Log Cabin Quilt Block – Beginner’s Tutorial

Here’s the latest in our series of basic quilt block tutorials – the log cabin block. This blog is built using strips of fabric in different directions. Traditionally you would use darker fabrics on one side and lighter on the other, however you can mix-and-match as you like.

The log cabin block is an ideal beginner’s block as it’s fairly quick and easy to make and doesn’t involve any complicated angles or curves. It’s also a great block to use up your scraps.

In this tutorial I’ve used fabrics from our ‘Autumn Fall’ Fat Quarters Bundle.

How to Make the Log Cabin Quilt Block

Here’s an overview of the stages to make this block

 log cabin block assembly step1
1) Add initial fabric strips around central square
 log cabin block assembly step2
2) Add second round of fabric strips.
 log cabin block assembly step3
3) Add final round of fabric strips
Completed log cabin block
4) Completed log cabin block

Log Cabin Photo Tutorial

Below are some helpful photographs that show how I created my blocks.

This is a quick and easy method to create a log cabin block. I like it because you can simply create it from fabric strips rather that cutting all individual pieces to the exact sizes.

In the example you see here I’ve used 1½” strips to create an 8” finished block (¼” seam allowance). However, you can use whatever size strip you prefer depending on your project.

Cut 6 1½”x18″ strips (one of each colour). Cut 1 2½”x2½” square.

log cabin tutorial step 2

Step 1 – Cut a strip of colour 1 that is slightly larger than the square.

log cabin tutorial step 3

Step 2 – Place right sides together (RST), and sew in place.

log cabin tutorial step 4

Step 3 – Trim off excess.

log cabin tutorial step 5

Step 4 – Open out and finger press. Cut a strip of colour 2 that is slightly larger.

log cabin tutorial step 6

Step 5 – Place right sides together (RST), and sew in place. Trim off excess.

log cabin tutorial step 7

Step 6 – Open out and finger press. Cut a strip of colour 2 that is slightly larger.

log cabin tutorial step 8

Step 7 – Place right sides together (RST), and sew in place. Trim off excess. Open out and finger press.

log cabin tutorial step 9

Step 8 – Cut a strip of colour 1 that is slightly larger.

log cabin tutorial step 10

Step 9 – Place right sides together (RST), and sew in place. Trim off excess.

log cabin tutorial step 11

Step 10 – Open out and finger press.

log cabin tutorial step 12

Step 11 – Cut a strip of colour 3 that is slightly larger than the square.

log cabin tutorial step 13

Step 12 – Repeat steps 2-10 above for colours 3 and 4.

log cabin tutorial step 14

Step 13 – Cut a strip of colour 5 that is slightly larger than the square.

log cabin tutorial step 15

Step 14 – Repeat the steps 2-10 above for colours 5 and 6, to complete your log cabin block.

log cabin tutorial step 16

Step 15 – Iron seams flat on the reverse.

Example Projects Made with Log Cabin Blocks

The log cabin is a versatile quilt block which can be used to make visually stunning projects. If you use different coloured fabric on each side, you can rotate your blocks to achieve a variety of interesting designs.

Here are some examples of projects using log cabin blocks.

Table runner – Above is a simple table runner, created using a row of 8” log cabin blocks surrounded by a 1″ border. The finished size is 50” x 10”.

Cushion Cover – When placed together and rotated, you can see that these four blocks take on a totally different appearance. These 8” blocks would make a finished panel of 16”x16”.

Quilt – Here is a larger quilt size design that shows the versatility of this block. This pattern is achieved by rotating the blocks. Using 8” blocks, the finished size of this quilt is 64”x64”, which includes a 2” border.

Other Basic Quilt Block Designs

If you enjoyed this log cabin quilt block tutorial, we have also made tutorials for other basic quilting blocks. These include:

Half square triangles

Square blocks

Flying geese block

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