Last week my friend Ursula and I went over to our friend Kathy’s house for a sewing day. This was to be part of our Christmas present from Kathy, but she didn’t tell us what we were making. She had given each of us a Bali Pop package of fabric for Christmas with a note saying that we would get together after Christmas to make something with them. After we set up our machines, she told us that we would be having a 1600 race!? Seeing the tread mill that she had in the corner of her sewing room, made me a bit uneasy, but I kept listening. Fortunately, the race we were going to have involved sewing and not running (much to my relief). The end result was that we would go home with a completed quilt top by the end of the day. WooHoo!

A 1600 race, AKA Jelly Roll Race, involves sewing all 40 of your jelly roll strips end to end, on the diagonal, and then sewing them in half and in half and in half, etc. until you get a quilt top that measures about 48″ by 64″. Here is a really funny video of the entire process by the Missouri Quilt Co.

The racing doesn’t start until you get all of the strips sewn together end to end. Forty 40″ strips makes for one looooong strip of fabric. Approx. 1600″, hence the name 1600 race. At the beginning of the race you place both ends of this huge strip right sides together and you sew all the way down to the end where the strips have folded in half, cut the fold of fabric. This is an 800″ long seam and takes quite a while to sew.

Now you have a long strip of fabric that is 2 strips wide. Take both ends of this strip and sew them together, and cut the fold of fabric. You will have a 400″ long strip of fabric that is 4 strips wide. Keep this up and sew this strip RST and you will get a 200″ long strip of fabric that is 8 strips wide. You get the picture, right? Keep going until you have a finished quilt top that is about 48″ x 64″ in about an hour.  This is so much fun and so therapeutic, just sewing and sewing. There are no seams to match, no accurate seam allowances to worry about and you end up with a beautiful quilt top. Here are the pictures from our race…oh, and by the way, I won the race!!

The left photo was made with a Bali Pop collection called Tiramisu.

The middle photo used Bali Pop collection called Brown Sugar.

The right photo is not a Bali Pop and I have misplaced the name of it, sorry Kathy.