Somehow, quilters have a reputation for loving sweet treats (especially chocolate) so it’s probably not surprising that many quilty pre-cuts are named for baked goods, such as layer cakes, turnovers and the well-known jelly rolls. And because Saturday, Sept. 15 is National Sew a Jelly Roll Day, well, we thought you might enjoy knowing the back story.
Jelly Roll Fun Facts
Jelly rolls are a creation of Moda Fabrics, and were “born” in September 2006 in Dallas. This roll of 2 ½” x 45” strips usually contains 40 prints from a single fabric collection, and many say it launched the pre-cut revolution in quilting. Jelly rolls are just one of many pre-cut “sweets” Moda offers; the others include 10” square layer cakes, and 2 ½” square “candy.” Most fabric manufacturers have followed suit, and have their own line of named pre-cuts, but Jelly Roll is a registered trademark of Moda. Here are a few more facts and tips:
- There are about 140 feet of fabric in one jelly roll.
- 38 jelly rolls end-to-end measure nearly one mile.
- Leftover jelly roll strips are perfect for English Paper Piecing, string quilts and bindings.
- Pre-washing is definitely not recommended.
- Use a sticky lint roller over the raw edge sides of a jelly roll before unrolling it to minimize lint
- Pressing with steam and spray starch can help realign fibers in the strips and get them sew-ready.
Sounds like an ideal pre-cut, right? Here’s the thing, though: People often treat jelly rolls as jewels and they sit on a shelf, their strips tightly furled, because people can’t bear to open them. Just. Too. Cute. So Moda decreed National Sew A Jelly Roll Day would be on the third Saturday in September every year, and give people a reason to be brave, untie that jelly roll, and just make something already!
Get Ready to Rumble!
Hip Stitch is participating in all the jelly roll frivolity with a Jelly Roll Race class taught by Bralia Mease at 1:30 pm on Saturday, Sept. 15. (Sign up HERE.) Everybody should do this, at least once! In a timed sewing session, you’ll sew the strips end-to-end, and then lengthwise to eventually form a quickie quilt top that usually takes about 2 ½ hours to stitch. Rumor has it Bralia is bringing real jelly roll treats , plus a prize for the first one to finish.
Of course there are tons of other jelly-roll “recipes” for fun quilts and projects, including in many books and magazines on sale at Hip Stitch. Moda Bake Shop is a website dedicated to free patterns and project ideas for using pre-cuts of any size/shape. And we can’t forget the latest Jelly Roll project craze--Jelly Roll rugs! We’ve had several classes on these and more are planned.(For details, go HERE.) Hip Stitch teacher Cindy Bruner calls these uber-popular rugs the “Cabbage Patch Dolls” of the quilting world.
So, whether you join in the group Jelly Roll Race fun this Saturday, or choose another project, just unroll one of these babies and let the creative fun begin!