I don’t think I’m ready for this Jelly: My first sewing project

My colour-addiction continues. Check out the beautiful contrasts in my very first sewing project!

Stripes!  I love stripes!

Stripes! I love stripes!

For Christmas, Irish gave me a sewing machine, and I’m sew (geddit) excited! Unfortunately for the poor sewing machine, I am a total novice. The last time I used a sewing machine, I made a bag for my mother. I was so proud – it had a picture of a bunny rabbit on the front, and a pom pom on the back (bunny rabbit tail, see?). I gave it to her for mother’s day when I was twelve years old. She opened the little package, took one look and said to me, uncertainly, ‘Oh darling! A pair of panties! How sweet of you’.

This time, it will be different. I will crack sewing. I will produce something that doesn’t look like a playboy bunny wears it in Hugh Hefner’s mansion. But. It took me four hours to wind the bobbin on Sunday. I swore more than Irish does when he’s watching the six nations rugby.

Luckily one of the ‘yarn Ho’s’ from my local knit and natter group came to the rescue, and recommended I get started by sewing ‘jelly roll’ strips together to make a quilt. And in so doing, I encountered a whole new world of sewing terminology – of jelly rolls, charm packs, fat quarters, and other mind-boggling and rather intimidating phrases.
Anyway, jelly rolls look like this:

Click on the photo to buy this one.

Click on the photo to buy this one.

They consist of 2.5 inch wide strips of fabric, bundled together so that they co-ordinate. And, as my friend points out, they’re a great way to get to know your sewing machine. It turns out that straight lines are the easiest thing to sew.

The other reason I love them is that the strips of fabric are all so well put-together. The colours co-ordinate beautifully and it looks like you’ve spent hours in a fabric shop working out what goes with what – but oh no, you’ve just bought a jelly roll for Β£30 from eBay or similar.

So pretty..

So pretty..

You can tell from the close-up that I didn’t pin these strips (tsk tsk) and I’m not that good at sewing in straight lines – yet. But hey, in two days I put together all 42 strips in my jelly roll, and they look so cute. Next step – working out how to add a middle layer and a back!

Oops – I appear to have made another blanket – or at least be on the way towards it. But hey, a girl can never have too many works in progress, right?

Leave a comment


  1. If you get a 1/4 inch quilting foot it will help immensely. The only thing I would say is it doesn’t look like you have pressed your seems open; you will be astounded at the difference this makes. Can recommend visits to the Moda Bake Shop and Missouri Star Quilters have fab tutorials on you tube. Looks wonderful. Keep going πŸ™‚

    • Ahem, no I didn’t press anything. I really should have, shouldn’t I – thanks for the advice πŸ™‚ It is too late to press now? Is it true that you press the seams against the darker fabric when you are quilting like this? I am off to visit those sites, thank you so much for the help! Hooray for quilting experts…

      • You can’t know everything to start off. You can press after the fact it’s just a bit more awkward. UK quilters tend to press seams open, US ones seem to press to the dark side (mwahahaha!). it doesn’t really matter. The Missouri Star lady talks a lot about pressing and is brilliant. She uses precuts all the time – try and find her easy pinwheel tutorial, I am still obsessed by it.

  2. I’ve been sewing for years and I still haven’t completed a quilt. Good for you! I think I’ll be checking out jelly rolls next time at the craft store…

  3. Thanks for the follow! That fabric is gorgeous. I look forward to seeing more of your sewing adventures! πŸ™‚


  4. That looks gorgeous! Have just been looking at some jelly rolls online thanks to your post ;o) Am also trying to make a quilt with some Kate Spain material but umm… mine is not going so welll!

  5. Good luck, it looks like a very good start to me! πŸ™‚

  6. Love the bright stripes, looks amazing! I’m also an enthusiastic novice when it comes to sewing machines, and I’d never even heard of jelly rolls before reading this. Such a brilliant idea! Up to now, I’ve mainly been sewing quite small things on mine..that don’t take too long to unpick..

  7. Sounds like you are on the way to becoming a quilt-a-holic too πŸ˜‹


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