Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kids - A Lifetime of Quilting in a Few Hours: The Jelly Roll Quilt

If you have basic sewing skills you can be an awesome mom that quilts.

Hear me out!

I hear that it is hard to toss out all those cute little outfits. I hear people get hung up on separating with the memories those little outfits hold. And sometimes you want to hold on to them - but wow what a bunch of clutter that can develop!

I have a solution for you and it works for children of all ages (even grown ups!) - the Homemade Jelly Roll Quilt. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, the 'jelly roll' quilt is a basic strip quilt. And that's really all it is. You take strips of fabric (all the same width and mostly the same length) and you sew them together. No matching, no planning really, very simple. Most people can do it in about a day. The HARDEST part is cutting the strips because
1) You need a lot of strips
2) They need to be the same size
3) Most people just buy the strips in a 'jelly roll' and so it's named the jelly roll quilt.

BUT what if you could take something that means a lot to you (the tiny clothes you don't want to part with) and embrace your procrastination in a way that WORKS for you? I assume you procrastinate because I do. ;D

Here is how it works. Get a box (Our girls have cute round hat boxes with their names inside) take clothes you KNOW are either too stained or worn, or you just hate to part with it - you know there are a few of them somewhere) but the kids are too big for and you wouldn't in a million years want to give it away. Okay. Now you need to turn it into one or more jelly roll strips.

"By definition, a Jelly Roll is a collection of 2 1/2" wide by 44" long fabric strips which come in a roll, usually with one strip from each print in a collection." -

Don't have small feet running around to give you an excuse to cut up and make a jelly roll quilt? Not to fear, has thoughts on that too - "One good way to build a supply of Jelly Roll strips is to cut a strip from every new fabric purchased." Great idea!

Just take the one or two or seven strips, however many you made from your new fabric or the clothes you've decided to preserve into a quilt, and stick them in your hat box (make sure they are labeled if you are working on more than one!) Tada! You're done! If you do it a little at a time, the hatbox will slowly fill. Just keep adding more strips as clothes are grown out of. When it starts to get crowded, just start to turn them into a 'jelly roll' to save space and keep on going!

When it is time all you need is a sewing machine with a basic straight stitch and a few free hours. I've heard of some people sitting down and sewing it all together in an hour or two. It's really very simple.

Now how awesome are you, Mom? You didn't hoard those mountains of clothes, you cut them up and made them into a beautiful quilt that you can give your teenager some day or keep for yourself when they have fluttered on out of the nest. Great for tshirts through highschool - you could end up with blankets for every room of any house they'll ever live in!'s not that hard!

The best tips I have to offer - Use a piece of cardboard as a template for all your jellyroll strips and keep it in the hatbox. This keeps them all the same. Try for the same materials if possible - all tshirt/jersey, etc. and last but not least - avoid a quilt of nothing but jean/denim - wow what a way to wear out a machine! lol

I hope this gave you some ideas, sparked some creativity and maybe helps you cut down on a little bit of small-children-clothing clutter. And the end result - recycle, reuse, reduce - Say hello to a quilt full of memories.

And remember - it's not cheating to just go out and buy a jellyroll to make a quilt! Nobody says you have to stash away strips over the years in order to end up with a beautiful quilt! But now you know how easy they are to make!

Final tip - Not a pro at backing? Me neither. Option one: Get a lightweight blanket and stitch it to the back of your quilt to 'finish' it - I say cheat all the way! Have the extra funds to spare? Contact a quilter - many will back your quilt as a service they provide. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

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