Tutorial: Log Cabin Quilt Block

Posted in: Block Party, Tutorials — By on July 26, 2011 8:00 AM

This is the first post of a new series we’re doing called “Block Party!” — a set of tutorials for quilt blocks.  The first block we’ll show you is a fairly easy one called the Log Cabin block.  This block is a great way to use up fabric scraps, and offers many design possibilities.

This tutorial will show you how to make a log cabin quilt block that will be 8″ square when finished.  You can make your block larger or smaller by changing the width of your fabric strips, or by changing the number of fabric strips in your block.

To make this block, you will need…

  • One 2.5″ square
  • One 1.5″ x 3″ strip
  • Two 1.5″ x 3.5″ strips
  • Two 1.5″ x 4.5″ strips
  • Two 1.5″ x 5.5″ strips
  • Two 1.5″ x 6.5″ strips
  • Two 1.5″ x 7.5″ strips
  • One 1.5″ x 8.5″ strip

Note: These measurements include a 1/4″ seam allowance on all sides!

If you are making a lot of these blocks, you may want to just make long fabric strips that are 1.5″ wide, and cut them to size as you go.  This method makes it easier to design your blocks as they take shape, rather than having to plan them out in advance.

Starting with the 2.5″ square, stitch the strips around the sides one at a time.  Start with the shortest strips and make your way to the longer ones.  Remember to use a 1/4″ seam allowance, which is standard for quilting.  Keep checking that your seams are as square as possible while you sew, and make adjustments if you need to.  Every strip of fabric you add should be flush with the rest of the block.

When you’ve stitched all of the fabric strips together, you should have a block that looks like this:


Now that you know how to make a log cabin block, you can start thinking about your colour scheme and how you want to use these blocks in your overall quilt design.

You may choose to arrange your colours and fabrics randomly, so that your quilt is more colourful and fun:

You could also choose to use this pattern to make a more geometric pattern.  In the quilt block below, reds have been used on one side of the block, and blues on the other:

This kind of block can be arranged to make some really cool patterns:

Try stitching up a few blocks and experimenting with different colour and fabric combinations!  You can use this quilt block as the basis for a full quilt, or even for a smaller project like a cushion or potholder.


Are there any quilt blocks that you’d like to see in our “Block Party!” tutorial series? Leave us a note in the comments section!

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  1. I am excited about learning how to make this log cabin quilt. I have made very simple quilts for my grand children, but now I want to adventure and make bigger, and better quilts. Thank you for the directions, and the plans.

  2. Ciely Franco says:

    Hola, saludos. Maravilloso este quilts, intentaré hacerlo.
    El tuyo te ha quedado precioso.

  3. Jeannie M Bush says:

    What would the cuts be if I want a 14″ finished block?

  4. hi, I know in your instructions, that if I want to make a larger block to adjust the measurements, well I’ve tried 3 times to make a 12″ finished bock and i can’t seem to get the measurements correct. would you be able to tell me, or tell me how to calculate the measurements for a 12″ finished block? thanks so much. I’m starting to get frustrated!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Rosemary,
      Using a 1/4″ seam allowance for everything, I would start with a 4″ square for the middle, and then cut long strips of fabric that are 2″ wide. Follow the steps in the tutorial, and trim the strips of fabric to fit as you go. The result should be a 12.5″ square (which includes 1/4″ all around as a seam allowance).
      Hope that helps!

  5. margery moench says:

    I am making a log cabin heart quilt called peppermint hearts by evelyn sloppy can’t seem to keep it square & my blocks is smaller than what is required for the quilt pattern. I am using a 1/4 inch foot on my machine. What am I doing wrong.

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