The Busy Bean

Fast and Furious for Mother’s Day

No, not the Vin Diesel movie. I contemplated action movies – deciding what to give to my mom as a gift. Instead, I made fast and furious quilts. I’ve also seen them referred to as 1600 quilts. Me, I’m calling it my “Umpunzel” quilt.

Have you seen these? I first saw it at my local quilt shop, and it was so lovely. Turns out, it’s ridiculously easy and quick to make – hence the name “fast and furious.”

You know it’s quick when you are tired of sewing clothes for dance concerts and you decide to stop and make a quilt, just so you can finish something that day. Yeah, start and finish in the time it takes to watch a movie. (Unless you are my mom or Brad’s mom … then it’s super hard and time consuming.)

Here’s how:

Start with a jelly roll, or 40 strips of fabric 2.5″ x 40″ (the width of your fabric). I sorted mine out according to color.

Now sew all of those strips together short end to short end. Just randomly grab them from different color stacks so you get them all mixed up. Sew them together on the bias, just like if you were sewing binding strips together. Place the two strips at a 90° angle, letting 1/4″ hang off on either side, then sew from corner to corner.

Trim off those extra corners and press all of your seams to one side. You’ll end up with an amazingly long (1600″ long) strip of fabric.

It’s enough to make any little girl jealous – because I don’t know if this happens at everyone’s house, or just mine – but she loves running around with her long long hair and a toy frying pan. My husband warned me I shouldn’t let her see this strip or I’d lose it forever.

Anyway, back to the project. Now that you have one long strip of hair fabric, cut 18″ off of one end, then find both ends and match them up, right sides together. Sew down one long side. And I do mean long.

Once you get to the middle of the strip where it’s folded over, just snip the end so you can open it up.

And repeat. Match up the ends, sewing down the long side, snip the end and open it up. And again. And again. And again. Every time you do this, your quilt will get wider and shorter.

You don’t have to press any seams as you go. Just throw it on your ironing board once you’re all done. Then you’re ready to baste, quilt and bind it. I made one for my mom and one for Brad’s mom for Mother’s Day. Sure, this is fast and furious – but it’s still a quilt made with lots of love.

I may or may not have just made one for myself. I don’t have it bound yet, but I timed it. All the way from start to {almost} finish has taken me exactly one hour twenty three minutes and twenty six seconds. See, still time to sew on a binding within the space of one movie. I’ll show you pics of mine once it’s done and washed.

I’m heading to quilt market tomorrow. Not that it’s very far for me. I’m looking forward to seeing all the yummy new fabric coming out. And especially excited to meet a few people I’m friends with online in the real world. I’ll have lots to show you in the next few days.

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27 Thoughts on “Fast and Furious for Mother’s Day

  1. Gloria on May 12, 2011 at 8:59 am said:

    I am the happy mother who received the quilt for Mother’s Day. Kels and I snuggled under it on Tuesday for our nap. So nice and warm and very pretty. Thanks so much.

  2. Ursula on May 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm said:

    Brilliant! I can’t wait to try it. 🙂

  3. wow that is amazing.

  4. Jennie on May 30, 2011 at 2:32 am said:

    I was just wondering what size this quilt ends up being? Is It a single, queen or king? I really want to make one but queen size.

    • Hi Jenny, this quilt made with one jelly roll ends up about 52″ x 67″. It’s pretty easy to modify – use two jelly rolls, use wider strips, you can change it up in lots of ways.

      I will sit down with my calculator and come up with some different sizes later today.

  5. Jennie on June 1, 2011 at 1:00 am said:

    Ok, thanks for your help 🙂

  6. Nadine on July 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm said:

    I love your quilt and am planning to make one for my new niece/nephew. I just wondered if you wash the jellies before you sew them. Thanks!


  7. Hannah on November 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm said:

    Colleen, just wanted to see if you had ever had a chance to work up any different sizes for this quilt? I saw Jenny asked back in May but didnt know if you had found time. I too would like to make this a queen size, it looks so easy, but I cant wrap my brain around how to figure it?!? Thanks!

  8. This would have to be a throw. A twin mattress is 39×75, full is 54×75, queen is 60×80, king is 76×80. That is just mattress sizes, not the size of the quilts on top. For that you would have to figure out how long you want it on both sides, somewhere around 14-20inches added to each side and the end. It depends on how long you want it.
    Hope this helps you guys 🙂

  9. Is it important to cut the 18″ off the end before u fold and sew? I forgot that step & wondering if it will still be ok. I am only using 24 strips of fabric to make a smaller blanket.

    • The reason you cut off 18″ is to stagger your seams throughout the quilt. If you don’t cut some off one end, as you see it all together your seams from joining the strips will all line up in one place. Does that make sense? It should still look ok, just a little more orderly.

  10. Will you sew on the 18″ strip that you cut off later? This is an awesome idea! I love it! I’m definitely going to try it. Not exactly sure how to baste a quilt ( this’ll be my first one) but I can’t wait to try!

  11. I found this on Pinterest and I just finished my quilt for my sister in law’s birthday and I’m too in love with it to give it to her! I have made quite a few quilts in the past but this was by far the easiest and quickest ever and I just love the outcome!! thanks so much for sharing! (I don’t know how to post photos on here)

  12. Heather on December 4, 2011 at 9:13 am said:

    After reading this last night, I am on my way to JoAnn’s this afternoon for fabric!! I quilted 11 blankets for my nieces and nephews and I have come to the realization that I do not have much time left and I need a few more so this is the route I’m going 🙂 THANKS!!!!

  13. Darlene on December 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm said:

    I made this quilt recently and loved doing it … I started in the morning and had it done, longarmed, and the binding on and hand stitched and still had time to make my husband a great dinner … A great way to use those jelly rolls…

  14. Andrea on January 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm said:

    A friend gave me this link that she found on Pinterest. I am going to make one of these quilts for a school auction. I was wondering if you could tell me how much fabric you used for the backing. Thank you!

    • Andrea, I just used a sheet for the back, but if you’re using fabric yardage, you’ll need just under 4 yards of 45″ fabric. If you have 60″ fabric, you’ll need 2 yards.

  15. Hi Colleen:
    I just love the look and ease of this quilt. I am a beginner, so please don’t think this is a dumb question, but after cutting the 18″ off and folding top to the bottom, do you mean the middle of the both of them together? which would be about 800″ down. And then I do not understand where you clip it and proceed to keep stitching. Can you please explain this to me. I will be forever greatful


    • Hey Marie, this took me a bit to figure out too, but I think I’ve got it now after pondering and browsing jelly rolls. LOL. If you use a jelly roll bundle of 40 strips that are 40″ in length, then you’ll end up with one long strip of fabric measuring 1600″. It will vary depending on whether you use 40″, 44″ or 45″ in fabric. Once you’ve sewn the one VERY long strip together. You will then fold it in half, right sides on top of each other, so then it will be 800″ in lenght. Now you will pin and sew one side of the long edge together. If you look CLOSELY at the pic Colleen posted of the scissors, she is cutting right at the fold of the fabric. Remember, since you folded it in half, you have one short end that is open and the other short end is the folded fabric. See how the scissors stop at the very end because its sewn. Snip it open. Then fold it in half again, repeat and repeat. I hope this helps! Kori

  16. Audrey on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm said:

    Hi, I found this picture on Pinterest (thank you Pinterest!) and it is the perfect colorway(s) for my SIL’s new baby bedroom. I was wondering if you patched together old jellies you’d had or if the fabrics you used were one specific line? If you happen to remember what fabrics they are I’d really appreciate it. Its so hard to find the right mix of red/green/yellow/pink etc!
    Thank you!

  17. Hi Colleen, I am a begginer quilter and I love how simply this quilt pattern is. My parents were just bugging me for a quilt of their own. I am confused about one of the steps. Let me relate and make sure I have it;

    Take jellies, and separate however you want. Then, sew jellies together on the short end of the strip. So you end of with ONE LONG piece of fabric. Then snip 18″ so the lines don’t match up. Now I am confused about what the next step is…? If I have one long strip, how do I have rows and rows to sew together? How do I know how long to sew the long ends together? Perhaps, you cut open the strip when you reach the middle of each jelly strip? Does that make sense? I think that’s what you mean.

    This is a lap quilt, correct? THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  18. My daughter in law got me started on Pinterest about a month ago…I have been on the site several times a day since…so many great ideas!!

    Anyway…I am just enthralled with the Jelly roll quilt. I am not that familiar with the jelly rolls …are they coordinating fabrics from the same line? How many different strips are there in the 40 you mentioned?
    I have a fabric stash …could I do my own strips? Are there any combinations to avoid? Do you use 40 different fabrics or could you cut that in half? Could you use say… 5 coordinating fabrics? Could you use all fall fabrics like light to dark? Sorry for so many questions…I am just so excited and anxious to get started. Especially so since seeing your finished quilts!! and reading the success of others.
    Thanks for the great, easy to understand instructions. I can do this!

  19. Donna Boshaw on January 20, 2013 at 9:56 am said:

    You lost me at baste, quilt and bind. I am new to sewing. Can you help me out? Just a little definition would ne great, and what is the back of the quilt. Thanks. 🙂
    I am working on a rag quilt but, I think I could do this.

  20. Anessa P on February 18, 2014 at 1:07 pm said:

    Thank you for posting a project that appeals to my (sometimes) need for instant gratification. I can’t wait to get my hands on a jelly roll and try it!

  21. Cindy H on February 22, 2014 at 6:09 pm said:

    Finally….a site that tells you exactly how to do a quilt using jelly rolls!! Thanks!!

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