Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jelly Roll Bargello Tutorial

Want to make this quilt? I have finally gotten around to writing a tutorial for it. 

These are notes to the specific quilt I made. Adding or deleting jelly roll strips will alter the size of your quilt. You can use my quilt as a guide to create yours. You may use the pattern for personal use (i.e. to make a quilt for yourself  or as a gift) but please do not use this pattern to make quilts to sell.
One jelly roll makes 27.5 inches of the bargello. I used 2 jelly rolls, to make the width 54 inches, finished. If you want to make a wider quilt, use more jelly rolls, or add borders.

My quilt finished as a twin; 54 x 88 inches
The size of this quilt will depend on how many jelly strips you use. I only used 36 of 40, so before borders my quilt was 72 inches long. If you use all 40 strips of a typical jelly roll, your quilt will be 80 inches long. If you use all the strips you may not need to add borders, if you use less, you may need to add more fabric. Your length will be # of jelly strips X 2. Add borders to meet the size you want.

Fabric requirements
2 Jelly rolls - don't trim off selvages
Fabric for borders - 1 yard - cut 3 strips 8.5 inches wide. Make 2 pieces that are 8.5 x 54.5 inches long. I also cut 4 strips, 2.5 inches wide to be used for binding.
Yardage for backing - 6 yards (this is generous - I just pieced big scrap pieces together until it was big enough)
Batting - 58 x 92 inches
Binding - I used the 4 leftover jelly roll strips, along with strips cut from the border fabric.

Step 1: Picking your fabric order.

This might be the hardest part for some. Most jelly rolls are already sorted from lightest to darkest, it really is finding what you like best. For me, I picked 5 or 6 strips of 2 different colours that I thought looked good together, then added 1 or 2 strips to go in between them for contrast.

In this set, there are 2 blue strips between the green and purple strips. This set has 13 strips.

In this set, 1 green strip is between the pink and blue strips. There are 11 strips in this set. 

Step 2: Piecing the strip sets
Instead of piecing all 36 strips together and then try to cut them for the bargello strips, I made 3 different sets that were then cut and joined together to make the bargello strips. This just makes it easier to handle. 

For each set, I first sewed them in pairs - selvages at the same end.

Then sew the pairs together, starting at the lengthwise grain edge. Starting from opposite edges will help prevent the fabric from being stretched during the piecing process.

When you're done, you will have a set with all the selvages at one end. 

Lay your sets down. This is your last chance to change the order (without creating major frustration for yourself). If you are happy with your sets, it's time to iron and cut them. Press the seams how you like - open might be the best way. I pressed each set a little differently and open seams went together better.

Step 3 - Cutting the Bargello Strips
Now is the time to trim off your selvages to give yourself a straight edge. 
From each set cut: 4 strips - 2.5 inches wide
10 strips - 2 inches wide
6 strips - 1.5 inches long
You will have about 3 inches leftover in case you cut one wrong and need to cut another.

Put your strips into groups based on size and set (2.5 at the top, 2 in the middle and 1.5 at the bottom)

Doing one size at a time, you are going to sew the strips in their correct order to make one long strip. Then sew the 2 ends together to make a ring. Above are the 1.5 strips lined up waiting to be sewn together.

I chained pieced my strips, causing the middle strip to make a loop between the 1st and 3rd strips.

This is what you should have after piecing. Keep all loops of the same width together.

Step 4: Piecing the Bargello strips
This is where you really need to pay attention, or you will be using your seam ripper. Trust me. To make it easy, I made the first strip start with the first fabric. I number the top fabric as #1 and the bottom fabric as #36. 

Click to enlarge.

Using the chart above as a guide, sew the strips together, ripping the seam of each loop between the top and the bottom fabrics. The top number tells you which fabric will be at the top of your strip, while the bottom number, tells you which fabric is at the bottom. The middle number tells you the width of the strip to use. 

Here is the first 2 strips sewn together with the next 4 waiting to be pieced. Take your time to make sure the pattern is going the right way.

First bargello section all sewn together (just realized this picture was taken upside down - oops). The pattern is set up so you can add as many sections as you want and the bargello pattern will continue.

Here are both sets done and sewn together - and the picture taken from the right way.
Add borders if you want. Quilt as desired. Bind and enjoy.

Finished quilt.

Pieced binding.

Enjoy my first tutorial. Thanks to all the other bloggers who have offered free patterns and tutorials. I really appreciate them.
 Please let me know of any errors. I hope to make a printer friendly, pdf version in the future and would appreciate any comments on anything that is hard to understand. 


  1. Wonderful tutorial and beautiful quilt! I'm bookmarking this because I have a couple of jelly rolls that are crying out to be turned into a quilt!

    Thanks for posting this tutorial!

  2. I was looking for a bargello patteren, that used jelly rolls. easy to understand tutorial. beautiful quilt thank you.

  3. What is the best way to secure the seams once the strips are cut? I have found them opening as I'm working with sewing the strips together, leaving pin holes in some areas. My fear is once the quilt is complete it will begin to come apart. Is it advisable to use liquid seam or fray check on the seams?

    1. Sorry that you're having trouble. I didn't have a problem with the seams coming apart and I don't have experience using the two products you suggested. Feel free to use what works for you. My suggestion would be to use a shorter stitch length next time when sewing the strips together. I know that doesn't help now. Perhaps the liquid seam would work best to keep seams together while piecing. Good luck.

    2. Thank you Rachel!! I set my stitch length at 3.5, maybe setting it lower would help. In the meantime, I will just have to try to reinforce using one of the two products I mentioned.

    3. Most machines measure stitch length in mm, so 3.5 is really high! I use 2.2 generally, you really should shorten yours.

  4. Thank you for your tutorial - I followed it and it worked. Excellent, very clear. Ellen

  5. this is probably the first time i've seen a bargello pattern i would attempt your tutorial is amazing. thank you.

  6. How can I make this wider? For some reason I can't calculate the answer. Other than that problem, I'm very tempted to try this. Love bargello. You have done a great tut here.

    1. To make it wider, just keep repeating. The quilt shown is 2 pattern repeats. Hope that helps.

  7. I so adore this quilt! Your tutorial is very well-written. You have explained the steps so clearly that I am so inspired to make one right now! Thank you.

  8. Hi, good tut. but could you make it a pdf file so I can download to make later?

  9. Love this tutorial! I have never purchased any jelly rolls since I have a stashed houseful of quilt print yardage! I am guessing that one jelly roll here provides 27" of width, the 2 jelly rolls you used equal 54", sooo will I need 3 jelly rolls to equal 81" for a full-size bed quilt??? i just need a little positive reinforcement before I turn lots of fabric into many, many strips! Thanks. Rosemary Johnson

    1. You're right. Each jelly roll will give you 27" of width. Good luck.

  10. thank you so much for this tutorial, my first bargello quilt is growing

  11. Love this pattern AND your quilt! Colors are so fresh and attractive. Have you ever gotten the paytern into a pdf file?

  12. Hi, Thanks for the tutorial...What is the name of the jelly roll you used?

    1. It's Me & My Sister Favorites by Me & My Sister. Not sure if you'll be able to find it anywhere. It's been a few years since I made the quilt.

  13. Thank you....I was looking for an easy way to do this pattern


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