Sew-EASY scrappy log cabin quilt block tutorial…

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Wow, I can NOT believe the response to my cheeky request to have you guys help me make a scrappy log cabin quilt for my bed! You guys are seriously awesome & I’m SO excited that soon I will have a little piece of each of you collaborated into one heck of a special quilt! How so honoured am I feeling right now!

Anyway, whether you plan to make this for me, you, or just because… let me show you how to make a scrappy log cabin block…

This must be THE easiest quilt block I know. Absolutely perfect for a beginner quilter to start with as there is really very little, if not even NO way that it could go wrong & not look fabulous at the end! But fun for anybody. You can also achieve this block without even having a rotary cutter & ruler OR having any idea how to sew a 1/4 inch seam. Yes, really & truly it is that easy – in which case there are no excuses not to give them a try! So just a little disclaimer before we begin…

** Disclaimer: These blocks are known to be highly addictive. Therefore I take no responsiblity in any shape or form if this tutorial starts a new found love & addiction of scrappy log cabin blocks. Sew them at your own risk…
…. you read it here peeps so don’t come complaining to me at the end if you turn out to love them so! 😉 LOL…

OK, to make this block you will need:

**   A rotary cutter, cutting mat & ruler OR simply a standard ruler, pen/pencil & some scissors which will cut fabric
**   A selection of bright, interesting scraps, cut into strips of different lengths and widths.
**   A sewing machine (well technically you could hand sew if you wish, but since hand sewing & I don’t get on I’m sorry I have not catered for instructions for you…)
**  White good quality quilting or all purpose thread (the good quality bit is I’m afraid important because we don’t want the blocks to fall apart in the wash do we?!)

Step 1: Choosing your fabric

Go through your scraps & find some suitable to use for your block… we want to aim to have a bunch of bright scraps with a mixture of monocramatic (one colour) prints, dual colour & multi colour prints. A mixture of light & dark is also good too… this will give the block good balance at the end.

You will obviously not need this many – but I like to start with a fairly big selection so that I can whittle them down to the ones that look best as I go around…

We also need scraps of varying length – some up to 16 or more inches long. They can be any width between 1.5 inches & 3.5 inches and anything in between. The beauty of this block is that it just does not matter what width you are using! In fact it really looks best when the widths are all mixed up…

Step 2: Cutting your fabric
You don’t actually need to cut all your fabric up yet – but I will mention how to do it in this step so that you know how to do it as we go on.
So for this block we need our scraps to be cut into strips of varying lengths. The sides need to be straight & also parallel to each other. That will result in nice straight looking blocks. You can make this block intentionally wonky too if you like for a different effect – but today we are focusing on a straight one…
If you have a rotary cutter then cut your strips & square up as we go along as you normally would.
If you do not have a rotary cutter then you can achieve the same result simply by drawing parallel lines on your fabric using a standard HB pencil. Then cut them along the parallel lines into strips using sharp scissors. Again, just make sure that you make the strips nice & straight with parallel lines…

Step 3: Getting started

We start this block with a square or rectangle. I tend to make it a bit of a fussy cut/feature print to add interest, but really it doesn’t matter too much. The rectangle should not be smaller than 2.5 inches on any side & not bigger than about 6 inches on any one side…

5×5 inch square
Step 4: Adding our logs…

Find or cut a log the same length as one of the sides. I tend to start on the right side & work anti-clockwise (out of habit) but it really doesn’t matter where you start.

Lay your log upside down (so that the right sides are together) on the side you are wanting to join it to.

Sew down that side to join the pieces, keeping the edge of your fabric lined up with the edge of your presser foot to result in a straight seam.

Note: I use 1/4 inch standard quilting seam, but it really doesn’t matter what you use for this particular block. If you don’t know how to do 1/4 inch you can have your needle in the middle of the presser foot too, that is ok. It will result in a slightly wider seam, but since there is no seam matching in this block then it doesn’t matter, nothing will get upset by it…

Also you do not need to secure your stitches at either the beginning or the end. Just start sewing and go for it…

Once you have sewn down your seam to join them, open it up and press it open nice & flat with the iron.

Add the next log to one of the sides in the same fashion:  cut log to length, right sides together, sew down, press open…

Notice how my top seam goes off a bit wonky because I was a bit lazy with my cutting?
Easy to fix! just square it back up…

You can do the same thing if you cut your log a bit short too – just cut off the overhang to fix it.

Then add the next log & so on – either going around anti-clockwise like me, or clockwise. As long as you’re consistent then it doesn’t matter…

and so on & so on etc… etc… until you get a block that is over 15 inches square in each direction…
Here are the two I made tonight as an example…

Step 5: Square up your blocks…

If you are making this for you, then at this point square off your blocks using your cutting mat & ruler, cutting off the surplus to whatever size you are choosing to work with.

However, if you are making this block to send to me then skip this step…. As long as the block measures over 15 inches on both sides then don’t worry about straightening or squaring it up. I will do that at the end when they’re all together so that I can make them all the same 🙂

Some tips:

**  Try & really mix up the widths of the strips
**  The most interesting blocks are where there are no repeated prints (i.e. all the strips are of different fabrics)
**  Try & think about how the colours are balancing as you go around. Sometimes I find it useful to do a dark round, a lighter round, a dark round, a lighter round – you can kind of see that in the block above on the right.
**  Another way to do it is do a monochromatic round, a colourful round and so on…
**  Starting with nice straight strips will result in a neater finish and allow more room for sewing errors (cause lets face it, it’s darn near impossible to sew straight!)

A few things about blocks being sent to me:

If you have offered to make a block to send to me then thank you so much!! I will really treasure having your contribution! Just a few things about me & what I would like to receive (or will otherwise politely decline…):

Suitable kinds of fabrics:
100% cotton crafting/quilting fabrics
Linen or Cotton/Linen blend fabrics
Recycled clothing (e.g. mens shirts), Vintage sheets, aprons, curtains etc… as long as they are 100% cotton & of good quality (in other words this quilt will be well used so they need to survive frequent washing…).

Suitable prints:
Bright, happy, cheerful prints. If you can make the centre block something interesting & one or two of the other logs then that would really be very appreciated, but is not compulsory.

My favourite colours and prints (just to give you a rough guide more than anything) are: dots of all kinds, geometric prints, prints with a bit of interest – such as script/writing etc… vintage florals. I love birds, butterflies, russian dolls, teacups & teapots. So if you have any of those to include then that’s a bonus…

Fabric & prints to which I will politely decline inclusion of…
Other fabric types not mentioned above especially anything with polyester or man made fibres
Anything with halloween prints, ghouls, ghosts etc… & other religious icons
Lots of dark colours and lots of brown
I’m not a huge fan of pastel colours either – but it doesn’t matter if there are a couple of pastel logs, as long as the whole block isn’t pastel…
I’m also not really a fan of civil war reproduction prints

Otherwise, surprise me. The beauty of this quilt is that it will have so many different types of fabric in, from so many different people! I’d especially love you to add a little piece of fabric that really symbolises you or is special to you or your country & then tell me about it and why it’s special to you when you sent it. That will make it special to me too…

And first & foremost I hope you have fun learning a new quilt block!!

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Instructions noted and I will now proceed with log cabin in bright varied 100% cotton fabric, just like Shay said, easy peasy! This will be fun! You’re in luck as I don’t own any religious or halloween fabric, civil war or much at all in the way of pastels. I do have brown but will avoid them like the plague, lol.

  2. I’ll be sorting thru’ some scraps & such for this tonight…but probably won’t start on it until the weekend as I MUST FINISH my kitty quilt. It’s going to be raffled off on Friday night! Yikes!

  3. I’ve never attempted a quilt and was recently bitten by the quilting bug 😉 So happy to hear this is one of the easiest kinds of quilts because they are my favorite! Love your fabric choices, too.

  4. I’m working on a log cabin right now and I say the very best thing is be sure and starch and iron as you go! It really makes it so much easier.

  5. I have loved your scrappy log cabin blocks, they look fun and easy to make.I have one question for you. I have been a patchworker for many years and probably should know the reason but i have always ironed my seams to one side or the other I have never ironed them open out flat. Have i misunderstood your instructions or is there a reason for this.? I would love to hear from you because I am wanting to start my quilt very soon. You have inspired me to have a go with bright colours. thanks

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