Sunday, February 10, 2019

Rockin' Rectangles - It's Hip To Be Square!

Hi, all!

If you're anything like me, everyone who doesn't know exactly what to give you as a gift tends to give you fabric.  Now, that's not a bad thing - it's actually a pretty safe bet in my case - but sometimes you get fabric that you're not sure what to do with, right?  Today our quilt tutorial deals with one of those notorious items - the junior jelly roll!

For those of you who don't know, a junior jelly roll is basically half of a full jelly roll - 20 strips cut 2.5" by width-of-fabric.  They are cute, but it's hard to get a quilt out of one.  I had two gifted to me a few years ago that had been gathering dust in my stash, so I decided to pull them out and see what I could do with one.  This tutorial is for the first one - It's Hip To Be Square.

Finished Size:  60" square


Striped blocks: junior jelly roll OR twenty 2.5" x WOF print strips
Square blocks: 13.5" x WOF for centers, 37.5" x WOF for borders

Border:  1/2 yard

Binding:  1/2 yard


Press your jelly roll strips flat, then cut five 2.5" x 8.5" rectangles from each strip.  You should now have 100 rectangles.

From the fabric for your block centers, cut three 4.5" x WOF strips.  Crosscut those strips to yield 25 4.5" squares.

From the fabric for your block borders, cut fifteen 2.5" x WOF strips.  Crosscut these to yield fifty 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles and fifty 2.5" x 8.5" rectangles.

From the fabric for your outer borders, cut seven 2.5" x WOF strips.


 Let's start with the simplest block first - the striped block.  Choose four of the 2.5" x 8.5" print rectangles and sew them together.  Be sure your seam allowance is accurate so that your blocks measure 8.5" square when finished.  I highly recommend sewing one block together first, then measure to see if you need to adjust your seam width.  It's much easier to take out the stitching on one block than to trim a whole lot of blocks to a smaller size!

You need to make 24 of the striped blocks.  Press the seams all in one direction.

Now on to the square blocks.  These aren't hard to make, just a little more complicated to explain!  Take the center 4.5" square and sew a 2.5" x 4.5" contrast rectangle to each side.  Press the seams towards the center square.  Now sew a 2.5" x 8.5" rectangle to each of the remaining two sides of the center square.  Press the seams out away from the center.

Make 25 of these blocks.

Now it's time to lay out your quilt.  If you lay it out carefully, you'll have a minimal amount of places where you have to match seams! Start with a square block in the upper left corner, and place it with the long borders running up and down.  Next place a striped block, with the stripes running side to side.  Lay the entire quilt out in this manner, alternating the two blocks in a checkerboard style, arranged seven blocks across and seven blocks down.  Once you like the way your colors spread across the design, sew it together.  You'll find that the only seams you have to match are where the corners of the blocks meet!

Now to add the borders.  Sew your 2.5" wide border strips together end to end.  Now fold your quilt in half vertically and measure the folded edge.  That is the measurement for your side border strips. From your long border strip piece, cut two to that measurement and sew them to the sides, pinning the border strip to the quilt and easing or stretching as needed to make it fit.  Press the seams towards the border strips.

Now fold your quilt in half horizontally and measure the folded edge.  That is the measurement for your top and bottom border strips.  Cut two to that measurement and sew them to to the top and bottom, pinning the border strip to the quilt as you did before.  Press the seams towards the border strips.

NOTE:  Measuring and attaching your borders in this manner will help ensure that your quilt ends up square, and your borders don't "wave" like a flag!  Especially useful if you are adding multiple borders, or very wide borders, to a quilt.

Don't you hate the phrase "quilt as desired"?  But it's true - there are so many ways to quilt a top to turn it into a finished quilt. I chose to do a down-and-dirty random meander on this one, because it's quick on my long arm.  You could also choose to do a straight line framing each block, or a diagonal across them, or even a custom quilt job with something interesting in the solid centers and border.  It's all good!

Add binding, and you're good to go!  I chose to bind in the same color as the border, because I didn't want my eye to "stop" when it reached the edge of the quilt.

And finally, don't you love it when you find just the right backing?  I fell in love with this particular print, and the colors were a great match to the colors in the print portions of this quilt.

And just for fun - because they are "rockin' rectangles"...


Remember that if you want to get a head start on one of the later tutorials, you can press your strings and cut them into 8.5" lengths. I hope you're finding these tutorials useful for (a) using up things that have been gathering dust in your stash and (b) getting you inspired for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge, which starts in a little over a month!

Be sure to come back next Sunday for another fun, super easy tutorial!



If you'd like to save or print the tutorial for this quilt, here's the easiest way to do it.  Scroll to the bottom of this post and look for this little green box:

Don't see the green "Print PDF" box?  That's easy to fix. Go to the top of the post, and click on the post title (in this case, "Rockin' Rectangles Begins! Place Your Bet...").  That will open up this post with the comments, and you will see this between the body of the post and the beginning of the comments.

Click on the green button, and a printer-friendly page will open so you can print and save the tutorial!  Voila! And the best part?  It won't print out page after page of comments and sidebar stuff.  Hooray!

Don't want to print it out?  This tutorial will remain here as long as the internet is alive, so you could just bookmark the post and create a group in your bookmarks for Tutorials!  That way you can find it any time.


  1. Sarah, It took me from 1/27 until 2/10 to figure out why I wasn't getting that little green block for printing the tutorials, It's because I have "ad blocker" on my computer. So I un-abled it for your site, and lo and behold there it is. Hope this helps anyone else that has had that problem, or perhaps I am the only "old lady" that doesn't understand the computer world. :-)

  2. This is such a beautiful quilt and totally manageable! Thanks for doing all the math!

  3. Love this quilt design - and the beautiful fabric colourway you made it in!

  4. Those junior jelly rolls now have a purpose in life! One thought I had while looking at this quilt was, "I wonder which charities would find this size useful?" If you happen to know which of your featured charities could use a quilt the size of your tutorial, it might be helpful to note that somewhere in the post. Doesn't mean people can't adjust the size of a design they like or give it to a different one, but it might help people make the mental connection of where to gift their beautiful work.

  5. Great way to use a jelly roll. I always "forget" or don't think about mixing two types of blocks in one quilt.

  6. Lovely quilt! and a great way to use those strips. Thanks for the tutorial save tip. I tried it and it worked :-)

  7. Great pattern, but I think you have a typo. You say to cut 4 strips of the center block, but you only need three and can only cut three from the 13 1/2 strip. :)

  8. Yes!! THIS is what I can do with those junior jelly rolls I have!!! Thanks for the tutorial, and the colors in this one are just beautiful :-)

  9. Kathy R.
    Thank you for a way to use up the junior jelly roll I have in my stash for a couple years. It was a guild door prize and I didn't know what to use it in. I used last weeks tutorial with a striped children's print, it worked out well.

  10. Lovely shades, and a neat way to put those blocks together Best of all, binding in the same fabric as the border, that is a super finish.

  11. This is really cool, Sarah! I'm thinking you could make string blocks on 8.5-inch papers (easy to make that size, too, with regular 8.5x11 paper--use your junk mail?--folded once diagonally, trim excess) if you wanted a really scrappy look, frame a solid for the other blocks in a color that pulls it all together. I might try that, actually! Thanks for the tutorial.

  12. Love this! I have two of those junior rolls and now I know what to do with them. You are so creative! Thank you!

  13. LOVE it!! Such a beautiful, but EASY quilt. Thanks for the tutorial!!

  14. Great progress! I am focused on finishing, but this simple tutorial is perfect.


Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!