Jelly roll quilt pattern – my serged quilt top

How to turn a simple jelly roll into an eyecatching quilt.  Ideal for beginners, no complicated blocks or angles.

Time to work on a new quilt top.  I had used the Moda Avant Garden jelly roll as serger practice, learning the ropes and getting the hours in on my new serger.  Some strips I had sewn without cutting off, some with just a small amount cut and others with a larger cut.


You can see the original article here about how I sewed all the strips together and what it looked like before cutting.

Not sure where to start? Feeling the fear? Check out these tips to get started with your new serger.

This resulted in a random collection of strips of different widths, just sewn straight as they came off the roll.  I loved the way it looked on the back – very neat and tidy, all the edges beautifully finished.  It was great practice for logging some starter hours on the serger.


So now I didn't want to put all that good fabric to waste and needed to make something from my serger practice piece.  Obviously with all that going on, clothing was out of the question, but as much as I try to stay away, I still do feel occasionally drawn to quilts and here seemed the perfect opportunity to use up that big piece and ‘design' a quilt of my very own.

I own a 12.5 inch square quilting ruler, so I used that with my rotary cutter and keeping the jelly roll lines on the diagonal of my ruler, I chopped up that one big piece into 12 large squares.


It was a pretty efficient way to use the piece.  I was able to cut 12 full size squares because they all butted up against each other.


Oliver helped out of course.  For some reason he shows no interest if I sew clothes or bags, but quilts – he goes crazy for and it takes me forever to get anything finished.  Of course as soon as Oliver falls asleep on anything, work stops for the day until he wakes up again.  Thankfully he was in playful mood today and I could distract him with some scraps to ‘hunt and kill'.


None of the other pieces went to waste either.  All of the triangles from the edges were gathered up and sewn together, then trimmed to size.  I was able to make another three 12.5 inch squares from these edge triangles.  Not decided what to do with these so far.  I certainly won't let them do to waste, but they don't match the other squares so I can't really use them in the quilt.  Perhaps I could simply use them to make some small pillow covers that match – sort of.



So now I have all of my squares, time to make them into a quilt top.  Because the strips are a random width, I tried simply placing them side by side, but the individual strips didn't exactly line up and it looked messy.  So I decided on some sashing – rows of solid color between the blocks.

I asked advice on the Facebook page and was inundated with so much great advice and suggestions from all the keen and experienced quilters out there. It seemed pretty evenly split between people preferring white, cream or black.  White gave a nice sharp contrast, cream perhaps better reflected the colors in the block fabrics and black gave a really intense pop to the colors. Ahhh, what to do?

PicMonkey Collage

In the end, I decided that I really liked the black, but went with the suggestion from several that the sashing was too wide, too dominant.  So I made the sashing strips narrower, took them from 2.5 inches wide down to 1.5 inches wide.  After the 1/4 inch seam allowance that made a 1 inch sashing between the blocks.

It was a quick and easy job to trim up the sashing with my ruler into the right width and then cut it to 12.5 inch lengths for between the blocks.


I used my 1/4 inch quilting foot for the sashing instead of the serger because it was important that these seams were accurate and serging could have caused a slip up – it goes so fast!.  When all the blocks were done on one direction, I used the same 1.5 inch black strip along the other direction too to join those rows together until I had a complete grid.


Once the blocks were broken up, I could get a better feel for the border.  I only wish I had more choice in the local store for quilting cottons. It would have been stunning with a turquoise or red I think, for the sashing and border, but well, I have to work with what I can get.  I still love it!

I used the black jelly roll again at the full 2.5 inch width for the border.  It's quite a small quilt really, and if I had some yardage that matched the jelly roll I could have made a nice wide border too, but well, I never planned this from the beginning, it was always just serger practice when it started out.


It measures about 55.5 inches by 42.5 inches.  Big enough to keep my side of the bed that bit warmer than hubby's side, but no doubt it will become Oliver's quilt because I don't suppose I'll be able to get him off it.  Not that we have much call for keeping warm with quilts here in Cayman so perhaps I'll list it in my Etsy shop for sale?  What do you think would be a reasonable price for it once finished?

How do you work out the selling price of your quilts?  Or do you all just sew them and keep them?

The Quilting

Having struggled to get two reasonably small quilts (here and here) through my regular sewing machine, in the heat and with a cat asleep on it most of the time, I've decided that although I enjoy making the quilt top, I don't enjoy so much the actual layering and quilting of the pieces.

Plus, I have met a lovely lady who comes here to Cayman a couple of times a year and scuba dives with my husband, and she has her own computerized long-arm quilting business, at Granny Sassy Designs.  Well hello!  I've seen examples of her quilting and I'm blown away so I've decided to send off this quilt to her in the mail and she'll work her magic and bring it in her case when she visits next in June.  Cheating I know, but my sewing time is short so I'm happy to do this and save my time for other projects I'll enjoy more – plus she'll do a much better job than I would!

This is Lucy – hard at work.

lucy rs

I'll report back then on what it looks like – gorgeous I'm sure!

How to make your own simple jelly roll quilt

So if you want to have a go at making your own jelly roll quilt pattern, like mine, here are the steps.

  1. Join all your jelly roll strips together, all 40 of them, to make one large piece of striped fabric.  Press all the seams in one direction.  Serging isn't necessary, use a 1/4 inch quilting foot.
  2. Use a 12.5 inch quilting ruler to cut out 12 large squares.  I cut mine on the diagonal.  Or cut your squares whatever size you like. Smaller would look cool too.
  3. Layout your blocks out on the floor or if you are lucky use a quilting wall, and decide how to lay them out to give what you think is a pleasing balance of color.  There is no right or wrong way, we are all different 🙂
  4. Decide on the width and color of your sashing.  I used a black jelly roll cut down to 1.5 inches wide. You can also just cut strips from fabric yardage.
  5. Add 12.5 inch long strips between your rows of blocks until you have 4 rows of 3 blocks.
  6. Join your rows together with the sashing in between, until you have a big piece 4 blocks by 3 blocks.
  7. Decide on the width of your outer border.  I used a black jelly roll again and left the strips at full width.  This quilt would look great with another border added again around the outside.  Consider buying some yardage to match your original jelly roll strips.
  8. Layer, quilt and bind your quilt or send it out to a professional for quilting.
  9. Enjoy your quilt for years to come.


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This is absolutely stunning. I’d love to find away to do something similar with a jelly roll rather than having to make the long piece of joined fabric first. Maybe a few strips at a time sewn to the width of a single 12.5 x 12.5 ??? Just a thought.

Shirley Caldwell
Shirley Caldwell

I have learned so much when I read your bits quilting,sewing, applique, and your dear cat…I too kept looking at my serger,everytime I walked pass it..WELL,now I have two sergers.keep one for a fancy rolled edge and the first one 3/4 out great..Shirley

Pam @Threading My Way

Love your quilt, Deby. The design you have created is really eye catching. Well done on turning serger practice into a quilt, especially since you’re trying to stay away from quilting.

Pam @Threading My Way

Featured today, Deby…

Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

Deby, the quilt turned out great!

Scarlett Burroughs

Hi Deby. I love your post so hard, I featured it over at Craft Gossip. Here’s the link to the gossip:



Well, it seems that you are an expert in creating this beautiful colored quilt, and I am pleased because I found new things about this job.
Btw, the black cat is a cutie,


First off, young lady, ALL cats are quilt inspectors. It’s in their nature, ya know!

Second, it is NOT cheating! People like different things. Some like sewing tops, some like filling those tops with beautiful designs. It is rare that someone really likes and is good at both parts. That’s why you can find many tops for sale on line. And why you find so many longarm services. Why should you torture yourself spending time on the parts you don’t like, struggle with, and maybe don’t get the results you wanted in the first place? It’s the 80/20 principle for quilting. You spend 20% of your time doing the 80% that you are good at, Then you spend 80% of your time on the 20% that you don’t like/aren’t good at. You’ve simply learned not to waste 80% of that time, and to concentrate on what you’re good at!