Today I’m sharing my log cabin quilt pattern for a table runner. Finished size measures 60″ by 12″ and is made with 5 – 12″ finished blocks. Add a pretty pieced quilt backing, quilt it up, add some single fold binding and you have yourself a beautiful log cabin table runner! This log cabin variation of the traditional log cabin block is basically the same but instead of starting with two small squares and sewing them together, you start with a larger center square. The block construction is the same for each basic log cabin quilt block. Start with a center and build around it with strips.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to make the perfect log cabin quilt block. The finished block size will measure 12″ trimmed. I’ll give you the pattern and instructions to make the block and then show you different ways you can turn those blocks into a finished quilt. Not only can you make a quilt with the finished blocks, you can also make table runners, pillows, shower curtains, market bags or handbags. Every quilter should learn how to make the classic log cabin block. If you are a beginner quilter, I’m happy to walk you through the steps!
The traditional log cabin quilt block starts with a square in the center. For the center of the block, a red square was used to represent “the heart of the home” or “hearth of the home”. Fabric strips are then added one by one to the sides of the center square. The strips of fabric where dark strips on the first two sides, then light fabric strips on the remaining two sides. Splitting the block in half with a light side and a dark side.
For my own log cabin quilt, I used scrap strips to give it a more scrappy look. Not paying any attention to keeping lighter fabrics on one half of the block and darker fabrics on the other half. I also used light grey for the center block and it was a beautiful quilt. The easiest quilts for me personally are the ones where I don’t have to think too much on the arrangement of the blocks!
Before we go any further, are you by chance a brand new quilter? Make sure you check out How to Learn How to Quilt: Beginners Quilting Guide. It’s jam packed with useful information and resources.
Here are more log cabin tutorials you should check out if you like this post:
How to Make Log Cabin Block – Step-by-step free tutorial with pictures for each strip set until you reach 12.5″ unfinished. Detailed instruction for making a single block.
How To Make Quilt with Sashing and Cornerstone – This is the follow up tutorial on how I added sashing and cornerstones to my log cabin blocks and turned them into a king size quilt. Beginner friendly tutorial with tons of pictures showing every step.
MATERIALS NEEDED – Traditional Log Cabin Quilt Block
- Fabric for logs (assorted colors) and center square
- Backing fabric
- Rotary cutter and cutting mat
- Quilting ruler
- Sewing machine
- Iron and ironing board
See the full list of beginner quilting supplies I use and highly recommend below.
Begin by cutting the fabric into the required pieces using the rotary cutter, cutting mat, and quilting ruler. For each log cabin block, you’ll need strips of varying lengths for the logs and a square for the center.
- Logs: Cut assorted color strips that are 1.5″ by WOF. Cut to desired length before attaching strip to block.
- Center Square: Cut a 3″ square for the center of each block.
- For more info, check out How to Cut Fabric for Quilting (Easy and Accurate).
Sewing the Log Cabin Blocks
- Start with the 3″ by 3″ center square.
- Add a 1.5″ strip to the first side of the block or center piece using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press seam open when done.
- Continue adding strips (always turning the block in the same direction), alternating colors and increasing in length, until you achieve the desired block size (12″ finished).
- Use a 12″ square quilting ruler to square up each block.
- Repeat these steps until you have 5 log cabin blocks, all 12″ finished (trimmed).
- For more info, check out How to Make Log Cabin Block
Layout and Attaching Blocks
- Lay out the five blocks in the arrangement you like. Make sure you like the color placement.
- Attach blocks together using a 1/4″ seam allowance until you have formed a row.
- Press everything when done.
Adding Sashing and Cornerstones (Optional layout)
- Cut 16 – 2.5″ x 12″ strips for sashing.
- Sew sashing strips between the log cabin blocks to create a row. There will be a strip at the beginning, end and in between each block.
- Cut 12 – 2.5″ x 2.5″ cornerstones from the chosen fabric and place them at the intersections of the sashing. Cornerstones should be same width as sashing.
- Attach sashing strips on the top of table runner and below the table runner.
- Pin the cornerstones at each intersection or seam line to ensure everything lines up smoothly.
- Do not iron sashing strip before attaching. Press everything when done.
- For more information on sashing, check out How to Make Quilt With Sashing and Cornerstones.
Pieced Quilt Backing
- You can use any backing fabric you like but here are instructions to make the pieced backing in my photos.
- Take five pieces of fabric and cut 5 – 12.5″ squares.
- Layout the squares in the arrangement you like. Make sure you like the color placement.
- Attach the blocks together using a 1/4″ seam allowance until you have formed a row.
- This is your pieced backing for the table runner.
- Press with iron when done.
- For more info, check out Pieced Quilt Backing Ideas – Super Simple Backs.
- Layer the quilt top with batting and backing fabric.
- Baste the layers together with 505 Adhesive Spray Baste or curved quilting safety pins.
- Line up the quilt top and the backing fabric so that the seams from both line up.
- For more info, check out How to Sandwich a Quilt Step-By-Step Tutorial.
Quilting on Domestic Sewing Machine
- Quilt as desired, try straight line stitches with your walking foot. Sewing 1/4 inch away from the center square the two more straight lines next to the outer log and a straight line stitch in between both of those quilting lines.
- Repeat this for both sides of block, both horizontally and vertically until done.
- You can opt for straight line quilting, free motion quilting, or any other quilting design that inspires you.
- For more info, check out How to Machine Quilt With Walking Foot for Beginners.
Square Up Quilt
- Trim excess batting and backing using rotary cutter, quilting straight line ruler and cutting mat.
Attaching Binding to Finish Quilt
- Bind the edges of the quilt using your walking foot and straight lines.
- Make single fold binding using 1.5″ x WOF strips until it’s long enough to fit around the table runner.
- Sew strips together to form one long continuous strip.
- Attach to the back of the quilt first, then press with iron.
- Flip quilt over and finish attaching the binding to the front of the quilt until done. You need to fold the binding in half and then over once more. Pin in place and attach with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
- For more info, check out How to Bind a Quilt, Easy Single Fold Binding, How Wide to Cut Quilt Binding and Make Easy Strips and How to Join Quilt Binding Ends, Beginner Series.
Traditional Log Cabin Quilt Pattern – BEGINNER QUILTING SUPPLIES
Here are some quilting supplies that are great for quilters that I use and highly recommend. For more info, check out Quilting Supplies for Beginners (Best Tools To Start).
- Rotary Mat Cutting Mat (Self-Healing Mat)
- 28 mm Rotary Cutter
- 28 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades
- 45 mm Rotary Cutter with Sharp Blade (start with this one)
- 45 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades (start with this one)
- 60 mm Rotary Cutter
- 60 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades
- 5″ x 20″ Quilting Straight Line Ruler
- 4.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for half square triangles
- 12.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for quilt blocks
- Cut Resistant Gloves
- Straight Pins
- Sewing Thread
- Universal Sewing Needles
- Cotton Batting
- Sewing Machine Beginner (see my about me page for more info on sewing machines for beginners to the one I use today)
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
Log Cabin Quilt Pattern – Design and Layout Options
There are several ways to design a log cabin quilt pattern. Options include ways to build a full size quilt by laying out horizontal rows and attaching them all together to form a log cabin quilt pattern (see photo below).
You can add sashing and cornerstones to your log cabin quilt pattern to break up each log cabin block (see photo below). Most modern log cabin quilt patterns do not have cornerstones as they tend to make them less modern. Sashing can be 2″, 2.5″ or larger. It’s only by trial and error that we figure out what we think looks good or doesn’t.
Traditional log cabin quilt patterns have a definite pattern to the actual log cabin blocks. They are split diagonally with light fabrics and the other diagonal split has darker fabrics.
There are several different ways you can create different designs just by laying out the blocks differently with traditional log cabin quilt patterns. The quilt will have diagonal lines running across the quilt that are light strips or dark strips.
The traditional log cabin quilt can also have the blocks look like diamonds or on point square in dark or light fabrics, again it all depends on how you turn and place the log cabin blocks.
Log cabin quilts are some of my favorite finished projects. The log cabin design is stunning and I could look at them forever when the right fabric is used. I prefer a color scheme that is bright and colorful but choose the fabric colors that work for you.
Why use a red center?
My understanding of using a red center square for the center of the block is totally different than when I started my first log cabin quilt. Red really does add warmth and grounds the basic log cabin block with fabric strips.
When I look back on the blocks where I used the light grey, they don’t have as much visual impact as the blocks that have the red center. It really does represent the hearth of the home, the hearth where the fire was built to assist the homemaker in her every day cooking and baking for her family. I appreciate this now, and really love that color.
Do you want more free quilt patterns? Check out my resource section below for all of my free quilting patterns, tutorials and free pattern reviews.
SEW NIKKI RESOURCES – HOW TO’S AND FREE PATTERNS
- Learn How To Quilt: Beginner Quilting Guide
- How to Make Pinwheel Quilt Block (Free Throw Quilt Pattern)
- Printable Pinwheel Quilt Pattern – Jolly Table Topper Tutorial
- 5 Yard Quilt Pattern Free – Chevron Throw Quilt
- How to Make Half Square Triangles – Easy Formula Chart
- Best Fabric for Quilting: How to Shop Like a Pro!
- Pieced Quilt Backing Ideas – Super Simple Backs
- Quilt As You Go Patterns: Table Runner Free Pattern
- Charm Square On Point Quilt Pattern & Tutorial
- Table Runner DIY – Simple Quilted Table Runner
- How to Make Heat Proof Recycled Denim Potholders
- Chevron Quilt Pattern – Make Easy Placemats Two Ways
- How to Bind a Quilt – Easy Single Fold Binding
- The ABC Baby Quilt Sewing Pattern (Free, Easy)
- How to Sandwich A Quilt Step-By-Step Tutorial
- How Wide To Cut Quilt Binding & Make Easy Strips
- Easy Quilt Patterns – How To Make Charm Square Quilt
- How to Machine Quilt With Walking Foot For Beginners
- How to Sew a Quilt Together – Quilting for Beginners
- Mini Quilt Patterns, TQC “July” Postcard Pattern Review
- Quilting Supplies for Beginners (Best Tools to Start)
- How To Cut Fabric For Quilting (Easy and Accurate)
- How to Make Stunningly Beautiful Log Cabin Quilt Block
- Quilting Tips For Beginners (10 Essential Tips)
- How To Make Quilt With Sashing and Cornerstones
- Quilt Blocks, The Nonsense Table Topper Review
- How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips
- Quilt Patterns, “Positive Effect” Pattern Review
- How To Join Quilt Binding Ends, Beginner Series
ABOUT SEW NIKKI
If this is your first time stopping by, welcome! My name is Nikki. I’m a weekend quilter, have a super small sewing space and taught myself how to sew and quilt by watching YouTube videos! My blog has How-To’s, Free Patterns and Pattern Reviews. Read more about me here.
Making the log cabin quilt block wasn’t that hard was it? It’s just a little time consuming at first but you will get faster the more you sew. There are so many variations and log cabin patterns out there. Check them out, try one or all of them and have fun.
If you followed by log cabin quilt pattern congratulations, you just created a stunning traditional log cabin table runner that radiates warmth and charm. The classic design adds a cozy touch to your handmade masterpiece. Whether you’re a quilting novice or a seasoned pro, this project is sure to bring joy and comfort for years to come. Feel free to experiment with colors and fabrics to make your log cabin quilt uniquely yours.
Make sure you pin this and save it for later!
After you make this traditional log cabin quilt pattern, share a photo and tag me on Instagram (@sewnikki6).
Want to learn how to crochet? Then check out this post, How to Learn How to Crochet – Guide for Beginners.
Sew, quilt, crochet and repeat!