I love talking about beginner-friendly quilt patterns, and today, I’m super excited to take you with me on a deep dive into jelly roll race quilts.
This quilt pattern is a fantastic first-time quilt project, plus they’re super fun to make!
Let’s discuss what makes a jelly roll race quilt pattern unique and how to make a jelly roll strip quilt.
Then we’ll check out 15 excellent examples to show you what this fun and easy quilt pattern is capable of with the right fabric selection and a little creativity.
What Is a Jelly Roll Race Quilt?
A jelly roll race quilt is a fun, modern pattern with long strips sewn together at a 45° angle.
The unique aspect of the jelly roll race pattern, as opposed to a regular jelly roll quilt, is the construction process. We’ll discuss that in detail in the next section.
If you want to learn the basics of quilt making and feel apprehensive about trying out a more complex quilt pattern, the jelly roll race quilt is the perfect one for you.
It is quick, straightforward, and fun and teaches you the fundamental skills you will need for quilt making.
How Do You Make a Jelly Roll Race Quilt?
Now let’s discuss how to construct a jelly roll race quilt.
First, you wonder how many strips are in a jellyroll. The answer is (usually) 40 unless specified on the packaging. You can follow these steps to create a jelly roll race quilt top in just a few hours.
Supplies you need:
Step 1: Sew strips together
Sew all 40 strips together end to end. To sew the ends together, you will be sewing at a 45° angle. As in the image below, take two strips and place them right sides together, like in the image below.
Sew along the dotted line.
Cut excess fabric, leaving ¼” seam allowance.
Continue this process by sewing all 40 strips together. By the end, you will have one long strip that measures approximately 1,600” long!
Step 2: Cut about 18” off one end of the super long strip.
This step is vital to ensure the angled seams are positioned closer to the center of the quilt top and not on the edges.
Step 3: Start sewing the strips together.
Take the two ends of the super long strip and place them right sides together. Your strip will look like a giant “U” shape. Sew down the strips using a ¼” seam allowance.
Once you reach the fold of the strip, cut it down in the middle. You now have two- 800” strips sewn together.
Repeat this step of creating a “U” shape with the strips, sewing them together, and cutting the fold to reveal four 400” strips sewn together.
Repeat to make eight 200” strips.
Repeat to make sixteen 100” strips.
And finally, sew the final “U” shape and cut the fold to reveal your finished 32- 50” strips.
Step 4: Add borders (optional)
This is an optional step, but if you would like to, add a border or two to make the quilt top a bit larger and give it a more finished look.
What Size Quilt Does a Jelly Roll Race Make?
The above tutorial will help you create a quilt top that measures approximately 50”x64”. Using Step #4, you can make the quilt larger to fit your needs.
If you want a larger jelly roll race quilt size, you can stop when the strips are 100” long and repeat Steps #1-3 two more times, stopping when the strips reach 100” long. Then, sew all three sections together to create a 100”x96” quilt top.
How Much Back Do I Need for a Jelly Roll Race Quilt?
The amount of backing you need for a quilt top, no matter what quilt pattern you use, will depend on the finished size of the quilt top. As a good rule of thumb, I recommend a backing at least 3” larger on all four sides of the quilt.
So, for example, if we make the 50”x64” quilt top, I will need a quilt backing that measures at least 58”x72”.
15 Easy Jelly Roll Race Quilt Patterns
Since we know all about the jelly roll race quilt pattern, let’s check out some beautiful examples of this fun pattern. I’ve gathered up some unique jelly roll race quilt variations to show you the different possibilities for this seemingly simple quilt pattern.
This beautiful jelly roll race quilt features a fun half-square triangle column that breaks up the long strips of the quilt. This also adds some width to the quilt in a fun, creative way.
Here is a beautiful example of using the jelly roll race quilt pattern as a foundation for a more detailed design. The quilter who made this quilt added wide cream strips into the traditional jelly roll race design and added adorable owl applique pieces for even more detail and uniqueness.
Can you believe this scenic design was made using only strips of fabric? The finished quilt measures 55”x96” and features a thin solid black border and a beautiful blue batik border to give it a finished look.
Batiks are an excellent fabric choice for jelly roll race quilts because they have so much color variation and movement in the prints.
Isn’t this a fun and unique design? The maker created a regular jelly roll race design but didn’t stop there. She added a wide border on one side and the bottom edge of the quilt. She added these gorgeous 3D flowers and leaves to the side border to give this quilt a whimsical flare.
Speaking of flowers, check out these adorable applique daisies added to this jelly roll race quilt. Applique is a popular and easy way to add a little extra detail and personality to a regular quilt top. These large flowers really “pop” against the jelly roll strip background.
This quilt top is perfect for fall, don’t you think? The maker used rich, fall-season batik colors for the strips and the leaves. The leaves are attached using applique piecing, bringing this quilt design to the next level.
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Here is a gorgeous rendition of the jelly roll race pattern that breaks up the strips with little triangle “cutouts.”
This quilt also shows you how adding simple borders to this type of quilt pattern gives it that little extra something that makes it look a bit more polished and complete.
The maker of this quilt said it only took her one hour and eight minutes to make this quilt top. That makes this quilt an excellent weekend project. Instead of sewing the strips at a 45° angle, she sewed the strips at a 90° angle.
How cool is this quilt top? I love how it kind of looks like a chart or graph. The designer used bright, modern solid colors to make the strips “pop.”
They also used black squares to create black triangles between the different strips to give this quilt a 3D effect.
Another fun example of using flower applique pieces to embellish a jelly roll race quilt top; this time, the maker used a monochromatic jelly roll bundle to make the quilt top.
They then used bright, fun colors to decorate the quilt. I love this type of project for a beginner because it’s simple, but it looks fantastic, which helps boost a beginner’s confidence in their abilities.
11. Tropical Colors
A beautiful quilt made by Carole Lyles Shaw features ombre and tropical fabrics. She used a mixture of jelly roll strips and yardage to create this unique, colorful race quilt.
This shows us that we can mix and match precuts and yardage to make something completely one-of-a-kind.
At first glance, this quilt looks a bit too complex for a beginner. However, if you look at the progress photos of this quilt, you will see that the maker made a regular jelly roll race quilt, cut it into fourths, and sewed them together to make this unique design.
13. Quick Fix
Here is an excellent example of how this type of quilt pattern can be sleek and modern by picking suitable fabrics.
The maker also quilted using straight line quilting which adds to the contemporary vibe of the quilt. The finished size of this quilt is 49”x66”.
This quilt is inspired by the ocean, with rich blues and greens all over the quilt top. The quilt maker used a fun batik jelly roll bundle to make this quilt and finished using a wavey quilting design to give the quilt top more movement, like the ocean.
This quilt features a solid block border on the top and bottom, adding length to the quilt and design.
If you look closely at the quilt’s binding, the maker used small strips to create a patchwork binding that adds a more detailed design to it than regular binding. Love it!
I hope you feel inspired by these beautiful jelly roll race quilts. This quilt pattern truly is a great beginner project, and you should definitely add it to your “to-do” quilt list.