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2. Jelly Roll Race Quilt. How Many Strips do you need?

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Published on Feb 17, 2013

How many strips? It's time for math.

Enlarging Jelly Roll Quilts to Queen
In order to enlarge a jelly roll quilt to a queen size, you need more strips in your beginning long strip of fabric. You cannot add width to a jelly roll quilt top after it is finished, only length. The only way to add width to it is to add borders.

Here's how I figure out how many strips to start with. Here's the formula, then I'll figure it out with real numbers.

Start with the width you want to quilt top to end up being and multiply that by 32 (number of rows in a normal jelly roll quilt). Divide this number by 40 or 41 (number of inches long your individual strips will be once you seam them together). That number is how many strips you need to start out with in your first long strip of fabric.

So here's the formula in actual numbers. Get your caluclator out unless you are a real math whiz!

Say I want my quilt top to end up 75" wide (wide enough to go across a queen size bed, with some overhang, but will need borders to make it cover a mattress). I multiply that number by 32 and end up with 2400. This is how long your strip will need to be before you start seaming the pieces together. Then I divide that big number by 40 (to be on the safe side! Your strips may end up 41" long, but let's assume they are 40" long). This ends up with the number 60, which is how many strips you need to use to make the jelly roll top 75" wide.

The 32 rows of a jelly roll quilt will end up in length to be approximately 64" long. You will want to add length to the quilt by adding strips one at a time to make it long enough for a bed. Since each row adds 2", figure out how many rows you need to add, and then multiply that by 75 divided by 40 to tell how many more strips to sew together to make that length. So, say I wanted my length to be 80". I would need to 8 more rows. The math 8 times 75 equals 600 divided by 40 equals 15. So I would sew 15 more strips together to make a piece long enough to sew on 8 more rows.

Word of caution. Sew these rows on first row from one end, then reverse the direction you sew it on for the next row. The fabric will bow and the quilt will not be square if you just sew each row on from the same direction. Another hint. Instead of just sewing on fabric to the quilt bottom, measure 75" sections and sew them on by pinning them across, easing in the fabric as you go along. ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS! Because I didn't do this on one quilt and had to rip out 8 rows of stitching because the fabric bowed and I had a big "pregnant" bulge in the part of my quilt where I sewed the extra rows. You don't want this!

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