Sunday, 9 February 2014

Super Easy Jelly Roll Quilt ( a.k.a. The 1600 Quilt)

1600 Quilt
Every now and then I have a burning desire to make a quilt top but a complete lack of interest in doing any real work. I love the 1600 quilt for this exact reason. It produces a beautiful, colourful display with minimal effort.

The 1600 quilt, so called because it uses 1600'' of fabric strips, is quick and easy, and takes only a single jelly roll to complete. It's also great for beginners as it gives you plenty of practice with 1/4'' seams but doesn't require a great deal of accuracy (in other words, you can stuff up and still have a great quilt).

Here's a quick tutorial for making your own 1600 quilt top.

You will need:
1 x jelly roll - I used Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey for Moda Fabrics
(Optional) 1/4'' foot for your sewing machine - This is entirely optional but great for keeping your 1/4'' seam.

Mix your jelly roll strips up into a random order of colours and patterns. Don't try to be too fancy. Just mix them around a bit and then pile them up neatly.

Mix the jelly roll and pile up neatly.
Take the first two strips and, with right sides together, sew along the short edge using a 1/4'' seam.

Sew along the short edge.
When you've finished the first strip, don't snip the threads. Just raise the needle and foot, and pull the sewn piece to the back ready for the next strip. This is part of what makes the quilt so quick to sew.

Next, take the loose end of the top strip you've just sewn and place it with a new strip, right sides together.

Place a new strip onto the loose end of a sewn strip. The strips will end up in loops.
Sew the short edge together.

Sew along the short edge.
Continue sewing a new strip to a sewn strip until all are sewn.

Keep adding a new strip to a sewn strip until the whole jelly roll is attached.
You'll end up with a lovely mess of fabric.

A nice big pile of colour.
Now is the time to snip the threads. Here's where you will see your entire 1600'' of jelly roll sewn into one looooong strip.
Snip the threads.
Iron the seams flat. I ironed them all in one direction, but you may like to iron to the darker fabric. It's entirely up to you. I just took the easy way out.
Iron the seams.
Take one of your ends and chop it in half. Don't worry about being exact, just lob off part of the end. This will help give the random look of the quilt.
Chop off part of one end.
It's a good idea to use this time to fold the strip neatly into a pile. You'll see in the next few steps how this will help.

Take both ends of the strip and, with right sides together, sew along the long edge. The very long edge. This will be the biggest seam you sew. I hope you have some good music to listen to.
With both ends together, sew along the long edge.
I was very lazy and thought I'd just dump the strip onto my lap and sew from a messy pile. Big mistake!!! I've left the photos in to show you what happens if you don't plan ahead. It also shows just how hard it is to actually stuff up this quilt.
Sewing along the long edge from a big pile. Ugh.
When you finally reach the end, you will have a loop. As you can see here, if you've been lazy like me, you end up with a very twisted mess. Don't panic though. It can be fixed.
You will have a loop at the end. Hopefully less twisted than this.
 Pull the end as even as possible and snip it in half.
Snip the loop in half.
As you can see, this has left very ugly ends. That's OK though. Just straighten it up and sew to the end of the strip. See...easy to fix and all you've done is shortened the fabric slightly.
You may need to straighten up your cut.
 You will now have a single strip of fabric that is half the length it was and twice as wide.
Now your fabric is two strips wide.
Don't worry about ironing seams here. You can do that at the end.

This time, I decided to be smart and pile my strip neatly. You just want to make sure there are no twists.
Pile the fabric neatly. Trust me, this makes life much easier.
 Now take both ends and again, with right sides together, sew along the long edge.
Sew along the long edge.
This time I had a much neater loop once I reached the end.
A much nicer loop at the end.
Snip the loop and continue to sew to the end. Some people like to reverse this order and sew to the end then just chop it off. I'm being lazy so find what I did quicker, but the second way allows you to cut a straighter, neater edge. It's really just personal preference.

You now have a strip that is four rows wide.  Keep following these steps of folding in half and sewing along the long edge until the quilt is the size you desire. I think I ended up doing this about five times.

Ta have a gorgeous quilt top with very little time or effort.
A beautiful finished quilt top.


  1. That's pretty cool! What size does the quilt top end up?

  2. Looks cool and sounds easy. The ladies I quilt with are going to give it a try next week. We won't race, but will have fun.

  3. Looks cool and sounds easy. The ladies I quilt with are going to give it a try next week. We won't race, but will have fun.