Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to make a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt BIGGER!

I've been meaning to post this for awhile.  I've made several Jelly Roll quilts and none of them have been "1600" quilts.  I like to make bed size quilts so each one has been made to fit a given bed size.  I've made one twin size, 2 queen size and a full size.  I haven't looked around a lot to see if others have posted info on how to make a larger than throw size but I think this should work for you if you want to make one a bit bigger than the original. 

To start with a jelly roll 1600 quilt is made with 40 2.5" strips each approximately 40" in length thus you have 40 x 40" equals 1600" of length.  The basic instructions tell you to sew all 40 strips together into one long strip joining them with a diagonal seam as you would join binding strips.  From there you can cut this 1600" length into (2) 800" pieces and sew that first very long seam of your quilt top.  Fold this 800" length in half and cut at 400" and sew the two strip sets together.  Repeat again with 200" length.  Repeat again with 100" length. Repeat for the final time which gives you a 50" width for your quilt.  Each time you fold in half and sew you are doubling the number of strips in the strip sets.  After you sew the first seam your strip set is 2 strips wide.  After you sew the second seam the strip set is 4 strips wide; then 8, then 16, then 32 and you're done.  32 strips x 2" gives you a quilt which is 64" long.  This is important because in all the sizes I've made I have never sewn more than the five seams it takes to make it 64" long.  And, if you add more strips to with you only get a quilt which is WIDER, not longer.  So, what do you do if you want to make a longer quilt??

Let's start with a full size quilt.  The one I'm quilting right now is 65 x 96 without borders which will plenty long enough once I wash it and it shrinks up a bit.  (EDIT: It's washed and bound and pictured above.  Final measurements are 59 x 89.  It shrinks a lot!)  This one requires a total of 78 strips (you could buy two jelly rolls but I wanted to use stash fabric too).  If you are cutting extra strips from stash it's ok to add more than one strip of a fabric you like.  For the first unit sew 50 strips together * using some from the jelly roll and some from those you cut; in other words, mix them up!  When those are all sewn into one length your starting length is about 2000".  Then I sewed those up as per the basic directions folding in half each time. (For math geeks you might like to know that that gives you measurements of 1000, 500, 250, 125, 67.5)  That gave me an almost square quilt top measuring 67 x 64.  There are 28 strips remaining.  Divide them into two groups of 14 strips and sew each group in jelly roll fashion (560", 280", 140", 70"and, no, you don't have to measure your length, I'm just including this in case you want to know the math behind the sewing).  You end up with two units each measuring approximately 16 1/2" x 70".  The 70" width after 4 seams gives you plenty to work with.  Sew one of these units to the top of the original unit and the other one to the bottom.  By adding one group to the top and one to the bottom you can repeat strips and it won't be obvious that you have done so and it helps to blend all the fabrics together into a more unified look.  16 + 64 + 16 = 96" in length!  Trim the sides up even to about 65 or so and you're ready to add borders or not.  I didn't but you certainly could.  Backing for this size requires 6 yards.

Next time, I'll give instructions for a queen size.  And, maybe get some pictures to go with...

Now go cut up some of that Stash!!  Have Fun!!