

Jelly roll quilt: Fourth 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. 

Jelly roll quilt: Finished top Finished jelly roll quilt top

Jelly roll quilt: Close-up of the finished 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:

This is a PDF of instructions that I find online, that includes finishing the quilt, for anyone who is interested:

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.


Jelly roll quilt: Christmas table runner Christmas table runner made from a jelly roll quilt

Jelly roll quilt: Wall hanging Jelly roll quilt wall hanging

Jelly roll quilt: Borders added Jelly roll quilt with borders added



    1. Marsha Cooper Post author

      Ack! answering comments on my tablet and saccidentally hit report comment. I will let them know.

      I do hope that at least I can motivate others to be crafty as so many other writers have done for me.

    1. Marsha Cooper Post author

      I hope to completely finish this one soon as well as several others that the tops are done, or started. Sewing is taking priority again and it feels good.

    1. Marsha Cooper Post author

      This is the easiestn and fastestn way that I know of to make a quilt top. Not sure I believe the hour that some of the youtube videos say though LOL

    1. Marsha Cooper Post author

      Thank you for all your help. The editor here is new to me and there is a lot to learn.

    1. Sandy KS

      Your welcome. I love forward in to seeing them. You are one writer I have always enjoyed following.

    1. Marsha Cooper Post author

      I love to quilt. I love to make the tops but it’s hard for me to actually finish a quilt.

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