Crazy log cabin quilt square (Beginner tutorial)

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial cover photo

Crazy Log Cabin Quilt Tutorial – Illustrated How-To Guide For Beginners

By Kelina Lobo

The crazy log cabin design is a series of irregular squares inside other squares or rectangles, each with varying angles and sizes. It is fast, fun, very improvisational, and a great project for beginning quilters or sewers getting started in quilting.  This approach uses a backing that all pieces are attached to, so it is much easier to keep the square evenly flat and smooth. Check out these photos from a group using this technique – none of whom had ever sewn or quilted.

Also great for the more experienced quilting rebel: no measuring, no precise sewing, and very little planning make this project an easy way to experiment with color and shape in unexpected ways. If you don’t like following rules, this may be just the thing for you. You can make your crazy log cabin square as crazy as you like or as squared as you like.  Use up fabric scraps and make a beautiful improvisational quilt square in no time.  If you would like more hands-on practice and you are in the greater Bay Area, I’m teaching a Crazy Log Cabin Quilt Square class.

Let’s get started!

crazy log cabin quilting tutorial 1a

1A.

1A. Choose some fabrics that you think look nice together. I always like to have at least some kind of accent or contrast color.

crazy log cabin quilting tutorial 1b

1B.

1B. When choosing fabrics, notice how the same colors look different depending on what colors or patterns they are next to.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 2

2.

2. Start out with a square backing cloth, and place your center piece of fabric. It is not attached to the backing fabric, but just resting there. Notice I have placed the measuring tape along the lower edge, which is where I will start attaching the second fabric.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 3

3.

3. With right sides together, and the lower raw edge matched, sew a quarter of an inch from this raw edge, through all three layers of cloth.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 4

4.

4. This lower raw edge has been sewn through all three layers of fabric. Be sure that the raw edge of the center piece fabric sticks out and all three layers of fabric have been sewn through. You want to be sure that the center piece fabric does not come loose later.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 5

5.

5. Open up the seam just sewn. Fold the green cloth back down, and press open with a very hot iron.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 6

6.

6. Follow the same procedure along the upper edge of the center piece fabric.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 7

7.

7. After sewing all three fabrics together, flip the fabric up, and press open with a hot iron for a clean seam. You now have the top and the bottom raw edges of the centerpiece fabric secured to the backing fabric.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 8

8.

8. Next you will need a strip of fabric that will cover the entire right side, and contain all of the raw edges on the right. It must be longer than the width of the first two green strips and center piece fabric.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 9

9.

9. Place your third strip on top with right sides together. Notice that all the raw edges of the lower fabric stick out to the right, beyond the fabric you have just placed (the 3rd green strip.) Also notice that the third strip is as long or longer than the other fabric below it. Stitch and press open to the right.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 10

10.

10. Follow the same procedure on the left edge. In this photo, the strip on the left is stitched down a quarter of an inch from the edge.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 11

11.

11. All of the seams have been pressed down smoothly, and there are no raw edges exposed from the center piece fabric. It is OK if there is some fabric going over the edge of the backing fabric, you will trim this off later.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 12

12.

12. Again, notice that all of the lower level edges of fabric are visible to the left of the stitching, and when the fabric on top is folded to the left, this will contain any raw edges.

crazy log cabin quilt square 13

13.

13. Fold fabric strip to the left and press with a hot iron. This is how it looks! You have mastered the basic process, and will repeat this process on all four edges with squares/trapezoids of your different color fabrics.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 14

14.

14. Now start with your next color.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 15

15.

15. You can start on any edge, again being sure that the lower fabric sticks out beyond the top layer, and each strip is longer than the width of those below it. You will sew along this right edge, a quarter of an inch from the raw edges.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 16

16.

16. Fold the fabric down flat to the right and press with a hot iron. On the opposite side from what you have just sewn, place the next fabric strip. Sew along this edge, fold to the left, and press open with a very hot iron.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 17

17.

17. This is what the quilt square looks like from the back. With muslin backing faced up, trim off the extra fabric that goes beyond the muslin.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 18

18.

18. Right side up, this is how the trimmed quilt square looks.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 19

19.

19. Now only four corners of the muslin are showing. Please look at the lower right edge of the green square, with the small blue/red arc. If you want to keep the green square a square, rather than a trapezoid or an angled square, your next line of stitching will be straight along the raw edges.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 20

20.

20. If you would like more of an angled square, your next line of stitching will be slightly angled, along the line of the tape measure. Again, be sure that all raw edges are secured.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 21

21.

21. Place your next strip of fabric, stitch a quarter of an inch from the edge, press open with a very hot iron.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 22

22.

22. Notice the blue strip is angled, and it is fine if there is a lot of fabric sticking out beyond the line of stitching.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 23

23.

23. Press open with a very hot iron. Because you angled the line of stitching, the green is now an angled square.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 24

24.

24. Flip the square over with the backing facing up and trim off any excess fabric. Now you are almost done! There are just three corners that have exposed muslin.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 25

25.

25. Follow the same procedure on the three remaining corners.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 26

26.

26. Stitch, press open with a very hot iron.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 27

27.

27. I could have used more of the blue fabric on the last corner, but I liked this green and blue fabric, so I’m using it instead.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 28

28.

28. All under layer fabrics stick out beyond the top layer, and you will stitch a quarter of an inch below this raw edge.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 29

29.

29. Flip fabric strip over and press open seam with a hot iron.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 30

30.

30. Trim off any excess fabric. That’s it, you are now DONE!

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 31

31.

31. This looks great! All stitching lines have been pressed open with a hot iron and the square lays flat without any wrinkles or bulges. Quilt squares can be sewn together, or sewn to strips on all sides and attached together.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 32

32.

32. Now I’m looking at this square and I think it is missing something. It is fine the way it is, but it looks a little muddy and would be better with more accent or contrast, so I am going to add more to it.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 33

33.

33. I hold some cloth up to eyeball potential additions. I could add the green and blue fabric on the left. Or the geometric fabric on the right. I think the blue, red and white triangle on the lower right looks cool. Both of these fabrics make the blue fabric pop out more and look brighter.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 34

34.

34. Let’s see… Green and blue fabric.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 35

35.

35. …or geometric fabric.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 36

36.

36. I choose the geometric fabric. The white blobs echo the floral pattern in the center, and the red is a nice accent that is consistent from the center to the edges. I stitch them down with the same procedure. This is the final result!

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 37

37.

37. Close up looks good. Clean and flat seams, no raw edges showing, threads clipped.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 38

38.

38. Trim any loose threads. This is how the back of the quilt square looks.

crazy log cabin quilt tutorial 39

39.

39. The final result!  Fast and easy – and I’ve used up scraps to make something cool.

For more information: Crazy Log Cabin Quilt Square & Basic Sewing Pattern Alterations

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