We’re taking a break from triangles this week, and will be tackling the log cabin block. This is a super traditional block, but it’s one that can be made to look very modern depending on what fabrics and patterns you choose to make with it. It’s also fairly simple to construct once you’ve got all of the pieces cut out. All you need to do is work around a square.
For this layout of the block you will need 3 fabrics: 1 for the centre square and 2 to make up the sides of the log cabin. Traditionally the centre square would have been red to symbolise the fireplace at the heart of the home, but you can use whatever you like! For your other two fabrics you should choose a dark and a light, or two fabrics that contrast each other. I chose these three fabrics for my block:
Next you will need to cut your fabric. This is the one bit of the block where you really need to concentrate, as we’ve got a lot of pieces to cut out. It is also a good idea to start with cutting out the longest pieces and working your way down to the smallest. You will probably find that some of the leftovers from your longer strips are the perfect size to make some of the smaller strips.
The pieces are numbered in the order that you are going to be using them:
|12||B||1¾” x 9½”|
|11||B||1¾” x 8¼”|
|10||A||1¾” x 8¼”|
|9||A||1¾” x 7”|
|8||B||1¾” x 7”|
|7||B||1¾” x 5¾”|
|6||A||1¾” x 5¾”|
|5||A||1¾” x 4½”|
|4||B||1¾” x 4½”|
|3||B||1¾” x 3¼”|
|2||A||1¾” x 3¼”|
|1||A||1¾” x 2”|
|Centre||2” x 2”|
Once you have finished you should have 6 strips of each of your main fabrics, and 1 square for the middle.
The way that this block works is that we are going to be sewing each of these strips around the centre square.
Start off with your centre square and strip number 1. If you have cut these accurately you should see that the long side of piece 1 matches the side of the square:
Pin these pieces right sides together and sew them using your 1/4 inch seam. You definitely need to use pins throughout this block, even on these shorter seams. Don’t be tempted to skip the pinning, because it will help you to stay much more accurate in your sewing and you will end up with a perfectly square log cabin at the end.
One you have stitched, iron your seam and press the pieces open. This should now be the perfect size to match up with the long edge of strip 2.
Pin these together and stitch. Then iron and press open. Your block should now be the right size for strip 3 to join the party.
Pin, stitch and iron, and you will be ready to add strip 4.
If at any point you find that your block is not matching the next strip, this probably means that something has gone a bit off with your seam allowance. As long as you have cut your strips accurately, they should all go together with the 1/4 inch seam.
Once you’ve stitched strip 4, you’ll be ready to go around again in the same way using strips 5-8. Start in the same place that you started with strip 1, and work your way around the square again.
Once you’ve done this, finish off the block by adding in strips 9-12.
Congratulations, you have completed the log cabin block!
This is a pretty traditional lay out of a log cabin block, but there are lots of different ways that you can switch this block around. If you have a look at the picture of the quilt in the very first post, you can see that the log cabin has been made with some extra colours forming a ring around the centre square:
Once you’re comfortable with the block, you can also go really off the grid like I did with this quilt I made a few years ago:
I genuinely love this versatile block, so I hope you’ve enjoyed making it with me. Remember to show us your blocks on Instagram, and tag your posts with YoungishBOW2020 and Imayoungishquilter so that we can see how you get on!