Quilters have expressed themselves through fabric for hundreds of years, and the oldest surviving quilt dates to the 1300s. Jelly roll quilts offer new quilters a chance to participate in this proud tradition easily and try it on for size.
If you’ve never quilted before, though, you might have questions about how to make a jelly roll quilt. What do you do with the individual strips of fabric? For that matter, what is a jelly roll quilt?
Keep reading and you’ll be well on your way to your first quilt.
What Are Jelly Roll Quilts?
Jelly roll quilts use jelly rolls, or bundles of many individual strips of fabric, as an easy source of visually interesting fabrics. The bundles get their name from looking like a jelly roll when seen from above, with that same swirl shape. A jelly roll gives a quilter a nice spread of colors and patterns that go well together.
Jelly Roll Quilt Ideas
Jelly rolls give you a lot of flexibility in how you plan to use the strips. Do you want to lay them side by side, or try some more ornate patterns? Do you want to use as much of each individual strip together, or spread each type of fabric out?
Here are some design ideas for a jelly roll quilt that can get you started, ranging from straightforward to complex.
You could try just sewing each strip together, one right next to the other. This makes a stripey pattern that’s great for a first quilt, as you get a sense of what motivates you about the project.
A little more complicated project could involve the same basic shape, but cutting the strips shorter and laying them like bricks in a wall. Something like this would give you a good sense for how more complicated color and pattern arrangements can go.
If you’re feeling ambitious, try using a more robust pattern. Common patterns include herringbone, which has the strips going in diagonal zig-zags, and log cabin, which makes squares within squares.
Maybe you’ve already tried a couple of basic quilts, and have come here looking for jelly roll quilt tips. Don’t worry, we have those too.
Remember the size. If you’re making a quilt for a purpose, know that a single jelly roll will give you a quilt roughly 50″x60″. If you need a bigger (or smaller!) quilt, adjust accordingly using a size chart.
Check your edges. Most jelly roll fabric has a pinked (zig-zag) edge, and it’s easy to lose track of whether things are lined up. Your strips won’t sit quite right if you don’t periodically check them and make sure they’re lined up before taking them to your sewing machine.
Save your scraps. If you end up with small amounts of clipped fabric here and there, don’t throw them away. They can come in handy for lots of other projects.
Remember, quilting should make you happy. Having a quilt you made yourself gives you a big sense of accomplishment.
If you’re still not sure where to begin with jelly roll quilts or any other project, try signing up for one of our classes. We can get you started on the path to a good quilt.