Log Cabin Patchwork: A Tutorial

I've tried many different kinds of patchwork over the years, but I find that I don't have the patience for assembling perfectly aligned hexagons or faffing about tacking paper to the back of fabric pieces. So it was a complete delight to come across Log Cabin Patchwork, which is a simple but gorgeous style of patchwork that builds outwards from a central square. Progress is quick, wonkiness is encouraged and all you need is a needle and thread, an iron, and a stash of fabric scraps.

Here's how it's done:

Cut out a bunch of fabric strips in about eight different designs. Aim for a range of patterns and plains  and contrasting colours. Short strips or long, fat or thin - it doesn't matter. Just work with what you have.

Cut a square of background fabric (I used an old duvet cover). My square is 45cm but you can cut a square any size you want. Crease the square diagonally to find the centre then tack a small square of fabric smack dab in the middle.

Cut a strip of fabric and place it face down on the square. Stitch it in place, then fold it back and press it with the iron.

Cut a second strip and sew it in place along the second side of the square, overlapping the first strip at one end. Fold it back and press with the iron.

Repeat the process with the third strip.

Repeat the process with the fourth strip.

That's one completed log cabin layer. Now repeat the process to build up successive layers.

It doesn't matter if your strips are straight or wonky - it all adds to the character of the finished design.

That's the completed 45cm square, which took me three hours to make. I've tacked around the outside edge to keep it tidy while I think about what I want to turn it into: a table mat, a cushion, a knitting bag - there are loads of lovely possibilities. I might even get really ambitious and make heaps more - enough for a quilt.

Here's a smaller 30cm square.

Anyway, now that you see how easy Log Cabin patchwork is to make, you should give it a go and make some stripey gorgeousness for yourself.


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