As quilters, we are constantly searching for the next quilt pattern we want to attempt, whether we’re beginners or seasoned professionals.
One of the best quilt patterns for any skill level is the log cabin pattern.
We’re going to take a closer look at log cabin quilts and see why they are an excellent choice for any quilter, no matter their skill level.
I’ll also show you 29 striking examples of the log cabin quilt pattern and answer some common questions surrounding the pattern.
What Is a Log Cabin Quilt?
The log cabin block is probably one of the most recognizable quilt blocks for traditional quilt patterns, but when did it first come on the quilting scene? It’s nearly impossible to know who created the first log cabin quilt, but we do know that it has been around since at least the 1850s.
However, the log cabin design has been around for much longer than that. Like many intricate motifs, the log cabin can be dated back to ancient Egypt. Egyptians used this design for mummies and other decorative items.
Needless to say, the log cabin pattern is going anywhere.
What makes this pattern unique? The traditional log cabin quilt is deceivingly simple. It appears to be a complex construction, but you can see that strips of varying lengths construct each block if you break the quilt down by block.
You start with a centerpiece, usually a square, and build out there. Here is an illustration of a log cabin quilt block with numbers representing the order you sew it into the block.
You can use these blocks to make a vast selection of pattern designs which we will check out in the next section.
How To Make a Log Cabin Quilt Block
No matter what size log cabin quilt block you are making, you will follow these simple steps to construct this versatile block.
- Step One: Start with a center square.
- Step Two: Decide how wide you want the strips to be.
- Step Three: Cut a rectangle the same length as the center square and the width you choose for the strips. For example, if my center square is 4” and I want to cut my strips at a 2 ½” width, my first strip will measure 2 ½” x 4”.
- Step Four: Sew the first strip to the center square. Press the seam to the left or the right, whatever you prefer.
- Step Five: Measure the height of the two pieces sewn together. If we go with the example from Step Three, the piece measures 6” x 4”. The height is 6”.
- Step Six: Cut a strip that measures 2 ½” x 6” and sew it to the other pieces like in the example diagram.
- Step Seven: Repeat Steps Five and Six, adding strips around the centerpiece till you have the size block you want.
29 Charming and Eyecatching Log Cabin Quilt Patterns
This extensive compilation of log cabin quilt layouts should show you how versatile this quilt block is. Remember that even if a quilt looks complex, it doesn’t mean that a beginner can’t tackle it with great success.
Here is an excellent choice for beginners. You will make four log cabin blocks to create this beautiful quilt top. Four sizes are available: baby, throw, queen, and king. The designer wrote the pattern specifically to use ombre fabric by the yard, making fabric selection a breeze.
Here is a quilt that combines log cabin quilt blocks with a simple 8-point black star to make a striking design. Looking closely at the log cabin blocks, you can see each building block creates these cream and red squares.
The designer also used a unique black and white checkerboard pattern for a border to complete their quilt.
Wow, this looks highly complicated, right? This quilt top seemingly has complex curves and pieces, but what if I were to tell you that the quilter used only squares and rectangles to create the illusion of these curves?
This quilt pattern would make a beautiful bed covering and measure 74”x74”. You can easily add borders to make this quilt top fit any size bed.
Suzy from Suzy Quilts is well known in the quilting community for her beginner-friendly modern quilt patterns.
Campfire is her take on the traditional log cabin block that makes up the entire quilt top. This pattern would look beautiful using solid or patterned fabrics and can be made in four different sizes, including baby, throw, queen/full, and king.
If you are curious about foundation paper piecing (FPP) and want an entry-level project to work on, try Felicia’s World’s FPP templates, available in several different size block options. Her booklets include templates and instructions on how to do FPP properly. This booklet can make 48- 7” log cabin blocks.
This festive Christmas quilt pattern combines the log cabin quilt block with the classic bear claw quilt block. This pattern gives instructions for making a 72”x72” square quilt top. You can easily switch this to a Spring, Summer, or Fall quilt by choosing different fabrics.
Here is a scrappy-style quilt that uses quarter log cabin blocks. Instead of a whole log cabin block, you only build out from one corner hence the name “quarter log cabin.”
This free tutorial gives cutting instructions for a 48”x 60” quilt top. However, you can make it any size by adding or subtracting blocks.
Here is another example of a quarter log cabin block in blues and greens. The designer of this quilt made a great choice by making the background a dark blue. This gives the blocks the illusion of floating on the quilt top, a lovely, modern twist on this block.
This adorable mini quilt features an intricate applique winter scene in the center with log cabin blocks surrounding it. The finished size of this quilt is 36”x36”. This small quilt can be made quickly and would make a wonderful heartfelt Christmas gift for your loved ones.
Jennifer Sampou designed this gorgeous modern take on the traditional log cabin quilt. For this example quilt, she used ombre fabrics that add an exciting color element.
This pattern has instructions for how to make a log cabin quilt that measures 80” square quilt and is for the confident beginner and up.
This quilt lives up to its name of the “wonky log cabin quilt.” The designer pieced the blocks like a regular log cabin block, but all the angles are a bit “off.”
This is such a fun spin on this classic block, and I applaud the designer for their creativity. It’s also an excellent example of using Batik fabrics to make a quilt top pop!
The color palette in this mockup is beautiful, don’t you think? The position of the blocks creates this fun chevron design with the pastels and cream sections. This pattern has instructions for an 81 ½” square quilt by Laundry Basket Quilts.
Here is another lovely variation of a log cabin quilt that uses a regular log cabin block for every other block. The maker cut the other blocks from either yardage or a fabric panel that featured these large floral pieces.
The designer simply added small borders around the floral blocks to make them large enough to match the log cabin blocks.
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14. Birdhouse Quilt
How cute is this quilt? Log cabin blocks, rectangles, and a flying geese block make up each birdhouse block. The rest of the quilt uses 8-point stars, flying geese, and square-in-a-square blocks. This is a great beginner quilt that will teach you how to make several staple blocks that you can use in lots of quilt designs.
This quilt combines the classic quilt pattern Carpenter’s Star with the traditional quilt block of the log cabin to make a breathtaking quilt top.
The log cabin blocks make the centerpiece look almost pixelated. It might look complicated, but this would be a fun project for even a beginner. Making all the log cabin blocks for this large 105” square quilt will take some time.
16. Celtic Log Cabin
This beautiful rendition of a Celtic knot created varying colors of log cabin blocks. This pattern works best if you use two coordinating colors on a solid background to allow the knot to shine in the design.
The finished size of the quilt is 54”x86”, but you can add borders to make it for a larger bed.
Here is a free log cabin quilt pattern on making this fun circular design using four log cabin blocks. This tutorial will show you how to make one block that you can use to create your quilt design.
The block measures 22 ½” square. It would look amazing if you made several blocks in different colorways and used them to create a quilt top.
18. Urban Cabin
The Urban Cabin quilt is a gorgeous modern log cabin quilt pattern that features a brightly colored scrappy log cabin block. This quilt is unique because the designer used contrasting solid white and grey strips for half of the log cabin blocks’ construction.
If you have leftover yardage scraps from various other projects, this quilt would be great to use those fabrics.
Here is another great option if you have scraps you want to use for a quilt project. The quilt maker used scrappy quarter log cabin blocks to create this fun quilt top. Her example quilt has a modern twist with bright colors and cute squiggle line quilting.
20. Log Cabin Star
The Log Cabin Star quilt pattern is a classic design that will make a perfect beginner project. This pattern is a simple construction with just a few colors with coordinating fabrics.
The entire quilt top uses only one size log cabin block; you just need to rotate the blocks as the pattern instructs to create this beautiful star and echo borders. The finished quilt size is 71”x91”.
If you are searching for a classic-looking pattern that features log cabin blocks, this might just be the pattern of your dreams. This gorgeous pattern uses log cabin blocks and a breathtaking double star quilt block. The pattern includes instructions to construct a 93” square quilt top.
This sweet baby quilt pattern utilizes an offset log cabin design, small heart appliques, and adorable lace trim. The pattern will show you how to make a 41” square quilt. This would make a lovely baby shower gift for expecting mothers.
Here is a quilt top with quarter log cabin blocks rotated 45° separated by sashing for the entire quilt design. The color selection gives the design an ombre feel. This PDF pattern includes two sizes to choose from: throw and queen.
Here is a quilt made by Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter. She did a fabulous job choosing vintage colors and prints with this traditional-style log cabin pattern.
The fabrics mimic an echo diamond shape which adds a beautiful design element to this quilt. Her finished quilt measures 80” square.
Here is another beautiful, timeless example of a traditional log cabin quilt. What makes this quilt unique is the outside strips of each block are constructed using varying shades of green which mimic sashing between the blocks.
This helps break up the design and give it a little something extra. This pattern includes four sizes which makes it well worth the price.
This eye-catching masterpiece was designed with ombre fabrics in mind, but you can make this quilt with regular solids or patterned fabrics. It is a fat quarter-friendly and beginner-friendly modern pattern.
The pattern will instruct you to create a 75”x92” quilt top, the perfect size for a twin bed. You could also make it fit a queen or king-sized bed by adding borders.
27. Rainbow Swirls
It’s always fun to have the illusion of curves on a quilt and then find out later they are made using simple square and rectangle blocks. This quilt is the perfect illustration of this type of visual illusion.
Note: The designer wrote it to go with a special ruler called the Creative Grids Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool. This specialty ruler will make the construction of this quilt design possible.
This beautiful pattern features traditional log cabin blocks in a layout that mimics ribbons and quilt stars. This beginner-friendly pattern includes all instructions to create these lovely blocks and paper templates for three quilt block sizes.
Depending on the size quilt block you decide to make, you can make a 48” x 48”, 72” x 72”, or 96” x 96” quilt.
29. Cabin Fade
If you prefer a modern spin on a classic quilt design, “Cabin Fade” might be the perfect quilt pattern. This pattern mixes strip widths and solid colors to create this eye-catching quilt top.
The instructions include a fun shortcut to make four blocks at once, so this quilt should come together fairly quickly. There are six sizes to choose from as well.
Common Questions About Log Cabin Quilts
How many colors do I need for a Log Cabin quilt?
This will depend heavily on the pattern you choose and your style. A common theme in log cabin quilt patterns is to use at least two colors with varying shades in those colorways.
What size strips for Log Cabin quilt?
This will also depend on the pattern you choose. The strip width you use may vary, but they usually are between 2”-3” widths. Lengths will depend on your specific pattern.
How many fabrics do I need for a Log Cabin quilt?
I know I’m repeating myself here, but the number of fabrics you need for a quilt will depend on the pattern. If selecting materials is overwhelming, try searching for precut-friendly quilt patterns for jellyrolls or fat quarters.
How do you make a 12” Log Cabin Quilt Block?
Using the example log cabin block from earlier in this post, let’s go over what size strips you will need for one 12” block. These instructions will be for a 12 ½” unfinished block. Once you sew the blocks together, they will be a finished 12” block.
We will use 2” wide strips for all strips except the center square. Here is the length you will need to cut each piece.
- 3 ½” x 3 ½”
- 2” x 3 ½”
- 2” x 5”
- 2” x 5”
- 2” x 6 ½”
- 2” x 6 ½”
- 2” x 8”
- 2” x 8”
- 2” x 9 ½”
- 2” x 9 ½”
- 2” x 11”
- 2” x 11”
- 2” x 12 ½”
- 2” x 12 ½”
I hope this showed you the versatility and timeless beauty of the log cabin quilt block. You can use them in any quilting style, whether you like to create modern or heritage quilts.