Concrete Cabin Block Tutorial

© Kelly Cole 2011

Concrete Cabin Block

The Log Cabin block has always been a favorite of mine. It was one of the first quilts I ever made; this one to the left was sewn for my then boyfriend now husband and given as a Christmas present. He liked it, and it is still our couch blanket -- 10 years later! The wonkieness to this quilt was totally unintentional, I was a modern quilter way back then and didn't even know it.

I love the modern take on the simple log cabin block, it's all over blogland: Red Pepper QuiltsFilm in the FridgeFresh Lemons Quilts. I am sure there are more out there, but these are the quilts that inspired me to try a new log cabin block and share the how-to with you.

A finished concrete cabin quilt top

more fabric choices
peek-a-boo flower

I started this block by tinkering around on graph paper and then cutting strips from yardage and after 3 attempts I found the perfect fat-quarter friendly method of cutting pieces out for these big, simple blocks. A note: You will see different fabrics throughout this tutorial. Please don't let that throw you for a loop. It took a few go arounds to get the instructions just right.  So without further ado let's get started:

Fabric Needed: 4 or more fat-quarters (FQ). 
Blocks made: 8 blocks from 4 FQ, add 2 blocks for every additional FQ
Finished Size: 11.5" square

note: all seams assume .25" allowance

Start by laying out the FQ  in a stack. Make sure they are as even as possible, it will help a bunch when you go to cut out the pieces. This method uses just about every square inch of fabric! 

Please read all the cutting instructions at least twice before cutting in the FQ, there is no wiggle room and you don't want to be left short.

First Cut Strips from FQ in the order shown
Cut Strips out of FQ on the 22" side so that strips are 18" long. You will have:
2 Strips 4.5" X 18"
3 Strips 3.5" X 18"
1 Strip 2.5" X 18"

Trim up excess when cutting out pieces
Before cutting pieces from strips line up the ends and place at 18" mark on cutting mat. First cut at 0" will be to trim excess. Once excess is trimmed start cutting into the strips for your pieces in the following order:

I am a visual learner, maybe you are too. This is what you should have
when all the pieces are cut out.
  1. From the first 4.5" X 18" strip cut out a strip 4.5" X 10.5". From the remaining 7.5" strip cut length wise 3 strips 1.5"X7.5". This will use all 18".
  2. From the second 4.5" X 18" strip cut out another strip 4.5" X 10.5". From the remaining 7.5" strip cut length wise 1 strip 1.5" X 7.5" strip and 1 strip 2.5" X 7.5" (this strip will be used to make a 2.5"X12.5" strip). There will be a long and narrow strip left over. 
  3. From the 2.5" X 18" strip cut out a strip 2.5" X 12.5". The remaining strip will be 2.5" X 5.5"; use this strip along with the 2.5" X 7.5" strip cut from the second  4.5" X 18" strip to make a second set of 2.5"X12.5" strips. This will use all 18".
  4. From the first 3.5" X 18" strip cut 2 3.5" X 3.5" squares. Then cut 1 3.5" X 4.5" strip. Then cut 1 3.5"X6.5" strip. This will use all 18".
  5. From the second 3.5" X 18" strip cut out 2 strips 3.5" X 8.5". There will be a small scrap left over.
  6. From the third 3.5" X 18" strip cut out 1 3.5" X 4.5" strip. Then cut out 1 3.5" X 6.5" strip. Then cut out 2 3.5" X 1.5" strips. There will be a few inches of scrap left over. 
You should have 72 pieces of fabric with a few small scraps left over. You should also have 2 sets of each size piece expect for the longest strip the 2.5" X 12.5". Here's how we fix that:
Did you catch the part about sewing two left over strips together to make up for the lack of 2 sets of 2.5" X 12.5"? (It's highlighted in blue) I hope so, it is really simple; in order to make up for the lack of 2 cut sets of continuous long strips of 2.5" X 12.5" we will sew together pieces to make up for the missing set. Presto, 2 sets!

Ta-da! You are done cutting out your pieces for the Concrete Cabin. That wasn't too hard, was it? If it was please tell me! This being my first tutorial I want to know how I can improve!

Next step; Sew pieces together to make the Concrete Cabin Block: 
Start by laying out your strips one at a time in a pleasing manner starting with the center square. Mix up your fabrics and make 8 different blocks or 2 sets of the same 4 blocks.
Here they are laid out with dimensions ready to sew
Most of us have done a log cabin and know how to sew this one from here. So off you go and stitch these up! Have fun, play with your stash and make a whole stack of these fun blocks! I also want to see you blocks! Share them at the Concrete Cabin Flickr Group!

If you've never sewn a log cabin block, horary for trying new things! I've got your step by step photo instructions right here! 

Start by sewing the middle square to the smallest piece below it
and finger press the seam to the outside. Do this for all seams.

Next sew the strip to the right of the square

Be careful at the ends to keep seams straight and .25"

next sew strip above the square

Sew on last strip for the middle section

At this point I start using pins to keep my
lines striaght

Once all strips of middle section are sewn together set
seams by pressing out with an iron

before adding outside layer trim excess
all the way around block

Next add first outside strip, to the bottom of block

Work around counter clockwise just like the first set

another strip sewn to the top

last strip sewn onto Concrete Cabin!

Once again set seams with iron, pressing seams out

Lastly, trim excess around block to 12" square
only about .25" should need to be trimmed.

You should now have your first Concrete Cabin Block sewn! Isn't it cool?!! Have fun with this and please let me know how this tutorial worked for you. I would love feed back in order to make it better! I have also created a flickr group so we can share our Concrete Blocks with each other. I'd LOVE to see them!

This tutorial is one of five in a Concrete Cabin Quilt Tutorial Series
Find the other tutorials by their links:



SewHappyGeek said...

I so love this block! Thanks for the tutorial :)

Judy said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I have tons of FQs just waiting for me and this looks like a great way to put them to use! said...

Fantastic! Love the block, and your fabric choices :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey! I wandered over from a link party and have been wandering about your blog. Great stuff! I'm following and rss'ing.

Thanks for sharing. I know these post take a lot of time to do.

Maria Filomena said...

Maravilhosa aula!!!
com abraços de Maria Filomena

Sue said...

That is a brilliant tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing. A concrete log cabin is on the top of my sewing list now.

Kimmer said...

Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I am new to quilting, and cannot wait to make my first big girl quilt!

Susan Hemann said...

First time visiting your blog. Love the quilt and your instructions!

Pat said...

Thanks for the detailed instructions. So helpful.