how I do wonky log cabin blocks

The very first quilting block I ever did was a wonky log cabin. It’s easy. And as I’ve pulled out all my fabrics in preparation for moving everything (and I mean everything) out of the downstairs of the house, I went through my fabric stash. I made a pile of boy fabric scraps and decided to make a few blocks for my little charity project here. Since my camera was also in the room I decided I’d photograph it too.

All you need to make one of these babies are some fabric scraps or strips of all different sizes and your sewing machine. You can use your scissors to cut pieces to size too. Or just grab out a pile of fabrics you’d like to use, no need just to use scraps.

First of all I like to make a rough block just laying out the fabrics I’m going to use. Don’t trim them or anything unless you’ve pulled out like a whole fat quarter and you want just a bit of a strip. As I’m getting ready to do the next strip I will grab scissors and trim down a scrap to the size I want.

Start with a little square. The beauty of this project is that no measuring is required. Say a couple of inches wide, it’s up to you! I used a green linen Echino fabric for my centre piece. You could fussy cut your centre piece so that the little design is perfectly centred in the middle of your block but the beauty of using scraps is that you can use what you’ve got and once the block is finished it’s going to look  great.

Now a log cabin works around clockwise from the centre and your 2nd piece is going to go above your square. And the 3rd piece will go to the right, the 4th underneath, the 5th piece will go the left. Now to get our block started, you are going to find a 2nd fabric, go for some contrast. This is where you have some fun digging around your stash or your scrap pile for contrasting fabrics.

Using a 1/4 inch seam you are going to sew with right sides together, the centre piece and 2nd piece together. Now you can go to the iron and press each seam as you go but I just open it out and press back with my fingers and keep it all very simple. I’ll press later. I like to keep this a quick project and learnt that little trick at a quilting group.

Now you’re going to take your 3rd piece and remembering that we are working clockwise, we are going to the right of the work we’ve done. the length of the fabric needs to be just as long or longer than the work we’ve done. Again, I just trim it roughly down to the size I want using my scissors. You can use a rotary cutter too but I like to keep these quick and easy and it’s more forgiving than a regular log cabin block.

Now can you see how my 3rd piece of fabric is on an angle. To make it wonky you can put the fabric on an angle rather than matching your edges together. You don’t have to do this and you don’t have to do it on every piece of fabric but it is fun.

Now we’re going to go to our 4th piece. This will be as wide as our completed block so far. I just grabbed a charm square from my pile and using my scissors cut in half. Remember we are sewing right sides together.

and once we’ve added that piece we’re going to the left of our block and adding a strip of fabric as long as our completed block so far. Right sides together and sew it. Press back with your finger or an iron and we can see the block taking shape.

And then it’s time to go above work with another strip. And this will be as wide as our block so far is. I love this Amy Butler fabric and it was a perfect match because it had green and blue but offered a real contrast.

Now you’ve got a good idea of what we’re doing. Going around and around. So you could keep the block as it is or go around some more. I was aiming for finished blocks of 10 inch blocks so knew I had another round to go.

And this is where I like to give my block a really good press. And now I’m going to trim it down to size. If you’re making a whole quilt it’s up to you what size you want. You could do 10 inch or 12 inch or have little 5 or 6 inch blocks. I was aiming for a finished size of 10 inches so I trimmed them down to 11 inches. But there is nothing stopping you making a few or all of your blocks and then trimming down all in one go.

And then I was done. One wonky log cabin block.

Here is a quilt I made when the twins were babies. I backed it in pink minkee and it is one of the little ones favourite quilts. It’s big, was fairly easy to put together (a beginnger could do it) and when the quilt top is finished you just match it with an easy backing fabric, right sides together you pin it all around and then sew it together leaving a little gap. Turn it out the right way through the gap you left, close up your stitches, top stitch all around if you like and you are done! You can use polar fleece too and it means no batting is required or binding and makes it a quick and fun quilt. Plus little people love the soft side to snuggle up in.

You could do as many blocks as you like, add borders to make it a bigger finished quilt, just do a couple of blocks and turn them into’s up to you. This is a fun project and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it and it’s a great way to get started with quilting.


  1. Wonderful, I have been wanting to do something with my huge tub of scraps – I think this is the project for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Gerda HOSKING says:

    Looks great Corrie, if you back with the Minky fabric, do you need wading ?

  3. I’ll some how have to print this post out for my Nan (who is almost 80 and not computer savy). She loves quilting and make quilts and blankets for all of her great-grandchildren (with another four to arrive this year) … which means that she has lots of scraps left-over. She is going to give some burp cloths a go – backing them in territoweling seeing as not many of us use cloth nappies any more. Shari from

  4. Thanks Corrie I’ve never made a log cabin, or a wonky log cabin quilt before. It looks like fun!!!!! I think I’ll be putting this one on my to do list for 2013. Thanks for the tutorial you make it look so easy! x

  5. That’s brilliant thanks. I’ve been a bit intimidated to start quilting even though I’d love to. And this step by step you’ve done is perfect, I reckon even I could do it. Great design too!

  6. Thanks Corrie, looks pretty easy I think I might try it for your charity project.Ps your brownies were a complete success everyone loved them!!!

  7. Great fabric, I love this block, good work, good week.

  8. Great block Corrie. Just in one little tut (lovely & clear & simple) I’ve learnt 2 great tips/ideas – finger pressing as you go with this, save the good press for all at once, & using minky fabric or polar fleece for a baby quilt for the backing will feel lovely & save a few steps. Fantastic!

  9. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou for this! I have been wanting to make a quilt for ages and have a ton of scraps that I didn’t know what to do with. I have now made 8 11 inch blocks in a matter of hours so am well on my way to my first quilt! So excited and grateful to have found a technique that is easy and fun- instead of getting stressed about piecing i am enjoying itxxx

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