Log Cabin Quilt Block Pattern + Video

Hooray! This lesson, we’ll be sewing the first of our blocks: the Log Cabin. The video below covers the basics of construction, and you can download and print the Log Cabin block reference sheet to use as you work–the download is available in the sidebar for you now, and is always available from the main Essential Quilting course page using the icons next to the lesson titles. In the next lesson, we’ll see some inspirational images of Log Cabin quilts to inspire you!


As you work, check the measurements for each step of the block on the pattern. TRIM the block to these measurements as you sew. If you are off by 1/8″ or so with each “log,” that incremental error can accumulate over the whole block–you can trim the finished block to get the correct dimensions, but you may lose more of the outer ring. This can throw off the proportions of the whole block, and while it’s still a perfectly acceptable bit of piecework, your eye may tell you it’s “wrong.” The simplest way to avoid this is to trim as you go.

Having said that: there are IMPROVISATIONAL blocks that embrace this wabi sabi irregularity, and you may discover that your quulting style lends itself to that less structured aesthetic. You can explore that idea at the How To Quilt Premium Level.

Trimming threads:

Take care as you work to trim threads EACH time the work comes off the machine. It’s such a hassle! I know! But avoiding this small step leaves a mess of threads that can get tangled, caught in the presser foot, or sewn into the work in such a way that it makes a mess to clean up later. Better to trim as you go, keep things tidy, and enjoy the process that much more!

As you’re working on each of the nine blocks in this sampler quilt, I’ll be coming along with images and finished quilts to inspire you as you work!  As I mentioned in one of the videos, you could easily make whole quilts from each of these blocks (and Kim and Robyn and Emily are all well on their way to doing so, from our Atlanta group who started in February), and I think seeing some quilts made like these is helpful in envisioning where different block styles can go.

Inspiration: the Log Cabin

, in all its many incarnations.

Rita from Red Pepper Quilts does a traditional log cabin in bright, modern fabrics with white sashing (the border strips that “frame” the block) to set off the colors:

Minimalist palette on log cabin blocks, from Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson!

Blown up log cabins with massive hearths, based on the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book:

“Wonky” lob cabin–edges aren’t completely straight, strips are of odd widths, but the effect is charming and modern.  From Flickr via Old Red Barn Co Quilt-along:

And finally, consider the ways in which how the blocks are arranged can impact the quilt as a whole, like in these blocks I did a while back:

Happy weekend quilting, everyone!