The easiest way to sew a Log Cabin Quilt Block (no measuring required!)

The log cabin quilt block is one of the easiest quilt blocks for beginners. With this simple tutorial, there's no need to worry about accurately cutting lots of pieces. 

This free tutorial is the easiest way to sew a log cabin quilt block, with the least amount of measuring. It's a simple project for the beginner quilter, perfect for using up scraps, fat quarters or a jelly roll. Sew it in the traditional colors or have fun with a more modern design. Use the free calculator to make the log cabin quilt block in any size.

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One of the best things about the log cabin block is you don't have to worry about lining up corners, so it is forgiving for the beginner who is still learning to accurately sew straight.

What is a log cabin quilt block?

The log cabin quilt block is strips of fabric (logs) sewn around a centre square (or rectangle). The traditional log cabin quilt block has a red centre with light fabrics on two side and dark fabrics in the other two sides.

In these days of creative modern quilting, there's no need to stick with these rules! For this tutorial, I'll use the log cabin block to frame a feature fabric in the centre:

Finished log cabin quilt block, with logs framing the centre feature fabric.

For more log cabin quilt sewing inspiration, check out the Fast & Flexible Log Cabin Quilts course with Nancy Smith.

Log Cabin Quilt Block Supplies

Log Cabin Quilt Block Size Calculator

For a traditional square log cabin quilt, use the calculator below to determine the log and centre square size for any quilt block size. Note: for ease of cutting, the log cabin quilt block measurements are to the quarter inch, and the centre square may be a different size to the logs.

If you want to make a log cabin quilt using a jelly roll, the 14" quilt block with 3 rounds is the perfect size, resulting in a 2.5" centre square and logs.

How to make a Log Cabin Quilt Block

Watch the video to see the easiest way to sew a log cabin quilt block, or scroll for the step-by-step tutorial:

  1. Cut the centre square (or rectangle) from the feature fabric.
  2. Cut log fabric into the required strip width (see calculator above).
    Fabric strips and centre square to make a log cabin quilt block.
  3. Place a strip of fabric on one edge of the feature fabric, right sides together, lining up one corner and one edge. Leave the excess fabric strip hanging from the end of the centre piece.
    Log cabin quilt block sewing tutorial: fabric strip placed on top of centre block, right sides together.
  4. Sew fabric strip in place.
    How to sew a log cabin quilt block: first strip sewn in place.
  5. Trim the excess fabric strip only the edge of the centre square.
    How to sew a log cabin quilt block: first fabric strip trimmed to centre block size.
  6. Press the seam open (with seam allowances towards the darker fabric).
    Log Cabin Quilt Block: press the seams to one side after sewing together.
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 6 for the next side of the feature fabric, working in a clockwise direction.
    Adding the first round of logs to a log cabin quilt block, step-by-step
  8. Keep adding fabric strips in a clockwise manner until you reach the required block size.
    How to sew a log cabin quilt block: adding the final round of logs.

Sew a log cabin quilt block from scraps or fat quarters with this fun free tutorial. There's a calculator to work out the measurements for a traditional block, or use the method for a more modern design.

Come back to see what I make with this quilt block!

Looking for more inspiration and ideas for how to use your log cabin blocks, check out this class on Bluprint:

Fast & Flexible Log Cabin Quilts