How to Make an Easy Layer Cake Quilt

Kimberlee Tanner

We are excited to add another free pre-cut quilt pattern to our collection! Using pre-cuts can make a quilt top come together in a weekend and is perfect for when you need a quick, easy project. They are also a great way to get a little bit of all the prints in a collection, without spending a fortune.

This month, we are using a layer cake or 10" square pre-cuts. By adding a little bit of an accent color, we'll sew them into finished 9 1/2" squares and finish with a quilt that's about 57x57".


What is a Layer Cake?

Before we start sewing, we want to make sure you know what a layer cake is! It is simply a pre cut set of fabric in 10" squares. Not all sets of 10" squares will be called a layer cake, it will depend on the manufacturer, but if you ever hear anyone talk about a layer cake, they are simply referencing 10" squares. Companies provide pre cuts as a way to get all the fabrics in a collection easily and affordably. 


For this quilt top, you'll simply need one layer cake and one accent fabric. The accent fabric is going to be skinny strips, so we recommend picking out a solid.

  • Layer cake - consisting of at least 36 squares
  • 3/4 yard accent fabric

If you happen to have 42 squares in your layer cake, you can grab a full yard of accent fabric and use all the squares in your quilt.

Cutting Instructions

The only cutting we are going to do right now, is to cut your accent fabric into 10 x 1 1/2" strips.

Start by cutting 18 -  1 1/2" strips the width of fabric (WOF). This simply means cut them selvedge to selvedge. After you have cut the WOF strip, cut it down into 4 - 10" pieces. Repeat until you have 72 pieces total. If you are using 42 strips, you'll cut 21 - 1 1/2" strips x WOF and 84 pieces total.

That's it! The beauty of pre cuts is minimal prep work.

Making the Quilt Top

Now we need to sort the layer cake. Grab your fabrics and put them all in pairs of two pieces. You'll have 18 sets (21 for bigger quilt). This is a scrappy quilt, so the pairing doesn't really matter, just get a good mix. Try to change up the scale or colors of the prints in your pairings. If you have multiples of some of the prints, you can pick different matches for each one.

After you have made your pairs, head to the ironing board.

Stack each pair on top of each other and then iron them in half along the diagonal. This will give us a line to use when we sew the blocks together. It's a great way to keep things straight without having to use a marking pen.

Now we are ready to cut some more and sew.

Keeping each pair stacked together, grab one set and place it on your cutting board.

There are two options here:

    1. Using the 45 degree angle on your ruler, place it along the edge of your square and put the 4 1/4" line directly on a corner that has a crease through it. Cut across the crease. Rotate your square 180" and repeat on the opposite corner.
  1. Mark 6" in from a corner that has a crease in it in both directions. Line up your ruler on these marks and cut across the crease. Repeat with the opposite corner.

It doesn't matter which method you use, one just requires marking first, so pick which one you are most comfortable with.

Sewing the Quilt Top

All the prep working is done and we are ready to start sewing!

Grab one set of two squares (all the pieces) and four accent 10 x 1 1/2" strips. Fold your four accent strips in half and finger press.

Line up the accent crease with the center fold of one center section. Pin and sew 1/4" seam. Repeat on the opposite side.

Now grab the triangles from the second fabric in the pair. Line up the center crease of the triangle with the center crease of the strip, pin and sew. Repeat with the second matching triangle.

Make a second block using the remaining fabric from the pair.

Press. We chose to press away from the accent strip.

Repeat with all pairs.

Trim the extra fabric by lining your ruler up along the corner of the center piece.

When you are all done, you should have 36 blocks. (42 for the larger quilt).

Laying out the Quilt Top

When laying out the quilt top, we are going to mix up all the prints and alternate the direction of the blocks, creating an X shape.

The smaller size will be 6 x 6 blocks square, the larger size will be 6 x 7 blocks.

Then, quilt and bind!

For backing, you'll want 3 3/4 yards. This amount will work for both sizes!

Now, grab your quilt, your favorite person, book, or movie, and enjoy!

Happy Quilting,

Kimie and Missy

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