How to sew with jelly rolls

Written by anne baley
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Swiss rolls are rolled strips of cotton quilting fabric. Each strip is 2 1/2 inches wide and about 44 inches long. They generally come in a collection of coordinated fabrics, with 40 strips per roll. Swiss rolls are very useful for the beginning quilter, because the choice of matching fabric is already done for you. There is a good variety of prints to help create the scrap quilt look without the need for buying large amounts of fabric pieces. Many quilts made with strips or squares can be created using Swiss rolls.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Swiss rolls fabrics
  • Background fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins

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  1. 1

    Undo any packaging that may be holding the Swiss roll together. Unroll the fabric strips and separate them. Each strip will be used separately.

  2. 2

    Choose a quilt pattern that contains a nine-patch unit. This can either be a simple nine-patch quilt with alternating background squares, or you can use more Swiss roll strips to set off the nine-patch units and make a more elaborate quilt top.

  3. 3

    Cut the background fabric into 2 1/2 inch strips along the width of the fabric. This will create strips the same size as your Swiss roll strips.

  4. 4

    Pin together the long sides of one Swiss roll fabric and one background fabric, with the right sides together. Sew along this long edge. Pin another Swiss roll fabric along the other long side of the background fabric, with the right sides together, and sew along this long edge. You have created a long strip with patterned fabrics on the outside and the background fabric on the inside.

  5. 5

    Create another strip exactly like in step 4, except that you will have background fabrics on both outside edges and one Swiss roll fabric on the inside strip. The strips in both step 4 and step 5 will measure 6 1/2 inches by 44 inches.

  6. 6

    Cut each strip into short strips, each strip being 2 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches. Each short strip will have three fabrics in it, either background fabric at the top and bottom or Swiss roll fabric in these places.

  7. 7

    Pin together one strip from the step 4 strip and one strip from the step 5 strip. Pin the short strips so that the long seams are together, and the seams between the background and Swiss roll fabrics match. Sew this seam that you have pinned.

  8. 8

    Pin one short strip from step 4 to the other side of the step 5 strip sewn in the above step. Sew this seam together, being careful to match all seam lines to create an even line. You have now created a nine-patch square, 6 1/2 inches across. Use this patch in any pattern that calls for a nine-patch pattern design.

Tips and warnings

  • After completing your nine-patch units, press them with the seams alternating. Press the first seam to the right and the second to the left. Never press quilt seams open, as it weakens the stitching.
  • Make sure that your background fabric strips are cut exactly straight, or your quilt top will not lay flat and could have ripples or waves that won't quilt flat.

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