2 Jelly Rolls – I used Modern Neutrals by Amy Ellis
3 1/2 yards assorted fabric for backing – Modern Neutrals Coral 3501 13, Teal 3502 21, and Grey 3503 15
1/2 yard fabric for binding – Modern Neutrals Steel 3506 021
*This recipe uses 1/4″ seams*
1. Sort your jelly roll strips into piles based on color value: dark, medium and light. I also sorted the oranges out of my Modern Neutral jelly roll because I wanted the orange to be the strong focal point. Having trouble deciding what color value each strip is? Take a black and white picture of the strips to help decide!
2. Each block will have 21 strips, but some of them will be cut very short. For my quilt, I wanted the lightest value fabrics on the outer corners of the block and the medium and darker value fabrics towards the center of the block to create visual interest. If you can’t decide what works best, before you start cutting, take a black and white photo of your layout and see if it’s pleasing. Don’t be afraid to rearrange!
3. Let’s start cutting. The fabrics that you want in the center will be longest and the lighter value fabrics will be the shortest.
Cut (1) 42″ long strip
Cut (2) 40″ long strips, (2) 36″ long strips, (2) 32″ long strips, (2) 28″ long strips, (2) 24″ long strips, (2) 20″ long strips, (2) 16″ long strips, (2) 12″ long strips, (2) 8″ long strips, (2) 4″ long strips
You can cut more than one shorter piece from some strips so you can save a few for the back.
4. Lay out the fabrics in the order you’ll be sewing them together and take a picture to help you remember which pieces go where. Start sewing the strips together, pressing the seams open to reduce bulk. Continue until all the pieces are sewn together, being careful to line them up with 2″ overhang on each side.
5. Now we’re going to cut the block to size. Find the longest strip and line the seam up along the 45 degree angle on your cutting mat. Now take your acrylic ruler and cut diagonally across the fabric strips to create an approximately 27 1/2″ block edge. If your ruler is too short or you’re nervous, you can draw the line all the way across the bottom in a dissolvable pen first. Once you have that line cut, you can use it as the straight edge to cut the rest of the block down to size. Line up the straight edge you just cut on your mat, and then cut the jagged edges off the long edge of the panel. This side should measure approximately 26 1/2″ long. Again, draw it in first if you need to. Continue cutting the sides until you have a 27 1/2″ x 26 1/2″ rectangle with the strips running diagonally. If you don’t have it perfectly lined up, don’t sweat it! Just call it modern and say you meant to do that a little wonky 🙂
5. Repeat this process 3 more times for a total of four 26 1/2″ x 27 1/2″ blocks. Now you get to choose your layout! You can make a circle, an X, put them all pointing the same direction – you have several options here. Play with it a little bit, ask your quilting husband what he thinks, but don’t bother asking the cats. They just want you to finish it ASAP so they can lay on it already. When you’ve decided which layout works best for you, sew the blocks together and press. Some spray starch might help keep the bias edges more crisp while you’re quilting.
6. Optional pieced backing: I used 8 jelly roll strips of light value fabric and 8 jelly roll strips of medium or dark value fabrics. Sew 4 sets of 4 strips together, alternating light-dark-light-dark. Press seams open as you sew the strips together. You will cut the strips on the diagonal across the width of the panel and 2 sets will be cut one direction and the other 2 sets will be cut the opposite way. Erica from Kitchen Table Quilting has the best post on how to make a striped chevrons quilt top, and this is what I used to make my quilt back. The only thing I changed was that I cut my diagonal strips 6″ wide instead of 5″ like she did in her tutorial. This is a great way to use up more of your jelly roll pieces and I had to supplement a few 2 1/2″ strips from the backing fabrics to have enough strips to make one cute chevron across the back.
Viola! Here’s my fun back. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and I’d love to see your interpretation on the Moda Bake Shop Flickr page! You can visit my blog Sew E.T. or find me on Instagram at drkornea. Happy sewing!
One easy 4 block string quilt that measures 51″ x 54 1/2″