Quilt as you Go Log Cabin Tutorial

You all asked for it, so here you go! :) This one is especially for all my facebook followers - I wouldn't be blogging and pushing myself to learn new techniques if it weren't for your support. Thank you!

This quilt is featured on Pellon Perojects. You can find a printable version of it HERE.

Final quilt measures approximately 33" x 36". It makes a lovely wall-hanging or baby quilt.

This tutorial is one form of Quilt as you Go where a quilt is pieced directly onto one big piece of batting. I have a book coming out this September which explains everything you need to know about my modernized technique so you can really get creative with it. Hopefully this tutorial (and another one I have pending) will satisfy your curiosity in the meantime. :)

  • 6 half yards for the top (you will have leftover fabric. I suggest you save them for my next tutorial!)
  • Backing: 1 yard
  • Binding: use leftover fabric
  • Batting: Crib-size cotton Legacy batting by Pellon. Trim down to approximately 34" x 37".

I recommend Pellon's needle-punched batting for Quilt as you Go projects because its a dense batting that doesn't stretch much, making it very easy to work with. 

I got my fabric from a cute online fabric shop called Simply Sweet Fabrics. I wanted to share this because I love to support small businesses. Plus, it's these small boutique shops that always have the best and most unique fabric selections!

Please read: Before you start, I want to  say that this style of Quilt as you Go does not use precise measurements, so you'll notice me saying to cut approximate (~) size pieces. And remember, you can make your strips as narrow or as wide as you want to give it a different look. Also, when quilting your pieces directly onto the batting, make sure your stitch starts and ends on the batting, as illustrated in my photos below.

Step 1: From your fabric, cut an ~8" square. Place it in the center of the batting (I placed mine a little above the center).  Quilt it directly onto the batting.

I quilted simple straight lines:

Step 2: From the length of your fabric, cut a strip that's ~6.5" wide. Place the strip next to the square and trim using fabric scissors so it's the same length as the square. With right sides facing together, sew a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press open with an iron, and then quilt it directly onto the batting. I quilted lines that ran parallel to the seam. 

Step 3: From the length of your fabric, cut a 2nd strip that is ~5.5" wide. Using fabric scissors, trim the strip so it's the same overall length as the previous two pieces (as shown below). With right sides facing together, sew a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press open, and then quilt it directly onto the batting. I did free-motion quilting for all the solid-colored fabrics because the design shows up better. Whatever design you quilt, make sure it runs parallel to the seam.

If you're new to free-motion quilting, I suggest you start with a simple and small-scale design like small loopy-loops, as I've done. A few free-motion quilting tips: 1) wear quilting gloves to help give you more control of the quilt; 2)When is starts feeling awkward, stop and readjust - just make sure your needle ends on down position; 3) don't forget to breath! =) 

(Note: the loopy-loops and all other quilting in my illustrations are not to scale. See the picture below for a better idea of the scale) 

Step 4: Continue adding strips using the method previously explained, except add them in the order shown below. For example, the next strip to add would be #4. 
The approximate widths of the fabric strips are as follows. Be sure to cut the strips along the length of your fabric as you need to work with longer strips. Then simply trim to size using fabric scissors. 
  • #4 is ~7" wide
  • #5 is ~6" wide
  • #6 is ~5" wide
  • #7 is ~6.5" wide
  • #8 is ~5.5" wide
  • #9 is ~7.5" wide
  • #10 is ~8.5" wide
Tip! Fabric can shift while stitching on the batting. Correct for this by keeping the strips aligned and ‘square’ them as necessary. Each successive piece should be at a 90° angle to the previous quilted piece.

Step 5: After all of the strips have been attached, your quilt will look similar to this.



The next step is to square up your quilt. With the batting side facing you, trim off all the excess fabric outside the batting. Then, fold the quilt in half and align the fold with a line on a cutting mat grid. Straighten the quilt as much as possible. Trim 1-2 inches on the sides with no fold to square it up.  The quilt will end up measuring approximately 33" x 36". 

Step 6: The last steps remaining are to add the backing fabric and then bind the quilt. To add the backing fabric,  baste the 1 yard of backing fabric to the quilt. Obviously, since you've already quilted the fabric onto the batting, all you need to join is your quilted top and the backing fabric. This makes basting really fast!

Minimal quilting is needed to attach the backing fabric. I simply did stitch-in-the-ditch in the seams, as designated by the dashes below.

Stitch-in-the-ditch is basically stitching a straight line directly into the seam. I suggest starting out really slow when doing this. 

Whichever seams you decide to stitch-in-the-ditch, have fun with it and keep in mind of the design it will make on the back.

Lastly, bind your quilt! check out my easy binding tutorial.

Thank you for your interest and for checking out my tutorial! If you love this non-fussy and very creative style of quilting, watch for my upcoming book later this year. :) 

For a printer friendly version of this tutorial, please click HERE.  Compliments of Pellon. :)


  1. Such a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow, thanks for the tutorial, very cool!

  3. Yay! What a wonderful treat!! Thank you!

  4. Can't wait to try this and to buy your book. Thanks for doing this tutorial--wonderful instructions.

    1. you're very welcome - thanks for the comment! =)

  5. What a great tutorial, it's a chance for new comers to FMQ, like me, to grow in confidence quilting small amounts of fabric before going on to larger quilts.Thank you I will definitely be trying this in the near future,

    Peg x

  6. Thank you! Your quilting style is very encouraging to a beginner like me. So many tutorials demand so much "perfection" but yours encourage creativity and just doing it. Very nice and appreciated! Also quilting in the rain ... Gotta love SW WA in the winter!

  7. How funny to find your tutorial for this today: my sister and I made quilts for our neices twins this last week using the same technique, and they turned out great! Thanks for sharing your technique with all of us! Hugs, H in Healdsburg

  8. This is so simple that even a new quilter as myself can do it, Thanks you so much for sharing this. When is your new book coming out and what is the name of it? I'm now a follower.

  9. Brilliant!! Perfect for a beginner. Love it.

  10. love your blog, just pre-ordered your book.

  11. Thanks.... love the quilt and your sharing!

  12. I have 3 new grandbabies coming this spring and this will make sweet easy gifts to keep them wrapped in Gramma's love! Thanks for the great idea!

  13. Geri in Athens,TexasDecember 7, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Great ideas for my little class of beginners! Thank you!



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