Easy Red and Cream Log Cabin Quilt Tutorial

The red and cream log cabin quilt was directly inspired by a pile of French General fabrics that had been laying around in my stash for a few years. I thought they were gorgeous but didn’t quite know how to use them, until all of a sudden I knew!  They can create a big log cabin quilt made with narrow logs! The small scale of the print and the narrow color range of the reds and creams paired beautifully with a template of a 7-inch log cabin block with ½-inch wide logs. The result is an understated and elegant quilt. The relatively narrow logs in the log cabin blocks add to the sophistication. 

 

red and cream log cabin quilt

 

This quilt speaks to us of a labor of love, of patience, hours spent by the sewing machine (blissfully listening to audiobooks in my case). This is definitely not a “quilt-in-a-day” style project. I worked on mine in bouts over the course of a year. 10 blocks here and 16 blocks there. In between I worked on many other quilt projects but once I got to 100 gorgeous log cabin blocks, I could see this magnificent log cabin quilt top taking form and the last 44 blocks were a breeze. This is the type of quilt that becomes a family heirloom. 

I completed the quilt top by adding a wide border with another vintage French General fabric from my stash. 

The quilt was long-arm quilted by Kim Werth. Kim really spent some time thinking about her design. She didn’t want to overpower the subtle design of the quilt top, but rather complement it. The quilting in the center echoes the barn raising layout of the log cabin blocks. In the border, Kim made beautiful arches with central flowers. A contemporary touch is her straight line ruler work throughout. 

If you are interested in contacting Kim about custom quilting, you can reach her per email on this address: kimwerth123@gmail.com

 

red and cream quilt

 

To make your own version of this gorgeous log cabin quilt design, follow the guidelines below. 

Quilt Size

The model quilt measures 100”x 100”.  144 blocks are organized into a 12 block wide and 12 blocks tall barn-raising pattern. The border is 8” wide. This makes it a generous queen size quilt or a very small king size without much drop. You can easily expand the quilt to a bigger king size by adding more rows of blocks, or by making the border wider. 

How to Expand the Quilt to a King Size

King size quilts can be up to 120” x 120” depending on how deep the mattress is. To make a king-size version of the Red and Cream quilt, make 196 blocks in total. Organize them into a barn-raising configuration with 14 blocks wide and 14 blocks high. This center will measure 98 inches square. Add a 7-10 inch border all the way around depending on your exact size preference.

Tools and Supplies Needed

1. Templates

The queen size model quilt uses exactly 3 books of the 7-inch Paper Piecing Template. If you are expanding to a full king size, you will need 5 books of templates. 

 

7-inch block template

 

2. Fabric

The model red and cream log cabin quilt use primarily the red and cream prints from an older collection of French General Fabrics called Petite Prints. This fabric collection is no longer available but the French General comes out with gorgeous new collections regularly and reds are their staple colors. I also mixed in French General fabrics that were both older and more recent. I made sure to have a variety of more and less saturated reds on the red side. 

On the cream side of the blocks, I also added some beige, grey, and cream Japanese taupe woven and printed fabrics.  I avoided using fabrics with too much red print in it on the cream side. The center square of each block is a medium brown, also from French General. The border and binding fabrics are both red and both are from older collections of French General.

If you want the colors of your quilt to mimic the model, a quick search on Etsy is sure to bring up pages of both recent and older French General yardage. 

However, I also encourage you to branch out and consider other fabric options for your version of the quilt. Mimic and Simpson also has gorgeous fabric collections using lots of reds and blues. Or maybe consider a quilt inspired by Civil War reproductions? The options are endless.

 

 

Fabric Yardage Requirements

Here are the fabric requirements for a queen size quilt with 144 total blocks and 8” border: 

  • Creams: 8 ¼ yards of various cream, gray, and light beige fabrics (the model used about 10-5 different cream fabrics)
  • Reds: 8 ¼ yards of various lighter and darker reds. (the Model used about 20 different fabrics)
  • Brown block center:  ⅓ yard of medium brown fabric
  • Border: 3 yards red fabric with small pattern (assuming you cut along the fabric selvage to avoid piecing the border).
  • Binding: just under the 1-yard red fabric ( 31” if cutting fabric 2 ¾ inch for double-fold binding).

Cutting Fabric for Log Cabin Quilt  

For a quilt this size, I don’t recommend that you cut all your strips right away. An enormous pile of strips is hard to keep organized. Rather, we recommend that you start off with cutting 3-4 strips in each color and cut additional fabric as you run low. Cut the strips 1 ¼-inch WOF. It can be really helpful to drape the fabric on cloth hangers or over a bar to keep them organized though in our experience they tend to end up next to the sewing machine and in your lap as you get into your project.

Piecing the Log Cabin Blocks 

If you are new to paper piecing, refer to our log cabin video tutorials to get you going. You will be making 144 traditional log cabin blocks with diagonal color contrast. Start each block by making 2 cream logs followed by two red logs as you work your way around the block.

Keep the paper on the back of the blocks until the blocks are assembled into a quilt top. Remember to keep your stitches tiny! 1.2 -1.5 is perfect for most machines. 

Assembling the Log Cabin Quilt Top

Because this quilt top is so large, even more so if you are making yours a king, we recommend that you assemble your quilt top in quarters of 7×7 blocks (8×8 if making the king-size version).  This is especially important as you are keeping the paper on the back of the blocks in this stage which means your growing quilt top will be stiff. It can also be handy to move your sewing machine to a large surface like a dining room table for this project. If a large surface is not an option for you, consider making smaller block units before assembling the whole top from these smaller units. A guide to putting together quilt tops with the paper attached to the back is included below along with directions for removing the paper.

Quilt Borders

The model queen size quilt has an 8-inch border. In order to avoid piecing the border, cut the strips 8 ½” wide along the selvage of the fabric. Miter the border corners if desired. Keep quilting and bind the quilt after. 

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