FREE QUILT BLOCK TUTORIAL: Log Cabin Block

Want to learn to sew a quick and versatile quilt block? The log quilt block is a great place to start!

This tutorial shows you how quickly you can put together a pillow, quilt or quilt block with a rolie polie (2.5″ wide strips) or other strips of fabric.

Traditional log cabin blocks have light colors on one side and darker colors on the other surrounding a center square. You can see an example and find a tutorial for this more traditional layout from Riley Blake designer Rachel of Citrus and Mint.

I created the pillow and quilt for the Houston Quilt Market in Fall 2019 when my “Send Me to the Woods” fabric was being previewed to retailers. I was crunched for time so I used all of the same size strips to create the pieces – a variation of the traditional log cabin quilt block.

Ready to give it a try?

My “Square as you Sew” Method

While a more traditional log cabin block has a center square that is larger than the strips that spiral around it I decided to try it with everything the same. (Honestly, I'm not sure why but it worked!)

Both of these were created with fabric from my “Send Me to the Woods” fabric collection made and sold by Riley Blake Designs. Click here for more projects with this fabric line >

For the pillow cover I used 2.5″ wide fabric – this would be a great project for a Rolie Polie!

I didn't have that at the time so I was careful to cut the tree fabric so the trees were all going the correction direction – you will notice some strips are cut across the fabric and others the length.

On the quilt throw blanket I fussy cut a 5.5″ square so the moose was in the center of square #2 and then I used 5.5″ strips to complete the quilt.

While many tutorials are very specific about the length of each strip for a log cabin quilt I found it easier to make sure it all squares up nicely but not pre-cutting the length.

That said, having a general idea can of course be helpful. For the pillow cover example above, the largest, outer strips would be no larger than 17″.  I put the design together and then trimmed it to a 17″ square.

I added an envelope back to the pillow cover using 1/2″ seams. You will notice the very outer strips end up slightly thinner than the rest but when it's on the pillow it looks great.

In the diagrams above I added numbers to show you how the strips go together.

Start with 2 squares the height and width of the strips you will use for your project.

  • I used 2.5″ for the pillow and
  • 5.5″ for the quilt throw blanket

Next add strip #3. Trim to square and press seams.

Continue adding strips according to the diagrams, with the ends slightly longer than needed so you can cut to square as each is added.

There are so many ways to use a Log Cabin block – what will you try first?

– Tara Reed

P.S. If you make this block I’d love to see it!

Tag me on Instagram: @artisttarareed
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P.P.S. Want to see more free projects using my Send Me to the Woods Fabric? CLICK HERE >

Want more Quilt Block Tutorials? CLICK HERE >

Want to see more free projects using my Send Me to the Woods Fabric? CLICK HERE >