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What is a Jelly Roll Quilt, and How Do You Make One?

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Learn all about jelly roll quilts with this comprehensive guide to quilting with precuts. We’ll cover everything there is to know about jelly rolls, including how to make a jelly roll quilt and the best easy jelly roll quilt patterns for beginners.

two stacked fabric jelly rolls in multi colors on a grid cutting mat
Image credit

All About Jelly Rolls

A jelly roll is a bundle of precut fabric strips, which are often used to make quilts and other sewing projects.

Jelly roll strips are accurately cut ahead of time, saving you from hours of rotary cutting. And, the strips all come from the same fabric collection – so you know the colors and prints will coordinate together.

The great thing about jelly rolls is they cut down on fabric prep time so that you can get to the fun part – sewing the quilt top – a lot faster.

If you love piecing and sewing, but not necessarily measuring and cutting, jelly rolls are a great way to speed up your quilt-making process.

Quilting with Jelly Rolls

In this blog post, we’ll go into detail about what is jelly roll fabric, what is a jelly roll quilt, how to make a jelly roll quilt, and the best free jelly roll quilt patterns available. So, if you’re looking to get started with a quilting project or simply want some new quilt pattern ideas, keep reading.

Related Posts: If you enjoy making quilts, check out some of these free quilting tutorials.

What is a jelly roll?

A jelly roll is a bundle of fabric strips that measure 2 1/2″ wide by 44″-45″ long. Most jelly roll bundles contain 40 strips of fabric in a variety of coordinating colors and prints. These pre-cut fabric bundles are perfect for making quick and easy sewing projects!

The fabric strips are made of high-quality quilting cotton. They are most commonly cut from standard-size bolts, so they measure 44″ to 45″ long.

Generally, jelly roll strips are packaged in a rolled-up bundle. The packaged fabric looks like a cinnamon roll or donut – which is how they got their name!

You can purchase jelly rolls from many fabric companies, including Moda Fabrics, Robert Kauffman, Riley Blake, and more. Some popular suppliers include Fat Quarter Shop and Etsy.

2 multicolor fabric jelly roll bundles on a grid cutting mat
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Other Names for Jelly Rolls

The term “jelly roll” was coined by Moda Fabrics to describe their pre-cut bundles of 2 1/2″ wide fabric strips. Other fabric companies have different names for their jelly rolls. Here are a few examples:

  • Moda -Jelly Roll
  • Free Spirit – Design Roll
  • Riley Blake – Rolie Polie
  • Robert Kaufman Fabrics – Roll Up
  • Island Batik – Strip Sets
  • Wilmington Prints – 40 Karat Gems

What are jelly rolls used for?

Jelly rolls are often used for quilting, but you can also use them in other sewing projects. Other popular jelly roll projects include:

  • Throw pillows
  • Table runners
  • Bags and fabric pouches

If you have any extra strips left over after making a gorgeous quilt, you can use your jelly roll scraps to make one of the smaller projects listed above.

Why You’ll Love Using Jelly Rolls

Quilters love using fabric precuts, such as jelly rolls, charm packs, and layer cakes, because they decrease cutting time, speed up sewing time, and generally make quilting easier.

As mentioned above, jelly rolls come in a variety of colors and prints – so you can use them for just about any quilting project.

Jelly rolls are the perfect shortcut to sewing projects because they eliminate all that tedious cutting! Instead of needing to cut dozens of individual pieces, you simply select a strip of fabric from a jelly roll.

There are many other reasons why quilters love these pre-cut bundles, including:

Variety of fabrics: Jelly rolls often come with 40 strips in a variety of coordinating colors and prints. Since all the strips are from the same fabric line, it’s easy to mix different fabrics together. Jelly rolls make it easy to combine fabrics as much as you want, without worrying they won’t match!  

Quick piecing: Because the fabric strips are precut, you don’t need to spend a long time cutting individual pieces for each part of your project! Jelly rolls are a life-saver if you’re pressed for time or simply find it difficult to cut fabric.

Faster quilting: While you can certainly cut your own strips from fabric yardage, precut jelly roll strips make things go a lot faster! Precut bundles like jelly rolls, charm packs, and layer cakes give you more time for sewing and less time for tedious tasks, like measuring or cutting.

Making Your Own Jelly Roll Strips

If you’d prefer to go the DIY route, you can make your own jelly roll strips from fabric you already have. (This can be a great way to get extra use out of your fabric stash!)

To make your own jelly roll strips, cut 2 1/2-inch wide strips from fabric yardage. Most people prefer to cut strips of fabric from selvage to selvage, or across the width of the fabric (WOF). This will give you strips that measure 2 1/2 inches by 44″.

What is a jelly roll quilt?

A jelly roll quilt is simply a quilt made with pre-cut jelly roll fabrics. Jelly roll quilts can be simple or more complicated, modern or traditional. It all depends on the pattern.

Most jelly roll quilts tend to be simple, though – so they’re perfect for beginning quilters or advanced crafters looking for quick projects.

colorful quilt made with jelly roll fabric strips
Image credit

How to Sew A Jelly Roll Quilt

There are many different ways that you can make a jelly roll quilt! Generally, a jelly roll quilt is created by piecing the fabric strips together to create a patchwork design.

The quilting process is the same as sewing a regular patchwork project with typical fabric yardage – the only difference is that the pre-cut jelly roll strips save you a lot of preparation time.

How many jelly rolls does it take to make a quilt?

The number of jelly rolls you need to make a quilt depends on a few things:

  1. the size of the quilt
  2. the number of strips in each jelly roll bundle
  3. the quilt pattern (remember: more cuts mean more seams – which means more fabric lost in the seam allowances.)

Let’s assume you are buying a standard jelly roll containing 40 strips measuring 2 1/2 ” by 44″ long. In that case, you would need at least 1 jelly roll for a baby quilt or lap quilt, 2 jelly rolls for a twin-size quilt, and 3 jelly rolls for a queen-size quilt.

Easy Jelly Roll Quilts

One of the best things about using jelly rolls is that you can combine the strips in almost endless variations to create a variety of patterns.

The three most common jelly roll quilt patterns include:

  1. Jelly Roll Race Quilt: This is one of my favorite jelly roll quilts to recommend to people short on time. It’s one of the fastest ways to make baby quilts.
  2. Jelly Roll Rail Fence: If you are a beginner, this pattern is one of the first quilts I’d recommend.
  3. Jelly Roll Log Cabin: Log cabin blocks are beautiful traditional quilt blocks that can be arranged in countless ways. You can sew a classic Log Cabin quilt using 2 1/2 inch strips of pre-cut strips from a jelly roll.

Jelly Roll Bargello Quilts

Another way to use jelly rolls is to make bargello quilts. Bargello quilts are made by sewing jelly roll strips together in a specific order to create an illusion of movement. Check out this free tutorial for a jelly roll bargello pattern.

Modern Jelly Roll Quilt Patterns

Since jelly rolls are so versatile, you can use them to make all sorts of cool, modern quilt patterns. 

Here are some of my favorite modern jelly roll quilts:

1. “Madeline” Quilt Pattern

Here’s a simple – but beautiful! – jelly roll quilt pattern that I’d recommend to beginners. It’s a fun, fast, patchwork pattern that is definitely precut-friendly! 

2. “Jelly Rings” Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

This jelly roll-friendly quilt pattern is good for beginners and experts alike. It’s easy to piece and a lot of fun! This fun and modern pattern goes together quickly, especially because you’ll be strip piecing short cuts of fabric.

3. Jelly Weave Quilt Pattern

This fun pattern is perfect for showing off your favorite jelly roll fabrics in a modern quilt design. It uses a really clever technique to create a woven effect with jelly roll strips.

For even more jelly roll quilt patterns, check out this article: The Best Jelly Roll Quilt Patterns.

The next time you’re looking for a free pattern to make with jelly rolls, I hope you’ll give one of these free tutorials a try!

pinterest image for jelly roll quilts

What’s Next?

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Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Thank you for this info. This will definitely help.