what are jelly rolls in quilting

What Are Jelly Rolls in Quilting? How to Make One?

Learn all about jelly roll quilts with this comprehensive guide to quilting with precuts. After reading, you can assemble a jelly roll quilt on your own.

Having a standard width and length of 2 x 44 inches, jelly rolls are precut strips of coordinating fabric patterns. They come in rolls of 10 to 40 strips and are perfect for making cushions, quilts, patches, and other household items.

Everything you need to know about jelly rolls will be covered, including how to make a jelly roll quilt and the best simple jelly roll quilt patterns for beginners.

Further Reading: Batting for a Quilt: How to Choose the Right One?

What is a Jelly Roll?

An assortment of fabric strips that are between 44 and 45 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide is known as a jelly roll. 40 fabric strips in a variety of coordinating hues and patterns make up the majority of jelly roll bundles. For quick and simple sewing projects, these pre-cut fabric bundles are ideal!

High-quality quilting cotton is used to make the fabric strips. They are typically 44 to 45 inches long and are made by cutting standard-size bolts.

Jelly roll strips are typically sold in a rolled-up bundle. The fabric is packaged to resemble a cinnamon roll or donut, hence the name.

what are jelly rolls in quilting

Many fabric retailers, including Moda Fabrics, Robert Kauffman, Riley Blake, and others, sell jelly rolls. Fat Quarter Shop and Etsy are a couple of the more well-known vendors.

What Are Jelly Rolls Used For?

Jelly rolls are frequently used in quilting, but you can also use them in other sewing projects. Other popular jelly roll projects include:

  • Throw pillows
  • Table runners
  • Bags and fabric pouches

After creating a stunning quilt, you can use any extra strips to create one of the smaller projects mentioned above.

Benefits of Jelly Roll Fabric

Because they reduce the amount of time spent cutting and sewing fabrics and generally simplify quilting, quilters adore using fabric precuts like jelly rolls, charm packs, and layer cakes.

Jelly rolls can be used for almost any quilting project because, as was already mentioned, they come in a variety of colors and prints.

Due to the tedious cutting that jelly rolls do away with, they are the ideal shortcut for sewing projects! Selecting a strip of fabric from a jelly roll eliminates the need to cut numerous small pieces of fabric.

what are jelly rolls in quilting

There are many other reasons why quilters love these pre-cut bundles, including:

  • Variety of fabrics: Frequently, jelly rolls contain 40 strips in a variety of coordinating hues and patterns. The strips are all from the same fabric line, making it simple to combine various fabrics. Fabrics can be mixed and matched as much as you’d like with jelly rolls without worrying about a mismatch!
  • Quick piecing: You don’t have to spend a lot of time cutting out individual pieces for each part of your project because the fabric strips are already precut! If you’re short on time or simply find it challenging to cut fabric, jelly rolls can be a lifesaver.
  • Faster quilting: Despite the fact that you can certainly cut your own strips from fabric yardage, precut jelly roll strips are much more efficient. You can spend more time sewing and less time on time-consuming activities like measuring or cutting when you use precut bundles like layer cakes, charm packs, and jelly rolls.

How to Make a Jelly Roll?

Making your own jelly roll strips from fabric you already own is an option if you’d rather do it yourself. (This is a great way to utilize more of your fabric supply!)

From fabric yardage, cut 2 1/2-inch-wide strips to create your own jelly roll strips. Selvage to selvage or across the width of the fabric (WOF) is the two most popular ways to cut the fabric into strips. You will receive strips that are 2 1/2 inches by 44 prime after doing this.

what are jelly rolls in quilting
  1. The strips of the jelly rolls should be unrolled and separated. Cut the first strip in half, between 12 and 18 inches long. The strips won’t align evenly when they are stitched together as a result of this.
  2. Laying one face up and the other face down perpendicularly, sew the strips together by making a 45-degree angle between the two.
  3. After sewing all the strips together, trim the corners and cut the threads (if you used chain piecing), leaving a quarter-inch seam where the strips meet.
  4. Place the final strip over the first one, right sides together. Use a seam allowance of 1/4 inch to sew down the side of the new strip you are creating.
  5. Cut your work in half along the fold and open it out once you reach the end. You ought to see a center seam connecting the two rows of strips.
  6. Right sides together, place the final two strips over the first two and stitch along the side with a quarter-inch seam allowance.
  7. Once this row is complete, cut the strips along the fold and unfold them. You should see center seams connecting four rows of strips.
  8. Repeat the previous steps until you reach the end of the row, at which point cut it along the fold and unfold it. Sew down the side after folding the joined strips over. The good news is that as you sew, the rows get shorter, making the first one the longest.
  9. After a while of sewing, you ought to be able to determine how big your quilt top is becoming. You must locate a location where you can put the quilt together once you are satisfied with the size.
  10. Make sure there are no creases in the backing fabric as you lay it out. Lay the wadding on top after you’ve finished smoothing it out, then place the quilt top on top of that.
  11. When you are satisfied with the alignment, use the quilt top as a template to cut the fabric and wadding to size.
  12. You can begin gluing the layers together once everything has been cut to size. Your quilt can be sandwiched using safety pins; pin through all three layers, space them apart by a few inches, and smooth as you go.
  13. Regardless of the technique you select, all three layers should be joined together in the end. Trim the quilt’s edges to make them flush with one another.
  14. The layers can now be stitched together to finish your quilt. Place your needle so that it enters the seam between the strips, and then stitch down the row. This will result in a line of stitching that is hidden in the join referred to as “stitching in the ditch”.
  15. As you work your way down the quilt, repeat this procedure every few rows. If you’d like, you can repeat this for every row.
  16. Make the binding for your quilt’s edge at this time. Make fabric strips twice as long as the desired border length after deciding how much of one you want. For instance, I would cut a 4-inch wide strip to be folded over the quilt edge if I wanted a two-inch border.
  17. When measuring your binding, pin the strips together end to end and lay them around the quilt’s edge until you have enough to go around with a few inches of overlap.
  18. When you have enough binding strips cut, sew them together in the same manner as you did with the jelly roll strips by laying one face up and the other perpendicularly face down.
  19. When you’re done, you’ll have a single, lengthy strip of fabric. The raw edges of the fabric will be concealed by folding and pressing the long edges over by about a quarter of an inch along the length of the strip.
  20. Along the length and over the quilt’s edge, fold the strip in half. Before sewing, pin the binding into place to prevent it from moving.
  21. Make sure both sides of the binding are caught by the stitching as you attach it by sewing close to the edge where it meets the quilt.
  22. Your quilt will be complete once the binding is sewn on. If there are any folds from sewing or to make sure there are no creases, you can steam the quilt with an iron.
what are jelly rolls in quilting

How Many Jelly Rolls Does It Take to Make a Quilt?

The number of jelly rolls you need to make a quilt depends on a few things:

  1. the size of the quilt
  2. the number of strips in each jelly roll bundle
  3. the quilt pattern (remember: more cuts mean more seams – which means more fabric lost in the seam allowances.)

Let’s assume you are buying a standard jelly roll containing 40 strips measuring 2 1/2 ” by 44&In that case, you would require a minimum of 1 jelly roll for a baby quilt or lap quilt, 2 jelly rolls for a twin-size quilt, and 3 jelly rolls for a queen-size quilt.


What Size Quilt Does a Jelly Roll Make?

Using the standard 40-strip jelly roll, you will get a quilt that is 50″ x 64″ without any additional border. A Jelly Roll Race quilt’s dimensions can be altered, though, if you want to make a bigger quilt.

How Big of a Quilt Will 2 Jelly Rolls Make?

This will make two quilt tops that are approximately 87.5″ x 32.5″, and then sew them together to make your 87.5″x 64.5″ top.

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