red and white log cabin quilt block with title.

Traditional Log Cabin Quilt Block Tutorial

 Surprisingly we didn’t get to this block until the fourth week of the sampler, but finally here we are – the Traditional Log Cabin block.  If you’ve been around traditional quilts at all, you’ve probably seen this block.  It is used in many different colour ways and layouts, with different sized centre squares and different widths of bars, but underneath it’s all the same block.

For the full Log Cabin Sampler, you will need nine of these blocks.  For the mini sampler, you need only four.

Cutting

These pieces are all 1-1/2″ wide, so if you cut a bunch of these, keep working with them.  Cut the longest pieces first to conserve fabric.

Dark fabric:blank

  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 8-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 7-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 6-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 5-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 4-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″

Light fabric:

  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 8-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 7-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 6-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 5-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 4-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 2-1/2″
  • nine [four] 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″

Assembly

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Layout the pieces with the light 1-1/2″ square in the middle, and the rest of the pieces going around it with dark pieces on one corner and the light pieces on the other corner.  It might look like they don’t fit, but it’s just because of seam allowances.

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Sew the light 1-1/2″ square to the dark square.  This is the beginning of the first round.

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The dark 2-1/2″ piece should fit exactly to that piece.

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Then the light 2-1/2″ piece goes on.

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Then the light 3-1/2″ piece finished the first round.  You can already see the design forming.

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The dark 3-1/2″ piece goes on the bottom, then the dark 4-1/2″ piece goes on the side for the first half of the second round.

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Then the light 4-1/2″ and 5-1/2″ pieces go on the top and side to complete the second round.  By now the pattern should be clear – bottom, left, top, right with two dark then two light.

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The third round goes on with the next size of bars.

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The fourth row goes on and ends with the light 9-1/2″ piece.

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This pattern has four rounds, but you could use any number of rounds that you want if you are making your own pattern.

The block should finish at 9-1/2″ square.  Because of the number of seams, it is very important to have an accurate scant 1/4″ seam allowance.   Practice before doing a bunch of blocks because it can be affected by many different things including the weight of the thread and fabric that you use.  Having the pieces pre-cut to the exact length helps you know if you’re on the right track as you go along.

Don’t forget the other blocks in the Log Cabin Sampler Quilt.

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Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos

designer, teacher, speaker

Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. For more information or to have her speak to your group click HERE.

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