Jelly Roll Quilt Ideas

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While at Sew South last weekend we had a jelly roll race for charity. Each table received a jelly roll and was told to just go for it. Since the concept was left open and loose we all dove in to see which table would be the first to complete the mission! After we divided up the roll we all went to town stitching as fast as we could.

Jelly Roll Quilts from Sew South 2015

In the end, we made 15 quilts in 15 minutes. It was totally cool! Here is a picture of my tables quilt. The idea was so fun that I decided to put together a post for the rest of you to get in on the jelly roll quilt action!

What is a jelly roll?

A jelly roll is a pre-cut bundle of fabric, available at any fabric or craft store. Jelly rolls vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but for the most part they’re composed of 42 strips of fabric, cut 2.5 inches by the width of fabric (usually 44-45 inches). These strips are so convenient for quilts because much of the cutting and fabric-matching work has already been done for you!

Using jelly rolls

You can use jelly rolls for a variety of projects. A single jelly roll will easily make a smaller project like a table runner, Christmas stockings, or a baby-sized quilt. You can also combine jelly rolls with fabric yardage for bigger projects like bed quilts. One of the easiest things to do is just to sew the jelly rolls together along the longer edges, then turn that into the center panel of a quilt with sashing on the sides, top, and bottom.

When you work with jelly rolls, as with any strip-piecing, be sure to alternate the side you start sewing from. So if you piece together two strips and work right to left, then piece the next set from left to right. This helps to avoid leaning seams in the finished project.

Another idea is to combine jelly rolls together in fours, sewing them together along the long sides. Then you can cut them into 2.5-inch strips and reassemble those strips into patchwork blocks.

If you want to make a quilt top quickly, jelly rolls can be a huge time-saver. Here are some great free patterns for you to try!

Jelly roll quilt patterns are easy to make and stitch together in a flash. Here are a few of my favorite free patterns to help you stitch up a storm.

Jelly Roll Quilt Patterns:

  • Basket Weave– Transform each strip into a dimensional design with this simple technique.
  • Batik Braid – Turn your jelly rolls into a herringbone style design with this clever piecing method.
  • Boxes of Colour – This quilt has a fun, modern look to it. You almost wouldn’t know it was made from strips!
  • Four Corners Quilt– This windmill pattern is perfect for those wanting more design than the standard straight seams.
  • Gobble Chain Quilt– Turn a traditional 9-patch block on an angle to create this chain of diamonds on your quilt top.
  • Jelly Roll Baby Quilt– Turn your strips into checkered blocks using this easy method for cutting & assembly.
  • Jelly Roll Race– The legend of this quilt says it can be made in an hour (the quilt top, that is). The clever idea behind it makes for an interesting & easy construction and a great opportunity to practice 1/4-inch seams!
  • Jimmy John– This quilt has a fun pattern to it that’s traditional yet modern at the same time. Pair a jelly roll with a few yards of neutrals and you’ve got an easy quilt for a last-minute gift!
  • Magic Baby Quilt– This quilt utilizes a combination of strips & squares, plus an adorable ric rac accent.
  • Mister DJ– This design would be perfect for a music lover, and honestly, it looks a lot like books, too, so it’s great for an avid reader as well!
  • Off the Rails– This simple design is perfect for even the novice quilter.
  • Royal Squares Quilt– No one will ever guess that this was made from jelly rolls.
  • Sugar Almonds – I love how the jelly roll strips seem to be bursting out of this quilt design! Pair a colorful jelly roll with a neutral one and you’re good to go.
  • Summer at the Park– Get lost in the lazy days of summer with this simple design.
  • Windmills at Night – Step outside the lines with this fun design.

Plus, don’t forget to check out Sugar Bloom, a jelly roll friendly freebie right here on The Sewing Loft.

Join the Sugar Bloom Quilt pattern quilt along. It is perfect for perfect for picnics in the park, catching fire flies in the summer and mid afternoon naps in the shade.


What are your favorite ways to use jelly rolls? Do you have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments!



*All quilts made at Sew South were donated to Quilt Lemonade.  You can find more pictures of our race and adventures at Sew South here.


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  1. stephanie says

    That was a super fun thing to do. We loved it at our table also. I guess with that Juki we had the unfair advantage!

    • You bet Stephanie! I’d love to do it on a local level. Maybe get a few friends together to sew and send off finished quilts to someone in need.

  2. Hi i have done a jelly roll quilt twin size. I washed it and it totally came apart. It was a mess. What causes that to happen.
    Thank u

    • Hello Cheryl,
      What a shame. I am not sure what size stitches or the width of your seam allowance but both of these could be contributing factors. When joining seams together it is best to use about a 2.5mm stitch length and you should have a minimum of 1/4″ seam allowance.

      Do you recall what you used?

  3. Joyce Arndt says

    I am trying to make and black and white jelly roll quilt, I can’t figure out to keep the black prints on top and the white prints the rest of way down. can you help me, thanks Joyce

    • Hello Joyce,
      Thanks for your note. I’m not sure if you are looking for a pattern design but it sounds to me the best thing to do would be to lay out all of your strips before sewing. Then you can move them around until you are happy with the layout.

  4. Thank you for sharing these quilt ideas! I am new to quilting so I am always looking for inspiration everywhere! I have this quilt that I found in a quilt store that I love but I can’t seem to find the pattern anywhere. It starts with a thin strip and then a collection of small rectangles and then repeats about 4 times across the quilt. Would you happen to know what that pattern is? I appreciate any input.

    • Hello Becky, I’m excited to hear that you are loving your quilt experience and finding new patterns. Since patterns are best reviewed visually, it is hard for me to guess what pattern you may be referencing. I would suggest taking a picture of the quilt and searching on Pinterest. From there, you can scroll through the images until you find what you are looking for.
      I would also consider asking the shop owner. Perhaps they can help point you in the right direction.