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Log Cabin Quilt Block - need cutting instructions for a 9" finished block

Traditional Log Cabin Quilt Block

Traditional Log Cabin Quilt Block

I want to make a 9" finished size log cabin block and am having a bit of a problem.

What size should the center be and what size should "logs" be to attain the finished size.



I went ahead and drafted instructions for two versions of the block--one with all the strips cut an even width, and one with a larger center square.

Construction Tips

When I construct Log Cabin quilt blocks, I add the first patch to the right side of the center square.

Next press the unit, first with it closed to set the seam, then press the unit open with the seam allowances to the dark (or in this case, red) side.

Back at my sewing machine, I then rotate the unit 1/4 turn to the left and add the next patch to the right side. All seam allowances are 1/4 inch.

Continue in this manner until all the patches have been added. Your block will measure 9-1/2" unfinished.

Logs and Center Square are Equal Widths

Log Cabin quilt block with even strips
This rendition of the block is made from a small center square and four rounds of logs. Cut your light and dark (in my example, red) fabrics into 1-1/2" cross grain strips.

Except for the first and last piece, you'll be sub-cutting both a dark and a light patch to the same length.

Notice that the block is slightly asymmetrical; there is more of the dark fabric than the light.

Cutting Instructions
PatchColorCut Size
Center SquareCenter1-1/2" square
1.LLight 11-1/2" x 1-1/2"
2.LLight 22-1/2" x 1-1/2"
3.DDark 12-1/2" x 1-1/2"
4.DDark 23-1/2" x 1-1/2"
5.LLight 33-1/2" x 1-1/2"
6.LLight 44-1/2" x 1-1/2"
7.DDark 34-1/2" x 1-1/2"
8.DDark 45-1/2" x 1-1/2"
9.LLight 55-1/2" x 1-1/2"
10.LLight 66-1/2" x 1-1/2"
11.DDark 56-1/2" x 1-1/2"
12.DDark 67-1/2" x 1-1/2"
13.LLight 77-1/2" x 1-1/2"
14.LLight 88-1/2" x 1-1/2"
15.DDark 78-1/2" x 1-1/2"
16.DDark 89-1/2" x 1-1/2"

The diagram below shows the position of the patches and the order of piecing. Piece 1.L is added first and is a light patch. Piece 4.D is the fourth patch added and is cut from a dark fabric.

order of piecing for log cabin block

Logs and Center Square are Different Widths

Log Cabin quilt block with a large center patch
In this block the center square is much larger. It takes just three rounds of logs to complete so it's faster than the first block.

After cutting your 3-1/2" square for the center, cut your light and dark strips into 1-1/2" strips.

This block is also slightly asymmetrical.

Cutting Instructions
PatchColorCut Size
Center SquareCenter3-1/2" square
1.LLight 13-1/2" x 1-1/2"
2.LLight 24-1/2" x 1-1/2"
3.DDark 14-1/2" x 1-1/2"
4.DDark 25-1/2" x 1-1/2"
5.LLight 35-1/2" x 1-1/2"
6.LLight 46-1/2" x 1-1/2"
7.DDark 36-1/2" x 1-1/2"
8.DDark 47-1/2" x 1-1/2"
9.LLight 57-1/2" x 1-1/2"
10.LLight 68-1/2" x 1-1/2"
11.DDark 58-1/2" x 1-1/2"
12.DDark 69-1/2" x 1-1/2"

The following diagram shows the placement of the patches.

order of piecing for a log cabin block with a large center

For ideas for laying out your 9" Log Cabin blocks check out Log Cabin Quilt Designs.

Thank you for your question.


Julie Baird

Comments for Log Cabin Quilt Block - need cutting instructions for a 9" finished block

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12 1/2" blocks
by: Kellie

I noticed where someone asked you about instructions for 12 1/2" blocks, but never got back to you. I would also be interested in those! I would like my blocks to be 12 1/2" finished with at least two inch strips, and I would prefer the smaller center square. I appreciate, so much, your taking the time to help others!

What a blessing!

From the Edit: Hi Kelli!

Quick question. 2" finished strips or 2-1/2" finished strips?


~ Julie

by: Linda

I was so completely happy to find your site after searching so much on the internet.

Your comments and diagrams are priceless, easy to follow and "user friendly."

Thank you so very much, what a delight to find someone like you to take the patience to help others.

by: Cindy

Looking forward to the "new math" guides this fall a kick out of "piecefully" in your reply.

by: Cindy

I'm a new to quilting and wanted to start with a log cabin quilt to give to some friends. I've bought a book but the directions were not nearly so user friendly as your list and chart.

Thanks for posting!!

From the Editor: You're welcome, Cindy! Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

Coming some time in the fall (after quilt show season) I'll be adding more pages about Log Cabin quilts. One of them will have the math done for several other sizes. Another will be paper piecing patterns (free to download) for smaller blocks with smaller logs.

Again, thank you! It's pretty cool to wake up on a Saturday morning and know that I've been able to help someone!



12.5" log cabin block
by: Kathy

I would like to make a 12.5" block with a bigger center with just rounds of logs. Can you give the instructions for that?

From the Editor: Not a problems, just need a bit of extra information.

  1. How big a center do you want/need?

  2. What size logs/strips do you prefer to work with? You'll need to let me know whether it's the finished or unfinished width.

  3. It is a 12-1/2" finished block or is 12-1/2" the unfinished size?

Once I have that information, it's easy-peasy to do for you!

I'll await your reply.

~ Julie

Easiest instructions
by: Jennifer

Thanks for doing this diagram. I want to make a log cabin quilt for my son and you have given me two options with instructions and pictures. This has made it so easy.

From the Editor: You're Welcome! Glad it helps!


Thanks for 9" log cabin
by: Julia

Hi, I have been tearing my hair out trying to design this on a (well-known) software program....I am using log cabin blocks for a QOV quilt with a log cabin star layout. Thanks for doing the math!

by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for the nice diagram and instructions on making this block! I think I am going to give it a try ! I love the red and white, too!

From the Editor:You're welcome! ~ Julie

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