Workshop Wednesday: Strip-Pieced Quilts


I’m going to get straight to the point in this blog post. Labor Day fast approaching, summer is quickly coming to an end, and the Christmas countdown has begun. This means one thing to quilters: it’s time to get a move on with making holiday gifts.

I have barely made a dent in my list of quilts I want to make to give as gifts this year, so I’m definitely feeling the pressure. This is probably why we’ve been focusing on quilts you can make with various precut bundles over the past few Workshop Wednesday blog posts—we figure we’re not alone in needing ideas for attractive quilt patterns that go together quickly.


Waterfall, designed by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes for McCall’s Quilting, made by Mary Kate Karr-Petras with Latitude batiks by Kate Spain for Moda

Today we’re putting the focus on strip-pieced quilts that can be made with precut 2½” strips. These precut bundles are often referred to as jelly rolls, which is Moda Fabrics’ brand name for their strips, but which have lots of different names these days depending on the manufacturer.

Regardless of name, rolls of 2½” strips usually contain approximately 40 strips that are cut 2½” across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage. Having them precut is a great timesaver, especially considering the multitude of quilt patterns written for them.
For example, last year I made Waterfall for my in-laws using a jelly roll of the Latitude collection by Kate Spain for Moda and was actually able to finish it in time for Christmas. You can read more about my experience making this pattern and some of my tips here.

With that, let’s take a look at some strip-piecing video tutorials on how to use 2½” strips.

First things first: you need the proper technique. In this McCall’s Quilting tutorial, Kathy Patterson demonstrates what you need to know to strip piece accurately, including tips on how to cut straight strips if you’re not using precut strips, and how to piece and press the strips to make sure everything ends up the correct size without wonkiness.

You may have heard of jelly roll race quilts. What are they, you ask? Well, Mary Fons describes the basics of jelly roll race quilts in an episode of her free video series “Quilty.” Click here to view the episode for free.

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Learn the basics of jelly roll race quilts from Mary Fons!

In this episode of “My First Quilt,” Sara Gallegos shows how to make the Streamers quilt pattern using precut 2½” strips. It’s an easy variation on a jelly roll race quilt that results in a sleek, contemporary look. Click here to view the entire “My First Quilt” series for free.

Katy Jones, aka “The Quilt Monkey,” did a three-part series on how to make an easy Strip-Pieced Postage Stamp Quilt. In this first part, she covers what to expect with a “sushi roll” (the brand name for 2½” strips used by Lecien Fabrics) and how to get started making the first block.

In the second “Quilt Monkey” video, Katy demonstrates the second block. It will take a bit more brain power than the first, so grab a coffee, put your thinking caps on, grab some solids and let’s sew some more strips!

And in the third “Quilt Monkey” installment, Katy covers how to finish the Postage Stamp Quilt, including using leftover strips for a scrappy binding.

In this “Quilting Quickly” tutorial, Colleen Tauke and Jean Nolte demonstrate how to make the easy Cool Water quilt using 2½” strips.

And in this “Quilting Quickly” video, Colleen demonstrates a super-fast baby quilt called Howdy.

For a more traditional quilt made with 2½” strips, take a look at the Miss Stacey pattern  in this “Quilting Quickly” tutorial.

In an early episode of “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting,” Liz and Marianne demonstrated how to press strips and strip sets and how to use strip units to make three different patchwork quilt blocks. While they’re not using precut strips (considering this is from their second season, I think this episode was taped before jelly rolls were a thing), they still have some great tips for how to make and get the most out of your strip sets. You can view the full episode here.

DPQQP170909 Workshop Wednesday: Strip Pieced QuiltsReaders of McCall’s Quick Quilts might recognize Celestial designed by Carolyn Beam from the August/September 2017 issue. It’s a beautiful blue-and-white throw quilt made with Indigo Dreams batiks from Timeless Treasures Fabrics and a solid white background, a perennially popular combination.

So there are some ideas to get you started on using 2½” precut strips to make a quick quilt. I may be back with some more ideas before long, though—there lot of great patterns out there and lots of great people to make quilts for. Let’s get strip piecing!

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