How to Use a Jelly Roll & Layer Cake to Make a Quilt

fabric swatches image by Empath from

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric jelly roll
  • Fabric layer cake
  • Rotary cutter
  • Clear quilt ruler
  • Self-healing cutting board
  • Sewing machine
  • Tape measure
  • Quilt batting
  • 4 yards cotton muslin fabric
  • Safety pins

As delicious as they sound, fabric jellyrolls and layer cakes are terms for precut assortments of complementary quilt fabric sold in specialty quilt stores. Purchasing the assortments eliminates searching for quilt fabric that will be combined in a patchwork design and gives quilters a head start on pattern cutting. Jellyrolls are usually 40 strips of 44-inch long and 2 1/2-inch wide fabric and layer cakes are 10-inch squares of fabric. This uncomplicated pattern will use both.

Stack two jelly rolls on top of each other, matching edges. Cut the jelly roll strips into 2 1/2-inch squares, using the rotary cutter and ruler on the self-healing mat.

Create a four-patch square by sewing two different fabric squares together and then two more with a 1/4-inch seam. Sew the two-patch rectangles to each other in a checkerboard design.

Repeat, cutting all the jelly roll squares and combing them into 4-inch four-patches.

Sew the four-patches together with 1/4-inch seams to create the quilt top size of your choice.

Cut the layer cake squares in half and sew them together lengthwise to create a patchwork border for the quilt. Sew the borders to the four-patch quilt with a 1/4-inch seam.

Measure the completed quilt and cut the quilt batting and muslin backing to match. Stack all three layers on a flat surface and safety pin every 4-inches in each direction to secure.

Top stitch through all layers with small hand-stitches at the seam lines. Sew a 2-inch wide binding strip to the top edge of the quilt top. Fold over the binding 1/2-inch twice and hand stitch it to the back of the quilt.


  • “Super Simple Jelly Roll Quilts”; Alex Anderson; C & T Publishing, Inc.; 2010
  • “Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts”; Pam Lintott; David & Charles; 2009

About the Author

Linda Shepard has been staff writer for "C & G Newspapers" for over 10 years, covering local government and crime and serving as the newspaper's food writer. She has written for "Michigan Meetings Magazine" and is also the owner of, an online business of self-guided walking tours.

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