We all know Jelly Rolls, right?

This is Confetti by Barbara Groves & Mary Jacobson, aka Me & My Sister Designs.  (Confetti will be in shops in January 2018.)

Since we know several shops hosting National Sew A Jelly Roll Day are planning a few games, we want to make sure you have a few of the “Jelly Facts” we’ve been sharing.  (There might be prizes involved… just saying.)

Jelly Roll 101:

  • The first Jelly Roll – or collection of 2-1/2″ pre-cut strips – was born in Dallas, Texas in September of 2006.  (It has been a registered trademark of Moda Fabrics for many years.)
  • A Jelly Roll contains 40 strips measuring 2-1/2″ x 45″.  (Jelly Rolls are offered for most Moda collections but not all.  They are also available in a range of Bella Solids and Grunge.)
  • Junior Jelly Rolls have 20 strips measuring 2-1/2″ x 45″.  They are most commonly available for smaller collections and for Basics like Bella Solids and Grunge.
  • There are approximately 140 feet of fabric in a Jelly Roll.
  • It takes just under 38 Jelly Rolls to make a mile of fabric.

If you’ve ever used a Jelly Roll you know that they can be a bit “linty”… crumbs.  So here are a few Jelly Roll sewing tips:

  • Use a lint brush or sticky lint-roller over the raw-edge sides of the Jelly Roll before un-rolling it to minimize the fluffy lint that will otherwise cover everything!
  • Iron the strips flat before sewing – especially the fold!
  • Use a bit of steam – as in GET STEAMED!  Steam helps realign the fibers, and they will relax and lose the curl that is left after they’ve been rolled so tightly for a little while.
  • Save leftover Jelly Roll strips for scrappy binding and string quilts.
  • Seam allowance – pick a point where you’re going to line up the edge of the jelly roll strip and stay consistent!  Measure the width of your strip sets before you cross-cut strips, squares, sashings or other adjoining pieces.

One question that always comes up is “can a Jelly Roll be pre-washed?”  The answer is always “yes, of course it can be… but why would you want to?”  That’s the fun of Jelly Rolls, it can be as easy as – un-tie, un-roll, un-fold, get busy sewing.  Pre-washing will likely result in a big, tangled mess of strips.  But there is a way to pre-shrink the strips a bit – to “prep” them.  Starch or sizing – sprayed or dipped.

These strips were dipped in a diluted solution of liquid starch and water – a little more water than the “recipe” on the bottle calls for works best for me.  The strips are then hung to dry on clips attached to an extra shower-curtain rod in a spare bathroom.  If you have space for a laundry drying rack, that works beautifully but in an apartment, the bathtub works really well.  (Though make sure if gets really cleaned and scrubbed before anyone uses it as the starch makes the surface very, very slippery.)

The strips dry quickly and then they just need a quick pressing, and a little steam.  For Jelly Roll quilts with a bit of cutting, or where accuracy is required, I find this helps me get better results.

Do you have any Jelly Roll sewing tips to share?

10 thoughts on “Getting Jelly with it…

  1. Great tips!!! Where did you get those awesome little hanger thingies?! The big question is which flavor of jelly do I want ?! Ha!

    1. I bought them at a store selling display items for stores many years ago. And I’ve been looking for more ever since! I’ll let you know if I find more.

  2. I wish my mother and grandmother could have used the jelly roll back in the many days of the nineties. They would have loved them.

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