It’s a New Year Sewalong Part 2: Let’s Cut!

Welcome to our SewCanShe sewalong! Can I tell you how awesome this is already? And we are just getting started so you have plenty of time to join in. Our facebook group has been so busy I can’t keep up. Forgive me if I only check in there once a day. But I can tell that you don’t really need me because all of you sweeties are showing off your fabric picks, sharing advice, and making new sewing friends. It makes me so happy every time I visit.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll provide detailed instructions for cutting, piecing, pressing, and sewing the mini log cabin block shown below. If you’ve sewn log cabins before, awesome. If not, no worries, I’ll show you how. Here’s our schedule:

Each week I’ll give you an assignment. Once you finish, post a picture of your work in our sweet ‘SewCanShe Sewcialites’ facebook group. Have fun browsing everyone else’s fabric choices, progress, and finished projects. Make friends, be social!

Then at the end one lucky winner will get a $50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop. The prize is sweet, but the fun of an online sewing group is even sweeter.

So here we go…


This Week’s Assignment: Cut your fabrics!

By now you’ve picked some fabrics for your mini log cabin blocks, right? If not, hurry to your stash and get some. Raid your scrap bin too because the pieces don’t have to be very big. The mini log cabin blocks are 4.5” square and will be only 4” square after you’ve sewn them together.

Lots of people keep asking me how many different fabrics they should pick and let me say it again… as many as you want! I would suggest at least 3: one for the center and two for the ‘logs.’ But if you want it all the same color… go ahead. Or if you want every piece to be a different color or print, that’s fine too. The only rule for this sewalong is that you make at least one block using the dimensions stated. The color and number of blocks  is entirely up to you.

Next, how much fabric will you need? Well, that depends on how many blocks you want to make. 

For each block you will need:

  • one 1.5” square for the center


These are my fussy cut squares. That means I wasted lots of fabric so I could get a cute picture in the middle of each one. But it was worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚ You don’t have to fussy cut. For my second set I didn’t.

For the logs you’ll need

  • twelve one inch strips that all add up to 36” total if you cut them to size before you sew

Check this out:


I made this little diagram in case you don’t want to sew them together the way that I do and if you want to cut all the exact lengths ahead of time. It is not to scale.


This is the way I cut them. I just make a big pile of strips in each color. Then I freestyle it as I go, picking different combinations of fabric for each block, while following the color rules that I’ve set for myself (i.e., I sew two gray then two color strips going around every block).

I did sew my first set of blocks the other way, cutting the strips to size first, but the way that I am working now is easier and faster IMHO, and more accurate because I square up my block after every time I sew. Next week will be about sewing and I’ll show you exactly how I do it and how you can ensure perfect blocks.

I told you that all of the logs add up to 36” in case so you want to calculate how much fabric to cut up. You’ll need a bit more than 36” for each block if you do it my way because I cut each strip a little bit longer than necessary and then trim it after I sew.

So…Cut one 1” tall strip off a piece of quilting fabric (or two strips off of a fat quarter) for each block that you want to make. But you probably don’t want one block of all the same fabric, so you might cut strips off of 6 different fabrics, and if all of these strips are 44” long, that’s enough for about 6 blocks. 

Feel free to use scraps! Cut 1” strips out of all your scraps because if they are between 1”x1.5” and 1”x4.5” then they are big enough. But cutting scraps means you will have to guess how much you have unless you measure each piece along the way.

So this is your assignment this week: come to the facebook group and show us your 1.5” squares and your 1” strips. Will you make a big messy pile like me? Or will you make nice and tidy stacks? I strongly suggest that you don’t bother to cut the strips to the right length at this point. Just leave them in a big pile and we’ll sew them together next week. 

But this is your sewalong too and if you must ‘sew ahead’ then you must. Like I said above, the only rules are the dimensions and you must use at least one mini log cabin block in your finished project. Your finished project can be whatever you want… a coaster, a mug rug, a wall hanging, a table runner, or even a quilt!

Happy sewing!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. ๐Ÿ™‚