Modern Jelly Roll Race Quilt Tutorial

My Modern Jelly Roll Race Quilt Tutorial

Jelly Roll Race quilts are a favorite fast & easy quilt to make.  I decided to make a jelly roll quilt as a gift for a dear friend.  I started by reviewing the tutorials on Youtube by the Missouri Quilt Company because it had been awhile since I made one of these quilts. [See link at very end of this post].

Then, when I was ready to make my quilt I realized I had a design decision to make.  Nearly all of the jelly roll race quilts that I see on social media are made with all (or mostly) print jelly rolls.  However, that didn’t suit my modern style. I’m not a ‘scrappy’ quilter. Instead,  I wanted a quilt that would read nearly solid with vibrant, modern colors.  And, I wanted maximum color–which will not come as a surprise!

I didn’t want to cut a ton of strips if I didn’t have to and then I remembered that I had the perfect solution–a Gelato Ombre jelly roll in luscious tropical colors!

Everyone who has seen the finished quilt said it looks like a Sarasota Sunset at the beach. It was quilted by Carol Byrnes, a professional long armer.

Here’s my modern jelly roll race quilt tutorial!

The Fabric!!

Here’s how I used a modern fabric group and added some stash fabric to make this very tropical jelly roll race quilt for a friend. In this tutorial, I show you the fabrics that I used but you could substitute a modern palette solids jelly roll and any other bold modern print.

Fabric you will need to make a quilt:

  • One jelly roll:  I found a perfect jelly roll in my stash that would make a more modern quilt.  It is a Gelato Jelly Roll with ombre strips in luscious colors.  It’s the Maywood Studio Gelato collection from E. E. Schenck.  Many of you know that I absolutely love this ombre fabric collection and use it often in my quilts. You can purchase this fabric at local quilt shops and online.
  • Tropical print focus fabric–straight out of my stash!  I used 3/4 yard of this lovely fabric.
  • Coordinating Solids: I cut several 2-1/2 inch strips in purple and yellow. I used 1 fat quarter of yellow and 1/2 yard of a deep purple–also from my stash.  I could have used other colors but settled on yellow and purple for a bit of extra pop.
  • Borders:  I used two different Gelato Ombres for my borders that coordinated with the Gelato jelly roll.  The top border measures 8-1/2″ by 60-1/2″ and takes 1 yard of fabric.  The bottom border measures 10-1/2″ x 60-1/2″ and takes 1-1/4 yard of fabric.  But–these are approximate sizes because your quilt dimensions may be slightly different.  I suggest assembling the strip center and then measuring for the borders.  See more on assembling below.
  • Binding:  I measured the quilt perimeter and made a random strip from the solids, ombre from the border and print.
Gelato ombre yardage used for borders and in binding
Focus print

[divider]Assembly Instructions for My Jelly Roll Race Quilt

  1. First, I cut the focus print and solids into 2-1/2 inch strips in random lengths ranging from approximately 18 to 20 inches long.  I didn’t measure–I just cut them randomly.
  2. DO NOT CUT the fabric for the borders yet.
  3. I unrolled the Gelato Jelly roll and started sewing it together as shown in the tutorials. First I sewed two gelato strips together at the short ends.  Then, randomly, I would insert a focus print strip, then another Gelato strip or two, then a yellow strip, a Gelato strip or two, then a purple strip, then two Gelato strips, and so forth.  No–I did not plan it out.  Why bother?  The cutting process will make this look even more random.  See the tutorial link below to see how this quilt is sewn together if you haven’t made one before–I used exactly the same process. The only difference is that I would put in other strips.
  4. One other difference is that I joined the strips with straight ends, not a slanted or mitered type of join.  I liked the more modern, straight edge look of these seams.


5.  I followed the jelly roll race process until my center was 60 inches wide by 59 inches long.  I wanted a bit more length, so I measured the width and added the top and bottom border.

6.  I randomly pieced the binding from Gelato ombre yardage used in the borders, and strips of the focus print and solids.

7.  Quilting was done by Carol Byrnes–a local longarmer.  You can find her here.  She used an all over design that reminded me of waves. I could have asked her to do straight line quilting but decided that was a bit too predictable. The waves and curves were more organic and luscious feeling to me, and echoed the movement of color over the surface of the quilt.


Close up of the quilting
Showing the quilting and a bit of the binding
Binding. Randomly pieced.

More Fabric Options

I decided to play around in EQ8 and create a couple more colorways in a smaller size quilt.  This is a 40″ x 46″ baby quilt that uses one jelly roll and 1/2 yard of a print.   Or, you can cut strips from your stash.  A jelly roll is approximately 2-1/2 total yards of fabric.


Solids are all Moda Grunge.


A very modern grey, yellow and black & white palette. I like this combination and might make it!

Photo Shoot Out Takes!


Yes…it was windy on photo shoot day…….


I nearly gave up and shot this just in case!!

[divider]Jelly Roll Race Quilt Tutorial by Missouri Quilt Company

Here’s a great tutorial on sewing the jelly roll race quilt–no need for me to reinvent the wheel.  But search YouTube for other variations.

16 thoughts on “Modern Jelly Roll Race Quilt Tutorial”

  1. I love, love, love your quilt ~ ~ and am eager to see other versions you might create ~ ~ I am completely smitten with the gelato ombres and have many interesting things in my head ~ ~ now to get them out in the light of day. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Love it! It transports me to the gorgeous sunsets in Mexico. Just beautiful! So NOT a “typical” jelly roll quilt–this has pizzazz, oomph, and appeal.

  3. Corinne Bantle

    This is very lovely. Modern. Love it. I’ve done a couple of jellyroll race quilts and I just might have to make another using an ombré fabric.

  4. Oh my!! How beautiful. This is a quilt I am going to make just for me. I love any quilt that reminds me of the ocean and sunsets.
    Congratulation on making a stunner!!

  5. This is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!!! I was looking for examples of a jelly roll combined with solids and just love how this turned out.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing. I kept seeing these race quilts, but yours was so bright and pretty!!
    I even watched the tutorial. Will be making one myself. Looks fun!

  7. Very creative spin on the Jelly Roll quilt pattern. Thanks for detail and photos, might need to make one of my own!

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