By: Phyllis Hoffman Depiano

For the unitiated, Jelly Rolls are collections of 2 1/2×42-inch strips of fabric; these typically include 40 strips of fabric but can vary. The first time I remember seeing these was at a quilt shop in Fayetteville, Tennessee. Hanging in the window was the most beautiful ladies jacket made from a Jelly Roll. Of course, I purchased the materials and the roll to make the jacket.

I contacted Carrie Nelson at Moda Fabrics, who gave me a little scoop on this Jelly Roll craze.

Carrie says, “The name Jelly Roll came about for a couple of reasons: Most quilters like sweets; the roll does looks a bit like a jelly-roll pastry; and our marketing director, Lissa Alexander, has a gift for seeing possibilities, i.e., the ‘big picture.’ She created a theme, or concept, from the start, and she is the one who came up with the name.”

When I asked Carrie how many Jelly Rolls are sold each year, her answer was most informative: As for how many are sold in a year, the only answer that anybody can really provide is “a lot.” However, I do have some “facts” that might help.

  • The Jelly Roll was introduced at Fall Market in 2006; they shipped to stores in 2007.
  • There are Jelly Rolls with 40 strips — 2.5 x 42-inches WOF (width of fabric), and there are Junior Jelly Rolls with 20 strips—2.5 x 42-inches WOF. Junior Jelly Rolls (JJRs) are done with very small collections and many of the Bella Solids.
  • As for yardage, there are 2.75 yards of fabric in a single Jelly Roll.
  •  Laid end to end as strips, one Jelly Roll measures approximately 1.680 inches – 140 feet – 46.5 yards.
  • 38 Jelly Rolls laid end to end equal a little more than 1 mile, so 47,000 Jelly Rolls will stretch from Dallas to Spring Market in Salt Lake City.
  • Moda has sold enough Jelly Rolls, laid end to end, to encircle the Earth.