Jelly Roll Race Quilt + Tutorial

Last weekend was a flurry of activity for me and my family. We decked the halls:

We took our family Christmas photos, and I even sneaked in a little gift shopping afterwards. I know I'm going to regret buying those Squinkies, her #1 gift request this year:

Look how tiny those dang things are! Don't they just look like a devilish little item you find in every nook and cranny by January? Ugh!

I also found snippets of time to make this quilt top!

(Pardon the unstraight edges, I hadn't squared it up yet)

I used just 1 jelly roll from the Ruby line by Bonnie & Camille to make the entire top. It's called a "Jelly Roll Race Quilt." Not sure who or where it started, but I saw this YouTube video and was intrigued. I knew I had several jelly rolls in my stash and wanted to give this a try. A big selling point was the speed at which they said it came together - and they were right! From Saturday to Sunday, sneaking in 15-20 minutes here, 1 hour in the evening, I was able to put this top together.

I took pictures along the way and decided to do a quick tutorial on the technique since it's not altogether clear from the video or written instructions on the web. Here you go if you want to give it a try yourself!

Open up your jelly roll. Lay out the strips in a more random order than they come in. Don't worry about trying to determine how the colors and fabrics will end up looking in the final quilt top - the randomness of it is part of the fun!

Cut off the selvages on both sides of the strips.

Start string piecing the strips together on the short ends.

Continue string piecing the sections of 2 strips together to form 1 long continuous strip of the entire jelly roll. Yes, it will need to drape on the floor since it's about 1600 inches long!

Cut off approximately 20 inches from 1 end (doesn't matter which end) of the strip. Throw that in your scrap pile.

Join the 2 short ends, right sides together, making sure the strip is not twisted anywhere. Take your time doing this, as it is a very long strip.

Sew down the entire long side of the strip using a 1/4 in. seam allowance.

This takes awhile so listen to a podcast
while you're doing it! Maybe this one? ;-)

About 2 inches before you come to the end of the strip, use your scissors to cut the fold open. Then sew the remaining 2 inches of the strip together. Open them up so the 2 strips are side-by-side.You will now have an approx. 800 inch length of 2 strips sewn together.

Fold this long set of 2 strips in half again, meeting the short ends, right sides together. Sew along 1 side of the long side of the strips again. Again, right before you come to the fold, cut them open. (you can just finger press the fold and use your scissors to cut open. You will be squaring up the quilt later.)

Open them up and you will now have 4 strips from end-to-end.

Again, join the 2 short ends together and sew along the long side of the strips. Make SURE you don't twist the strips. I draped mine back and forth on my cutting table to be sure it was straight until I met both ends.

Again, cut open the fold with your scissors - very technical, lol.

You will now have 8 rows of strips (from the 4 folded on top of 4).

Once again, fold the whole thing in half, join the 2 short ends and sew along the long side of the strips and cut the fold. You will now have 16 rows of strips sewn together (from the 8 strips folded on top of 8).

Do it one more time! Fold the strips in half, sewing the short ends and sew along the side. Open it up and wa-la! You now have a pretty and scrappy jelly roll top to quilt as you wish. Square it up, taking particular attention to the long sides. You can quilt and bind as is, or add a border.

Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. Again, this is NOT my quilt design or idea. If you Google "jelly roll race quilt" and look at images, you will find many completed tops and quilts. And if you make your own, please send me a picture!

I have linked this post up in the following places:

BWS tips button

Sugar and Dots:  What I Whipped Up Wednesday

Trendy Treehouse: Create and Share

Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell

Linkin' With Lil' Luna Wednesday

 Junk in their Trunk: Link It Up Wednesday

Savvy Southern Style: Wow Us Wednesdays


PS, a couple of quick notes: I did not press any of the seams until the very end of making the top. Then I pressed them all in the same direction. Also, wear your "play clothes" while making this quilt. I was not aware how "linty" a jelly roll is, and you will have a lot of tiny fibers on your clothes...not very pretty right before you're going out to dinner like I almost did! I have seen pictures of this quilt done in all solids, and those are very beautiful and modern looking. If you go for that clean/ultra-modern style, I would definitely give it a try!


  1. So cute! The jellyrolls, charm packs, etc. take so much of the work out of making quilts - I love them!

  2. Tip I got from a jelly roll class - use a lint roller on the top and bottom of the jelly roll before you unwrap it and you won't have as many fuzzies flying around.

    Love your top!

  3. Miss Tanesha, Your tree and living room look very beautiful illuminated just by your tree lights. I am intrigued by the quilt on your wall. I would love to see a picture of it, too.

  4. WE made this quilt from self cut jelly rolls we used full WIDTH OF FABRIC lengths and added cuts from fat quarters interspersed in the long strips. We also tend to sew one side then the other side so where we started end up in the center of the quilt. We use a lot of "light" self cut jellies mixed in with the fabrics to contrast the other fabrics. We found having neutral mixed in with some of the donor fabric we were given to used help tamed the UGLY fabrics.

    DD and I did a coordinate shopping trip on a weekend Gd-S was with his daddy... this year no duplicates, toys that are easier to store (I hope)

    Knitting: I cast on a hat for my GdS and there it sits on the needles, un-knitted for 6 weeks.

    Love and have the LLAMMA LLAMMA BOOKS.... plan to collect all of them.
    Needed some good boy book selections... thanks.



  5. OK, what the heck is a Squinkie?????

  6. Fabulous! This is so cool. I will totally do this!

    Ugh! Those tiny toys look like a momma's nightmare. At least this momma's nightmare!

    Thanks for the podcast. I always find myself going - She totally understands!!!

  7. I remember little bitty toys. Very annoying! The older they get, the more compact but expensive their gifts get--and usually involve plugs, chargers, or USB connectors of some sort. Then you get into the "which electronic does THIS charger belong to? Would you guys keep these straight?" arguments, LOL. Thanks so much for the jelly roll tutorial--I've been seeing those all over the place and may do one or two on our Boxing Day Sew-In (#BDSI) to off some jelly rolls I've had for awhile--great charity quilts. They do work up kind of cute, for a fast project like that! Your tutorial makes it very clear.

  8. Great tutorial and I am totally inspired to make this quilt. I don't have any jelly rolls but I do have a lot of fabric I want to use up without a lot of fuss and this is just the project! Thanks for taking the time to "tut"

  9. Your version of the Jelly Roll Race looks wonderful! I love it. Thanks for sharing the tutorial as well. Love your 'play clothes' comment!

  10. Your Tutorial was wonderful and really helped me to figure out the other directions had been seeing and was really confused about. Thanks for sharing

  11. Thanks for your post. It really helped because I had seen the video but just couldn't "get it".

  12. thank you so much for the tutorial! i made it tonight with your great directions!


  13. Thanks so much for this tutorial! Your photos, along with the written descriptions, finally made this project make sense to me. I think this could be the very first quilt I make, after many disappointing false starts and experiments.

    1. You're welcome! Go for it Ann, I think you'll find this a very satisfying first quilt project.

  14. Love you're Logo.

  15. thank you for the tutorial....I was confused when watching the video and you made it clear for me....can't wait to try this!

  16. If you all are afraid that you might not be random enough, borrow a couple of little boys from the neighborhood to take apart your jelly roll for you and then pay them in cookies or hot wheels to pick them up.

    to make it easier on you, maybe have them pick them up in piles of 10 right sides face up ( you'll have to show them what that means!

    By all means have their mothers over for coffee and visiting while they are disembodying your jelly rolls!

    If you purchase 3 or 4 jelly rolls, you can use this to teach the mothers how to make quick quilts!

    In fact, I have two of my own boys to help with this and I may see if Joann's still has those rolls on clearance!

  17. doyou have directions for a double or queen size jelly roll quilt?

  18. Thanks so much for your tutorial for the Jelly Roll Race Quilt! I watched the video online and couldn't figure out how she was putting the strips together. Your tutorial makes it very clear! Thanks again!!

  19. I have made many quilts, but never this one! Thanks for the tutorial!

  20. Your instructions were so clear. I finished the quilt in a few hours (after taking a few breaks). I also pinned...sorry I didn't want the strips to get twisted. It's a quick project for charities or quick gifts. I plan to do more. Again, thank you so much for your instructions.

  21. Thanks for the GREAT directions, I too like other's could not get it down with the video, but with yours it went perfect! Tried to post a pic, but could not figure out how too! Thanks again

  22. I have 2 small jelly rolls from Riley Blake so have a total of 46 strips. Can you tell me how wide your quilt turned out so that I can calcuate how much to cut off before I begin assembling. Thanks for the tutorial. It is great!

  23. Thanks for your tutorial..... I made one using your instructions (only I joined my strips on the bias) and it turned out great. I mentioned your tutorial in my blog post when you can see here http://thimbelinas.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/jelly-roll-race-quilt.html

  24. Hi! I am using your tutorial and attempting this jelly roll race quilt as my first quilt ever! I am very much a newbie to all of the quilting lingo and I don't quite understand what you are meaning by cutting off the selvages and ending up with a "short end." I am using the Moda "happy go lucky" jelly roll and one end has the salvage and the other is just the fabric. Can you please explain this?


    1. I am scared to cut off both ends and end up messing the entire thing up! Also, I don't understand what you mean by joining the "short ends."

  25. I've read the instructions for this quilt on different blogs, but you were the best at explaining it in great detail! Thanks so much!

  26. I'm so glad I found this blog. I'm gonna learn a lot from you. I can tell.

    Thanks in advance for the inspiration and instruction.

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