Fun with Precuts Part 2: Jelly Roll Chevron Challenge

Last week I talked about the fun of unbridled sewing using jelly rolls. But, obviously, there’s so much more a quilter can do with 2 ½ inch strips of fabric. A simple Google search yields hundreds (maybe thousands?) of pretty patterns that call out to be made.

So why not try something new? Why not take advantage of having a leg up on the cutting to do something different?

At least, that’s what I was thinking when I started this chevron quilt with a big, juicy jelly roll of Kona solids. I’ve been wanting to do something with chevrons for ages. I love the zig zags, and the rainbow appeal of this jelly roll seemed just perfect. So, I jumped right in.

As it is with most new things you try in life, I learned a lot in the process. Yep, this quilt had some lessons to teach!


1. Cutting for days

The basic construction of the quilt involves whittling down 40ish 2 ½ inch strips into about 160 little parallelograms of different widths (that make up your zigs & zags). I also had to add several more fabrics to make wider, 3 ½ inch, strips.

This meant hours of cutting precut fabrics into even tinier pieces, with a precise 45-degree angle. The pattern I used (see note below*) provided a template for this, which seemed great at first. That was before I realized how much cutting around all four sides was slowing me down and that I could just use the 45-degree angle line on my ruler. Duh!

Hot tip #1: Use the 45-degree line on the ruler. It’s awesome.


2. All the colors

While it seems like using a jelly roll should make choosing colors a no-brainer, I quickly figured out that having the colors of the rainbow at my fingertips presented the biggest possible color challenge there is. How to arrange ALL the colors?!?!

I just had to put strips up on my design wall, take them down, rearrange them, put them back again, take them down, rearrange them, put them back again until I found a combination I liked. Finally, I decided to take out the colors I liked the least. This meant a smaller quilt, but also less stress and a final color scheme that I love.

Hot tip #2: Cheat. You don’t have to use the whole jelly roll if you don’t want to.


3. Warning: Assembly Requires Perseverance

These aren’t the smallest pieces you could sew together. There are no curved seams. There aren’t even any fancy techniques or special tools you need. But sewing all the parallelograms in rows and then getting those rows put together so all the zigs and zags form neat little points was an exercise in quilting perseverance extreme.

I’m pretty proud of the estimated 80% of all points that meet. The only way I could achieve anything near this grade is by carefully pinning every seam (and doing a little easing along the way). Even with all of the imperfections, the final product still makes me happy.

Hot tip #3: Persevere but at the end of the day remember that, in the words of my Mom’s friend, Daisy, “it’s just a stinking quilt!”


So in conclusion, I love the final quilt top. And I learned a lot along the way, but next time, I’m all for trying one of the many MUCH easier chevron patterns the internet has to offer.



*Note about the pattern: Called “Modern Chevron” by CW Design Co, I picked this pattern up at The Pacific International Quilt Show in 2015. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a reference to the company or this pattern online.

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