Someone somewhere on social media casually mentioned a Jelly Roll Race quilt… and I’d never heard of it before. So i looked it up and discovered yet another quilting phenomena! The claim is that you can make an entire quilt top out of one jelly roll in one hour… and there are Youtube videos of quilt guilds hosting “races” to see who can finish a quilt top first. I was intrigued and thought it just might be perfect for my next quilt, so I started pinning away…
The only problem was… after I made the quilt top, I didn’t like it! It wasn’t terrible, I just didn’t love it… too many of the same colors and same fabrics bunched together. The randomness is supposed to be a good thing, and I loved each fabric individually, but I just didn’t like how it all came together.
So I went back to Pinterest and started looking for variations and I found this pin…
which reminded me of other strip quilt blocks… like Chinese Coins and Rail Fence.
I started slicing and dicing the quilt top and made two smaller strip quilts… a Rail Fence and Chinese Coins. I wouldn’t say this is the most efficient way to make either kind of quilt, but it could be a good solution if you’re not enamored with the Jelly Roll Race quilt.
And now on to the quilts!
Jelly Roll Race Quilt
Time: 1 hour to construct the top is the claim… but it took me more like 2 hours
Cost: Around $20
- one jelly roll (40 pre-cut strips of coordinating fabric measuring 2″ x 42″)
- sewing machine and thread
Finished Size: 42″ x 70″
You can find a lot of tutorials online to make a Jelly Roll Race quilt, from videos to written instructions. I used this tutorial that I found through Pinterest. I used a jelly roll of the Modern Roses fabric collection.
The claim to fame is that after preparing one long strip (which should equal around 1,600 inches long), then you can sew the quilt top together within an hour. The first row you sew will take the longest, and in theory you should cut your time in half with each subsequent row.
I timed myself and it took me almost 2 hours, but it was easy and fun to see it come together randomly!
Prepare first strip: 30 minutes
First Row: 50 minutes
Second Row: 30 minutes
Third Row: 15 minutes
Fourth Row: 10 minutes
Fifth Row: 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour, 50 minutes!
As you know, the only problem was… I just didn’t love the finished quilt top. So I started slicing and dicing… and came up with two quick baby quilts that I really love!
The patterns are classics that I’ve always wanted to try, and really simple to put together. I bought a few yards of grey fabric for borders, and in the end I still had fabric leftover from the Jelly Roll Race quilt top… I could probably make at least another baby quilt, but I decided to leave well enough alone and save the scraps for another day.
Below are the two simple baby quilts created from the Jelly Roll Race: a Rail Fence quilt and a Chinese Coins quilt!
Rail Fence Quilt
Finished Size: 42″ x 50″
I cut the Jelly Roll Race quilt top into 10-inch columns, and set aside half for each baby quilt. For the Rail Fence block, I separated each column into strip sets of four. Each column had sixteen strips, so I got four blocks from each column with a total of 20 blocks. I squared each block to 8 inches, then arranged in a Rail Fence pattern. I liked this site for different layout ideas.
The Rail Fence panel measured 31″ x 38″ and I added six-inch borders of grey fabric on all sides. I quilted a simple grid by stitching in the ditch and used cheater binding to finish it up.
Chinese Coins Quilt
Finished Size: 42″ x 50″
From the other half of the Jelly Roll Race quilt top cut into 10-inch columns, I further sliced them into 4-inch columns. I used 3-inch strips of the same grey fabric for sashing. I found this tutorial helpful for layout ideas. I added six-inch borders of the grey fabric on all sides, and the quilt top was done!
I quilted another simple grid to tie it to the other baby quilt and used the cheater binding again to finish it off. This time I used a zig zag stitch to attach the binding, inspired by Stitched in Color’s tutorial, which I think will hold up in the wash better.
Two quilts for the price of one… I like it! Baby quilts are so much easier for my little home sewing machine to handle, so I didn’t mind losing the size of the original Jelly Roll Race quilt top. Plus, I still have plenty of scraps left over… who knows where they will end up in the future!
The best part about making twin quilts is that the colors matched my BFF’s beach wedding palette of coral and mint/aqua, so it seemed serendipitous that one should be for her and one for me. Now we each have one half, just like those BFF heart necklaces from middle school… how appropriate!
Woohoo for Pinterest… and I’m also linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday 🙂