Jelly Roll Race! A Quilt Top in Less Than an Hour!


Hi I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company and today we’re going to conquer the jelly roll race. This is going to be so much fun! A while ago I was up in a little shop in Iowa. It was called “Quilt With Me” it’s in Luca and I walked into the shop and I saw this quilt that was all just strips sewn together with the slashes. Didn’t know what was going on, and the lady showed me how to do it, and I asked “Can I tutorial this?”

Well now it’s been a lot on the web, there’s a lot of jelly roll racing going on, on the web, but I wanted to show you first-hand how to do this, because this is so much fun!

If you ever want a quilt top that you can do from start to finish in about 45 minutes, this is the one for you! Take a look at this one behind me. This one is so much fun because this is “Meadow Friends” by Moda and Meadow Friends has a boy line and a girl line. So you can just pick up a Jelly Roll and know that it’s all going to coordinate boy or it’s all going to coordinate girl.

Here’s one over here that’s made with “Swiss Chocolate by Robert Kaufmann” and one of the things I love about the Jelly Roll race is that it does a great job of showing the line. Look at all the different fabrics in this line, and yet it’s just beautiful. I mean it’s just really pretty!

Now I have another one over here I want to show you one more really quick and this one is the Moda Line “Amelia” by Me and My Sister and if I could have some help holding this up over here that’d be great! This is my husband Ron. He’s my best helper. It’s good to have a tall husband when you need these kinds of things. Isn’t this so much fun? Take a look at that it just shows all the different strips it’s just quick and easy. You’re just going to love this!

OK, for this project what you’re going to need is a Jelly Roll lots of us have Jelly Rolls and we’re not exactly sure what to do with them sometimes, and this is a fun one, “The Pezzy Print” by American Jane, and you’re also going to need your scissors. That’s really all you’re going to need to complete this project.

OK, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to open this Jelly Roll and we’re going to leave it intact the way it comes on the roll. So, we’re going to find the end of it here. There we go, and we’re just going to open it up like this and lay it down, and we’re going to start sewing these together. So, what I’m going to do is I’m going to bring my sewing machine over here.

You’re going to want to make sure you have several bobbins wound because really all you do is sew. I mean you’re just going to sew, sew, sew, sew, sew, sew. We’re going to attach all these together. You’re going to bring your Jelly Roll over here by your sewing machine and these strips are going to go together just as they came off the Jelly Roll. We’re going to put them together just as they came off and we’re going to put them together like this and we’re going to sew corner to corner on the forty-five. (The opposite forty-five degree angle from what Jenny is pointing out. Simply sew your strips together like you would for binding.) So, you just want to make sure that you sew corner to corner on the forty-five. We’re going to sew all these strips together. So, you’re going to have 1600 inches of strips that go way out there! I mean it’s just going to be this one long Jelly Roll strip. So, let’s go back and let me show you how we do this. How we attach these, so you can see them real easy.

OK, so, get comfy behind your sewing machine. Again we’re going to sew our strips together one after the other, after the other, and we’re just going to sew at the forty-five from corner to corner. This isn’t rocket science. It doesn’t have to be perfect. So, we don’t have to draw the line and all that. We’re just going over to our sewing machine and we’re going to attach these and just “eyeball it” just straight across and sew from corner to corner.

So, here’s what we do. So now the next, you’re going to take this end piece right here and you’re going to put it over here, and you’re just going to keep attaching these strips. So here comes the next one, and then the next one, and we just keep attaching these like this. So, as you get to the end of your strip you’re going to reach down and you’re going to grab ahold of the tail end of that and you’re going to lay it up here and we’re sewing these right sides together.

This is really the hardest part right here. So, you grab your tail, lay it up with your color, your bright side up. Then you put your bright side down toward it, right sides together. Turn it and put it under here and sew it, and we’re just going to keep doing this.

OK! So, we’re through with the first part. So, now what we have to do is cut all these apart. We’ve got this great string of them going here. We just chain pieced them right through. So let’s grab our scissors. Now here’s what we do. We’re going to trim this off like this and clip it, okay? So, we’ve got to do this to the whole roll. So we’re trimming and clipping, and they’re all right there together. Trimming about a quarter of an inch, so, let’s get doing that!

All right! This is the last one! Whew! That was some work right there. OK, so the next thing you’re going to do is you’re going to cut off about 18” of this strip and I say about because it just really doesn’t matter so we’re right there. The reason you do this, and this just goes away! The reason you do this is you want your staggers to be in the center, not right on the ends.

OK, so, now what you do is you take this piece and you’re going to find the end of your strip which is going to take some time… OK, whew! There we go! Here we are at the end, then you’re going to put these right sides together and you’re going to sew those two strips together. You know when guilds do this, this is where the racing begins. You know you get all that first start done where you’re sewing them at the forty-five, and then everybody has their two strips and then this is where the racing begins. So here we go!

OK! Here we are at the end! Finally, finally! These first two pieces take the longest, because you’re sewing 1600 inches now we’ve got the ends here. We’re going to open those up like this and then we’re going to find the other end. We have to go through all this. Now we’re down to 800 inches only! Of Jelly Roll strips! Now we’re going to sew these two together. Here we go. OK, so, now we’re going to put these two right sides together with these two just like this and sew again, and we’re just going to keep doing this. When we get to the end you cut that fold and bring that piece up and attach it to the front and sew all the way down. So let’s go ahead and do this a few more times.

I know you can’t believe it but we are down to our last row! Didn’t this go fast?! Isn’t it amazing?! All right hang on just a sec here. We’re in for the home stretch! This is the closest you’re ever going to see me to a marathon! Actually someday I’d really like to run a marathon. All right, here we go! All righty! So let me check this out, and now I’m going to cut this last one in half right here. All right, you ready for the big reveal? OK, here is our “Pezzy“ top! Look at that, how cute is that?! No planning, straight off the roll! We got some colors together, some not. It just goes like this and this is that awesome, oh, “Pezzy Print” that awesome “Pezzy Print” Jelly Roll, and in that amount of time we made this little top. It’d be fun to border it in a solid. I think I’ll do it in a solid. Maybe orange, or green, or even red. Your top is done! Just like that. It’s so much fun!

So a few things to watch for. Watch for your top thread not to run out. Watch for your bobbin not to run out. We have to stop and do a bobbin check every so often. Watch to make sure you’re actually sewing your rows when you think you’re sewing your rows, and other than that this is a piece of cake! We hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company!
After the credits –
Jake: That was a good one.
Jenny: That was a good one.
Ron: Is that the joke?
Jenny: Aaah! I have no thread!
All: *laughter & distress*

posted: Jelly Rolls, Product and Tool Demonstrations and Reviews | tagged: ,
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  • Cathy

    Loved the music! Buying a Jelly Roll to make one of these this weekend!

    • Jackie MSQC

      Isn’t it hilarious!!! Have fun!

  • anne

    I want to make the jelly roll race for a queen size bed. How do I do that?

  • barbara

    I started to make this jelly roll quilt today and have the roll done with the 45 degree angle but I can’t see where to cut on the diagonal. Mine doesn’t seem to look like yours:) Any advice?

    • Shannon

      I agree! I did the exact same thing tonight and am having the exact same issue.

      • Shannon

        Ok, I finally figured out what went wrong! When I originally sewed the two fabrics together, I had started at the corner of the top fabric and brought it down to the corner of the other. The trick is that you want to sew them together by leaving a triangle at the top connection of both fabrics and sewing straight across….sort of like drawing in the bottom of a triangle. I guess that’s pretty confusing, but I found it out by watching her do that actual sewing..I paused it a few times until I understood! Good luck!

    • Rhonda

      Watch tutorial again. And again. I sat my iPad next to my sewing machine!

    • Sherrie

      At 3:02 she shows how to lay the ends together, at about 5:36 she shows how to cut then ends.

  • Barbara Nicholls

    Thanks Shannon
    I see what I did wrong. I get it now and I’ll try again:)

  • BeckyMN

    Hi, I found your tutorial in the weekend and just had to make my own. Who could resist sewing a seam 20 metres long?? It turned out fantastically. I’m new to quilting and I’m really pleased. Now my children (11yrs girl, 13yrs boy) want to make their own! I did get myself into a bit of trouble though. I didn’t like the selection of jelly rolls my local craft store had so I bought some plain fabric fat quarters and cut my own strips. It wasn’t until I was starting to sew my first ‘racing’ seam that I realised that I’d managed to alternate between the front and the back of the fabric when sewing my strips together! So, I cut off every second seam, turned it around the sewed it back together. Then I reread the instructions on the Heirloom Creations website and realised that because I’d sewn all the strips of each colour together I’d end up with stripes that were the same colour all the way across the quilt so I cut off and resewed more seams separating them. Finally, I was ready to race. My first seam took nearly half an hour. And of course I’d managed to twist the strip terribly finding the other end so I took apart and resewed yet another seam! Despite all the drama, I had a lot of fun and can’t wait to sew another one. It’s so easy and effective. I have no idea how that lady managed to sew hers in 35 minutes – it took me nearly one and a half hours. Maybe she’d had practice and my next one will take less time. I’m going to have a go at the Jelly Roll Quilt by the 3 Dudes with the left over fabric from the fat quarters. 🙂

    • NatalieMSQC

      Wow! what an adventure! I am glad that you had fun anyway! Good luck with your next project!!

    • Rhonda

      I hear ya! Took me three tries to get the first seam sewn! But was worth it! I also think we will get faster as we go.

  • Amanda

    I started the jelly quilt, but have come to the end of my second row and have watch the video a few time to figure out what to do at the bottom do u cut it after every row? Did I miss something in the video?

    • Natalie

      Hi Amanda,
      You do cut through the fold at the end of each row! I hope this helps! Good luck!

  • Valerie

    Thank you so much for the brilliant video Jenny, never seen anything like it before, you made it look so easy, I am a beginner in the patchwork world and I will give this jelly roll quilting a go, thanks again love Valerie, Bristol, England

    • Sarah MSQC

      Best of luck to you, Valerie! Quilting is wonderful, you are going to love it. Hope you have a great day!

  • Natalie

    I have lots of fabric I could use for this fabulous quilt… just how many strips are in a jelly roll anyway?

    • JackieMSQC

      Hi Natalie! Usually around 40, but there are Jelly Rolls with fewer strips as well. Always make sure you read the product description prior to ordering. Have a great day!!

  • Jeannette Rackliff

    I loved the music and glad I watched at 1:30 AM, otherwise my sister would have thought I was crazy.. I was dancing in my seat watching you sew sew fast..

    I did one too but it took me about 3 hours!! But it was fun.

    Love all your videos!!!!
    Jeannette in the Oldest City – Saint Augustine, FL 1465 –

    • JackieMSQC

      HAHA! That’s so funny, Jeannette! Don’t worry about how long it takes, just have a good time doing it..that’s all that matters!

  • NicoleM

    I am in love with this idea. I keep making quilts and have never kept one for myself… I think this is the one that I will FINALLY kept. But I do need to know how to figure out what I will need for a queen size quilt….fyi, just found your site on line this evening, and I’m so impressed with all the tutorials I’ve watched. Fabulous!

  • Sonia

    I cant wait to make this! How much fabric did you use for the 2 borders, binding and backing?

  • Lisa

    I am holding my first Jelly roll to make this quilt. I bought a holiday fabric for my living room. The only problem is that I have 4 wedding veils to finish and I don’t want to finish them now. I want to do this quilt!

  • Carol Campbell

    I made one about a year ago for my one son who is 29 and it turned out beautiful! Now I am going to make one for my 31 year old son for Christmas!!

  • Lisa

    I did it. I made my first jelly roll race quilt top. I did take the fabric out of the roll and laid it on the back of a chair and allowed my 8 yr old son to hand me the pieces he thought should go next. It came out great. I am going to try to machine quilt this one. We will see how it turns out. Jenny makes everything look so easy I am not intimidated at all by any of her tutorials.

  • Donna

    hi there, tried this quilt last night. it turned out great!! it did take me more than 45 minutes, though!!

  • amylouwho

    I was wondering if you had any ideas for borders. I am seeing my dad in a couple of weeks. He is very ill. I made the top (and had fun!) but it is a little short for him. The width is great. Thanks for your help!

  • Cheryl S

    This is the first time I’ve found your site and this tutorial is hilarious! I haven’t done much quilting, but this looks doable!

  • JuliaC

    I thought this was great, will have to try it ,you looked like you were conducting the music Jenny

  • I would like to make this jelly roll quilt for a queen size bed. How many packages of jelly rolls will I need? I love the tutorials and I love your web site. One day I would love to visit your store. I live in Connecticut and it’s a bit far.

    • Diane Middlemiss

      Hello Molly – I just ordered a couple a jelly rolls for two different quilts, I was wondering if you had found or figured out the answer to your question. I also ordered coordinating fabrics for the borders (hoping to add enough length to fit on queen beds). I am a newbie so I learning all this as I go.


  • Joan

    Made the top yesterday and love it,looking forward to finishing it and making them for my grand kids.Thank you for the tutorial is was awesome.

  • Dawn

    This was one of the funnier tutorials Jenny has done. I so enjoy watching her tutorials…this one especially! Please keep doing them! I even watched this one a few times.

    • JenM

      Glad you’re enjoying it. I still laugh every time. Love her!

  • mel315bxnyc

    I watched the video & knew I could make this quilt. It was easy and I love it. I think I will try making placemats this way next. Thanks Jenny.

    • JenM

      Super idea! Have fun on your race!

  • Rhonda

    Made this with The Lorax jelly roll. It really worked! It is super cute! grandkids love it!! And was fun. Thanks for your great tutorials.

    • JenM

      That Lorax is so popular and fun! Glad you gave it a try!

  • dmarangio

    This is such a great idea. I’ve made 4 so far. I add a few scraps to each and borders, too. I will be giving my two sisters with young grandchildren Halloween themed race quilts. Fast, fun and thoughtful! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  • Debra Revay

    Just watched the Jelly Roll Race. Loved it. Laughed at the sped up sewing and loved the music. The postal carrier is coming today and I can hardly wait to get my order. He’ll be here around noon. Love your online store and the people that work for you. Wish I could visit someday. I live in Texas so I probably won’t get too. Love all the new tutorials you posted on July 2nd.

  • Sally

    VERY interesting … and loved the music to match! I will have to try this on my next quilt. Thank you!!

  • Mandy

    just finished mine! so fun, thank you for the helpful video!

  • Sherrie Mathis Thurman

    I made my first Jelly Roll Race a few weeks ago at quilt retreat and love it! I will definitely do this pattern again:)

    • JenniferMSQC

      Oh that’s awesome, Sherrie!

  • Erica Mendez

    Thank you so much for sharing this and making it easy to understand! Much Love from OKLA!

    • JenniferMSQC

      Happy this tutorial was helpful, Erica! Love back from Missouri!

  • nancy1959

    hi love your videos but have question lol how would you make jelly roll for a queen size bed?

    • JenniferMSQC

      Nancy1959 – you would need 2 jelly rolls for a queen sized quilt.

  • Casey Scraper

    Thanks for the tutorial!! I’m a beginning quilter who has practiced a lot of patchwork, but have been too intimidated to try an actual quilt top. This was fun, easy, made me more confident with my skills, and I had a finished quilt top in less than 4 hours. Now that I’ve finished my first quilt top, I’m ready to tackle more!! =)

    • JenniferMSQC

      Casey, that’s fantastic! Congratulations!! Can’t wait to see pictures of your first quilt top.

  • Michele

    How many strips should be in a jelly roll. The one I used made a very small square that will not even cover a window. I want to make a king and want to make sure I have enough.

  • AGB

    I finished my first jelly roll race quilt top last night. Used batik fabrics and it is so cheery! Making for a friend who could use some cheering up and I wanted something quick to make after spending the last 8 months on our first granddaughter’s quilt. My husband and grandsons both enjoyed the tutorial also.
    Thank you very much!

  • Sherrie

    I wish she would have shown what she did after she sewn the sets of strips together. Did she cut them? Then sew another set together?

  • Nina

    Hi Jenny, my sister and I are doing this together.. we need to know what the size is before the boarder. Is it like a twin or single? please let us know so we can calculate for the batting and back.

  • Lucy Schieler Colley

    This quilt is nothing at all like online, its a mess, looks like I have missing strips, its very disapointing, I have been sewing for 30 years, and this is just so wrong, I followed along online, but I still screwed up, maybe use this mess for tote bags, if I try to make a quilt again I think I will try another way

  • Laura

    What size quilt does this make? How much fabric for the boarders and backing. I can’t seem to be abe to see where you answered this question before. I may make this quilt in purples for a local woman’s shelter to auction off – as soon as I find just the right Jelly roll for it.

  • Janet

    I am just starting to make this quilt and do not know where to find the answer about making it for a queen size bed (or maybe better, a full size bed). Thank you.

  • C. Finlay

    Loved the tutorial! Thank you!

  • Barbara Koon

    I am getting ready to make the Jelly Roll Race quilt, but for a baby shower present. How many less strips should I use to make it the right size?? Bought Robert Kaufman Urban Zoologie Minis.