Log Cabin Quilt Block Tutorial + Inspiration

As I mentioned last week, Riley Blake Designs decided to have an impromptu Classic Quilt Block challenge on Instagram. Each Monday they post a new block – this week the block is the Log Cabin Quilt Block – one of my favorites!

A few people have asked me how to join this challenge or if there is an official pattern they should be following. The answer is: this is pretty informal -just for fun and a way to learn how to make some classic quilt blocks along the way. I’m making blocks in 6″ x 6″ and 12″ x 12″ sizes. When we’re done in about 12 weeks I’ll be putting mine together into a simple picnic quilt. So while there is nothing official, I will be sharing how to put the blocks together at the end, if you want to play along. 

Last week’s block was a Churn Dash Block – you can find the tutorial here.

Log Cabin Quilt Block Instructions

This week Rachel from Citrus and Mint put together a great log cabin quilt block tutorial and cutting instructions for making a 6″ x 6″ and 12″ x 12″ traditional Log Cabin quilt block. Both sizes were really fun to make.

(Please keep in mind when – especially when piecing the 6″ x 6″ version to use a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, or your block will shrink with that many seams.)

You can find the free Log Cabin Quilt Block instructions here

(link fixed)

While we’re talking Log Cabin quilts, I thought I’d share a few of mine for some inspiration for using this block.

Vintage inspired Log Cabin Quilt

Log Cabin quilts are one of my all time favorites to make. I had so much fun making this spring-vintage-inspired pastel log cabin version last spring.

Use fabric scraps to piece a Log Cabin quilt

Log cabin blocks are also a great way to use up scraps. I talked a little more about the process for making these blocks here. I especially love to chain piece log cabin quilt blocks if I’m making a lot at once.

Here are a few other variations. There are so many ways to play with this classic technique!

Log cabin quilt on point - pattern by Amy Smart

This is a traditional Log Cabin quilt where the blocks are set on point is part of a book about Log Cabin Quilts.

Courthouse Steps log cabin quilt pattern by Amy Smart - use your scraps

This quilt is made from a traditional Courthouse Steps variation of the Log Cabin quilt block for a version sometimes called Chinese Lanterns. (You can read more about this quilt here.)

There are lots of variations on a classic Log Cabin block:

Red and White Modern Improv Log Cabin quilt - perfect for scraps

I made this scrap-buster modern wonky Log Cabin Quilt using only scraps from my red and white scrap bin. This one is pieced the same way you’d made a traditional Log Cabin block, but in a more freefrom Improv Style using this method.

How to Make a Manx Quilt Block featured by top US quilting blog, Diary of a Quilter

Here’s another variation – this one is hand-pieced quilt-as-you-go style and is called a traditional Manx quilt block. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend trying one. It’s such a great hand-work project.

How to Make and Use a Log Cabin Quilt Block

What about you? Have you ever made a log cabin quilt? I’m thinking it would be fun to make a big one with the 12″ x 12″ blocks. I guess I’ll have to add it to the list!

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  • Reply
    April 9, 2020 at 6:00 am

    thank you for these Amy. I am going to make some of these and make place mats. or a table topper. Something fun. I need to get a nice array of fabrics other wise it might look bad. Planning. I do not always take that into consideration ha
    Have a marvelous day. I got up at 5:30 to get to the grocery store for “senior shopping” at 6. I think I will be a veg all day now. vacuuming, sewing and treadmilling should be enough.
    Stay safe and healthy

  • Reply
    April 9, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Amy, your log cabin quilts are all stunning. There is just something about log cabin quilts isn’t there?

    I made a improv log cabin child’s quilt a few years ago from happy, cheerful scraps. And many years ago I made a queen size pineapple quilt (a log cabin variation).

  • Reply
    Shalley Wakeman
    April 9, 2020 at 10:14 am

    I made kids quilts where the center block was 6.5″ and went from there. It was quick & fun! I keep thinking I will try making a more traditional block next!

  • Reply
    Sandra B
    April 10, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing all the beautiful log cabin quilts! This pattern has always been a favorite, and you have inspired me to think about making a new one. Cannot wait to start digging through my stash to pick out the fabrics… I made a couple of log cabins years ago, but neither one is scrappy, so that will be the goal for a more updated version…and very scrappy for sure.
    Thanks again!
    Take care and stay well!

  • Reply
    Jane Sprague
    April 11, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Amy, I never get tired of the log cabin block. It’s incredibly versatile and so easy! It’s a great way to use up scraps or precuts. Not a lot of blocks can “say” that! Thanks so much for sharing that inspiration!! Stay well!

  • Reply
    Margaret Connolly
    April 12, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I am relatively new at quilting and love your blog. I’m not sure how I found your blog but I am so happy I did. You make quilting fun and you keep it simple to understand. Thanks for doing this for us. I’m anxious about making my first log cabin quilt. Thanks again and I wish you and your family a Happy Easter and hope your son is feeling better soon.

  • Reply
    Susan Backus
    April 12, 2020 at 11:15 am

    The Citrus and Mint link doesn’t open in the tutorial. Where can I get it please?

  • Reply
    Lillian K
    April 12, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Hi there! I would love to print your tutorials. Is there a place on your site to print a PDF?? I find it hard to work/cu/sewt fabric, etc. from a computer screen.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2020 at 6:18 am

    I always like reading and get inspiration to sew when I open my e-mails and you are there. At a time like this as well as better times I enjoy seeing your site. Please keep it up.

    • Reply
      April 15, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Thank you June!

  • Reply
    March 21, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I am making the Manx Log Cabin that you taught us about. I have been working on it off and on for about two weeks now and I have 21 blocks completed. I am on the 22nd block. I think I am going for 48 blocks total. I am thoroughly enjoying the process of hand stitching these blocks. It is very relaxing and something that I can easily take with me wherever I go and while I watch tv which I rarely do. Thank you very much for sharing your experience on the Isle of Man with us and how to make these.

    • Reply
      March 22, 2021 at 10:33 am

      That is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing with me. I agree – those blocks are incredibly relaxing to make. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!


  • Reply
    Irene Kneale
    January 25, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Amy, I stumbled on your blog by accident but glad I did. I love the Manx block tutorial and its history…I plan on making some of these blocks soon. My husband is a native-born Manxman, and my paternal grandfather built a house and moved his family there around the time of world war 1. The island is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Thank you for the great tutorial.
    Irene, from Canada!

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