I first discovered the joy of jelly rolls many years ago when I first started working on Today’s Quilter magazine. Until then, the idea of making quilts with pre-cuts was a little alien to me. Yes ok, quilts were something I sometimes made using fat quarters, occasionally coveted from fabric shops, blissfully rummaged on holidays and shopping trips in Bath, England where I was living at the time. But I only came across a jelly roll for the first time when I joined the quilt publishing and discovered oh what a world awaited of beautifully pre-rolled, pre-cut fabric collections.
There are many benefits to working on a quilt magazine but the sheer volume of exciting fabrics we got to fondle and photograph in the quilts and news pages we featured was high on my list. We featured fabrics from some of the best loved fabric brands and I soon discovered a whoel universe of clever ways to cut and piece these strips of fabric into elaborate quilt tops.
Then on a recent chat to a friend who also quilts, we got on to the topic of jelly rolls and she’d never come across them before. After a quick chat and a dive into Pinterest board inspiration, she quickly became hooked and I added another 100 quilt ideas to my list of “quilts I want to make one day” list.
So why make a quilt from a jelly roll? Well it depends what floats your boat but for many of us, we love sewing the quilt top but could happily skip a bit of time in the fabric prep. The beauty of jelly rolls is they come cut for you, and cut accurately, and all the prints in a jelly roll come from the same fabric range so they’ll coordinate instantly. They also come in a wide variety of designs, from some of the top contemporary Moda Fabric designers to batik effect fabrics (hot stuff in the quilting world as we type) or for solids fans, check out the collection of Robert Kaufman half rolls – a pack of pre-cut solid shades in variegated tones of one colour (or rainbow shades).
In this round up I’ve included a feast of free jelly roll quilt patterns to inspire you , alongside a few of my favourite patterns to buy too. Now I’ve written this article for you, it’s probably time I finish the three jelly roll quilts I’ve started in the past year!
What is a jelly roll quilt?
A jelly roll is a roll of pre-cut strips of fabrics. Each fabric in the roll measures 2½ x 42–44 in and there are usually around 40 fabric strips in a roll. The fabrics often all share a united colour theme or design, or are part of the same fabric collection, so when you make a quilt from a jelly roll you know the fabrics will all match up and look beautiful.
As all the fabric pieces are cut to size for you, jelly rolls are a really nifty way to speed up making your quilts. If you love the sewing but don’t enjoy spending ages measuring and cutting fabric scraps, jelly rolls are for you.
Jelly rolls got their name from Moda fabrics, who coined the term to describe their rolled packs of pre-cut fabrics from their popular fabric collections by well-known designers for quilters. The absolute best thing about them? There are hundreds of different ways you can twist, turn and combine the strips to make different patterns. Here’s our favourites…
Where to buy jelly rolls for quilting
We like these places and brands to shop for jelly roll inspiration…
- Etsy – have a great range of jelly rolls available online, including some beautiful on-trend batiks
- Ebay – they’ll never compete with our love of a good fabric shop, but if you’re on the hunt for jelly rolls it’s worth checking them out. Check the product descriptions before you buy.
- Cotton Patch – Large range of Moda Jelly rolls and some beautiful Robert Kaufman Kona half rolls
- Fat Quarter Shop – the US online store has a huge range of Moda Jelly rolls in some of their most popular fabric collections
- Create and Craft – have a small but beautiful range of modern Jelly Rolls for quilting
- Joann – good for classic fabric jelly rolls
Jelly roll quilt patterns to try
Jelly roll quilt pattern
Jo Avery gives log cabin quilts a granny square feel with this beautiful quilt pattern from Love Patchwork & Quilting. And it’s free here on Gathered!
Sew Rail Fence quilt blocks
Rail Fence quilt blocks are one of the simplest quilt blocks to sew for beginners and they’re perfect for jelly rolls. You basically sew 4 fabric strips together and then cut down into squares. Piece them together at angles for a quick patchwork quilt. DIY joy has this tutorial below.
Jelly Roll Twist quilt
This variation on the rail fence block from the Fat Quarter Shop blog includes great step by step instructions to talk you through how to make it.
Cutting corners – triangles jelly roll quilt
Quilt queen Jenny Doan has a brilliant video tutorial for how to make this beautiful triangles jelly roll quilt – find it over on Missouri Star Blog.
Sew zigzag love hearts
This is a super sweet quilt pattern, from Hopes Quilt Designs on Etsy, is a really clever way of turning pre-cut fabrics into a beautiful quilt design.
Come What May – Twisted quilt
By cleverly grouping strips of different fabric shades you can create a quilt pattern with a sense of movement and texture. You can make it as a baby or lap quilt and the pattern includes colour diagrams to show you through how to piece the quilt, step by step.
Stoplight rectangles quilt
If you’re ready to level up and get playful with your jelly rolls, this clever quilt pattern could be the one for you. Colleen Tauke shows you how to make this beautiful quilt with a bohemian twist over at Quilting Daily.
Sew tumbling blocks for a clever effect
Tumbling blocks are a great patchwork quilt block to transform your jelly roll strips into eye-bendingly good quilt tops, as you combine diamonds cut from jelly rolls and place light and dark tones together to create shadow and depth from your patchwork. See our guide to how to sew set-in seams.
Grow jelly roll flowers
Corey Yoder’s Tulip Market quilt for Moda is a beautiful way to use traditional quilt piecing to turn jelly roll strips into a garden-full of patchwork blooms.
Rainbow Rails Jelly Roll Quilt
AQS blog has got a really clever rainbow quilt pattern which looks deceptively complicated but is actually just a twist on the classic rail fence quilt blocks pictured above. Find out how it’s done…
Jelly Weave Quilt Pattern
One for all those of you who have got a bit of quilting experience under your belts, this clever strip quilt by Allison Harris from Cluck Cluck Sew looks trickier than it is to make. You sew large quilt blocks and set them on point (at a diagonal angle) for a clever interweaving effect.
Sweet sixteen quilt pattern
We’ve found your perfect beginner jelly roll quilt with this easy-to-piece checkerboard quilt from Fabric Addict Canada on Etsy.
Sweet pastels quilt
Inspired by that iconic retro candy, the liquorice allsort, Angie Wilson’s sugar-sweet quilt is perfect for pepping up your sofa and uses jelly rolls for the coloured fabric with white fabric for the background. The pattern was published in issue 27 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine
Get the pattern from the digital issue 27 of Love Patchwork & Quilting
For extra drama boost – try a bargello quilt
With their design, based on small squares of fabric, Bargello quilts are a perfect choice for jelly roll quilting and they’re surprisingly simple to sew, despite the huge drama impact of the finished quilt. Luckily we’ve got a how to guide from Today’s Quilter magazine to show you the ropes…
Free baby jelly roll quilt pattern
Pick a jelly roll of sweet pastel prints and combine it with on trend linen to make Alice Hadley’s classic baby quilt (designed for Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine).
Back to school quilt
Today’s Quilter magazine featured this beautiful houses quilt pattern by Pam and Nicky Lintott of The Quilt Room in issieu 5. It’s inspired by an antique schoolhouse quilt block. It’s made from a jelly roll plus background fabric.
Sugar skull quilt pattern
Natalie Santini’s sugar skull quilt was first featured in Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine and now you can find out how to make it here on Gathered with our step by step guide. It uses one jelly roll and backing fabric.
Pathways jelly roll quilt pattern
If you’re looking for a quilt project to really curl up and get your teeth stuck into, this beautiful classic jelly roll quilt from Sherri Quilts is traditional quilt pattern, perfect for jelly rolls and pre-cut fabrics, which looks instantly modern by opting for fresh, contemporary fabric prints.
Jelly strip stash buster quilt
Reach for your brightest jelly rolls and prepare for some seriously satisfying patchwork piecing with this jelly roll quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew, based on a tutorial from Film in the Fridge.
Batik braid quilt tutorial
We’ve had a bit of a thing for chevron quilts for many years, so we’re excited to share that Reanna Lily Designs’s braided quilt pattern – perfect for jelly roll quilts.