Explore Jelly Roll Quilts

By Sherri McConnell

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jelly roll

Photo: Stems Jelly Roll quilt pattern by Joanna Figueroa for Fig Tree and Company

The Jelly Roll has become a favorite pre-cut for quilters. By definition, a Jelly Roll is a collection of 2 1/2" wide by 44" long fabric strips which come in a roll, usually with one strip from each print in a collection. Different manufacturers include different numbers of Jelly Roll strips in their pre-cut bundles, so be sure to check your Jelly Roll quilt pattern for the number of strips you'll need. You can also always cut extra strips, if needed, from yardage of fabrics.

Of course you can always make your own Jelly Roll quilts using fabric strips cut from your stash. One good way to build a supply of Jelly Roll strips is to cut a strip from every new fabric purchased. Store the strips together in shoe boxes; you may want to separate into a few different boxes: light strips, bright strips, holiday fabric strips and traditional strips. When it's time to make a Jelly Roll quilt you'll have lots of strips to choose from.

Most Jelly Roll strips have pinked edges on each long side. You should practice sewing with the pinked edges so you can piece with an accurate 1/4" seam using these strips. Jelly Roll strips also need a light pressing to remove the "wave" from being rolled up.

Many Jelly Roll quilts ask you to sew the Jelly Roll strips together to create strip sets which are then used to cut smaller segments. To prevent long Jelly Roll strips from being "curved" be sure to pin carefully and not stretch the top Jelly Roll strip while sewing. After sewing, seams may be pressed open or pressed toward the darker strip.

jelly roll spools

Photo: Spools by Camille Roskelley.

Now that you've learned a few things about collecting and sewing with Jelly Roll strips, here are a few Jelly Roll quilts you might consider making:

1. Stems, by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree and Company, is a fun Jelly Roll quilt that is available in a lap size or twin size version. Just use one Jelly Roll for the lap version and two Jelly Rolls to make the twin quilt. This is a beginner Jelly Roll quilt that goes together easily.

jelly roll jelly parfait

Photo: Jelly Parfait.

2. Jelly Parfait, also by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree and Company is a diamond quilt which uses just one Jelly Roll. This pattern is an intermediate level project.

spools jelly roll quilt pattern

Spools Jelly Roll quilt. Pattern and photo by Camille Roskelley

3. Spools, by Camille Roskelley, a Craftsy instructor, is another easy to assemble Jelly Roll quilt. The pattern offers two options, a larger kind of wonky spool design and a smaller wall-hanging version. One Jelly Roll will make either quilt.

Scrap Basket Surprises, Scrap Basket Sensations, and Scrap Basket Beauties, all by Kim Brackett are three excellent quilting books dedicated to Jelly Roll quilts.

Which Jelly Roll quilts do you want to make first?

To explore Jelly Rolls further, check out the Craftsy online class Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple. You might also enjoy learning about Fat Quarter patterns.

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