Log cabin blocks are simple and fun! They are a great way to ease into quilting because the blocks are very forgiving. No worrying about points matching up and if your seam allowance isn’t perfect, no one will even notice! If you are an experienced quilter, the log cabin block is simple and quick, and makes an adorable gift!
1 or 2 Charm Packs, I used Bunny Hill Designs’ Lily & Will
(6) 4-1/2″ squares of muslin or scrap fabric (fabric is not visible when project is complete)
(6) 4-1/2″ squares of your choice of batting, I use Warm & Natural
1. Decide which fabrics you’d like to use for your block. Using 2 charm packs, I made 3 blocks: 1 pink, 1 green and 1 blue. Sort your charms into color families to make choosing prints easier.
2. Choose the fabrics for your log cabin blocks! You can make a mock-up arrangement with your charm squares as shown below. Typically a log cabin block has two adjacent sides in one color and the other two sides in a second color, but you can choose whatever arrangement you’d like! I choose creams and browns for two sides and pink/blue/green for the other two sides.
3. When you are happy with the arrangement, cut your center piece into a 1-1/2” square. Each “log” will be made from 1” strips cut from the charm squares. You won’t use up all the fabric, so I cut just as many strips as I needed. (If there’s a fun print you want to highlight, feel free to fussy cut and even omit one set of strips and cut your center square 2-1/2”. I fussy cut the bunny out of the larger-scale print for a center and also fussy cut “logs” from the border print.)
4. To create the log cabin block, you simply sew one strip on a time, going around the center square and building upon each previous strip. See the numbered diagram below. Use a 1/4” seam. Build your block one “log” at a time. You can use your fingers to gently press the seams open before adding each strip or press open with your iron. Trim excess at least once each time around the center square. You can use a single strip for two of the shorter “logs.” Depending on how accurate your 1/4″ seam is, the logs will all finish to 1/2″ wide.
6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 for each block, until you have six blocks that measure 4 1/2” square.
7. Cut (6) 4 1/2” squares of batting and (6) 4 1/2” squares of muslin or scrap fabric.
8. Make a quilt sandwich with muslin on the bottom, batting in the middle and your finished log cabin block on top. Quilt as desired. I like a to sew a square spiral starting in the center, but a diagonal grid or stippling would also work well! The purpose of the quilting is to make the sides of your completed block sturdier. But is decorative as well. Be sure to pull the ends of your threads to the backing by pulling the bobbin thread. Then tie the ends so your quilting won’t come undone, especially if this will be a toy. I used a bright thread so you could see the quilting pattern, but you’ll want to use a coordinating neutral just in case the bobbin thread pulls up to the top.
9. Arrange your six blocks into two rows of three. Sew together at side seams using a 1/4” seam allowance, right (pieced) sides together, so raw edges will be hidden.
10. This is where your flat miniature quilts turn into a three dimensional project! Keeping the pieced sides toward the inside, fold the block rows into a “C” shape.
Using a single seam, sew the two block rows together as shown below, again with a 1/4″ seam allowance. If you stitch just about 3/4″ in from the corners on either side of the opening the turned and finished block will have cleaner points.
This may be a little awkward, but just remember to pivot 1/4″ from the corners with the needle in the down position. Before sewing each side, align the layer edges. It’s also helpful to reinforce your stitching at the corners so the stitches don’t come loose as you turn it right side out. You’ll find it’s easier than it looks!
11. Turn your cube inside out and stuff with polyester fiberfill.You can make a very soft or firm block.
12. Hand stitch the opening closed using a slipstitch or ladderstitch.
You’re all done!
1 Charm Pack has more than enough fabric to complete a single block. With 2 Charm Packs I made 3 coordinating blocks with fabric scraps to spare. Give a single block or a set as a special baby shower gift or 1st birthday gift!
Make a few plain (1 fabric per side) blocks with leftover charm squares to go along with Log Cabin Baby Blocks to quickly create a gift!