National Sew a Jelly Roll Day, celebrated every third Saturday of September and falling on September 21 this year, is a day on which quilters get to sew up their many bundles of pre-cut and unused fabrics, which are usually referred to as ‘jelly rolls.’ When sewing, a wide range of effects can be used by the quilter to contribute to the final quality and utility of the quilted material. The quilter manages these effects by manipulating such things as the type and thickness of the material, the stitch length and style, pattern design, and piecing and cutting.
History of National Sew a Jelly Roll Day
The origin of the word ‘quilt’ is tied to the Latin word ‘culcita,’ which means ‘a bolster or a cushion.’ The term’s use is supposed to have been recorded in England for the first time in the 13th century. The sewing techniques of piecing and quilting have however been used for clothing and furnishing purposes in various parts of the world for several thousand years.
The earliest garment known to have been quilted is depicted on an Egyptian carved ivory figure of a Pharaoh, which dates as far back as the ancient Egyptian First Dynasty, around 3400 B.C. In 1924, archeologists uncovered a quilted floor covering somewhere in Mongolia, and the covering is estimated to go as far back in time as anywhere between 100 B.C. and 200 A.D. Quilting has been part of the needlework tradition in Europe since about the fifth century, with early objects containing Egyptian cotton, an indication of the possibility that Egyptian and Mediterranean trade provided a channel for the technique.
Quilted objects were, however, relatively scarce in Europe until about the 12th century, when quilted bedding and other such items surfaced, following the return of the Crusaders from the Middle East. Medieval quilted battle garments were worn under an armor of maille or plate armor or in place of the same. These garments would later develop into the quilted doublet, which became part of fashionable European male clothing from the 14th to 17th centuries. The earliest known European bed quilt surviving to this day is from Sicily, dating back to the 14th century; it is the Tristan quilt, which is made of linen and padded with wool.
National Sew a Jelly Roll Day timeline
A carved ivory figure depicting a Pharaoh adorning a quilted garment is the earliest record of such and dates back to 3400 B.C.
The word ‘quilt’ has its origins in the Latin word ‘culcita’ and comes into English use in the early 1200s.
The earliest surviving bed quilt is found in Sicily, Italy.
A quilted floor covering is uncovered in Mongolia and supposedly dates back as far as between 100 B.C. and 200 A.D.
National Sew a Jelly Roll Day FAQs
What is a Jelly Roll?
Jelly Rolls are bundles of pre-cut and unused fabrics, so-called because they are bundled together.
Do you prewash Jelly rolls?
Don’t prewash the strip, lest you have a huge mess of loose threads.
Why is it called a Jelly roll?
The fabric, two-and-a-half inches long, when rolled together looks like a roll.
National Sew a Jelly Roll Day Activities
Take some quilting lessons
Here’s the perfect opportunity to learn some quilting through YouTube tutorials. You could also learn from someone around who can teach you.
Sew all your Jelly rolls
If you’re already an established quilter, how about unshelving your Jelly rolls and sewing them together for a single project? It sure sounds like fun!
Share on social media
Don’t forget to share pictures and videos from your quilting experience on social media. When you do, use the #NationalSewAJellyRollDay hashtag.
5 Facts About Quilting That Will Surprise You
AIDS Memorial is the world’s largest quilt
The largest quilt in the world, currently, is the AIDS Memorial.
There are 10 million American quilters
There are currently between 10 and 12 million quilters in the United States, mostly middle-aged women.
Paducah is the world’s quilt capital
The city of Paducah, in Kentucky, U.S., claims the title of the World’s Quilt Capital.
The Tristan quilt is the oldest quilt
The Tristan quilt, housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is the oldest recorded quilt.
Gee's bend quilts are America’s most famous
The most popular quilts in the United States are the Gee's bend quilts.
Why We Love National Sew a Jelly Roll Day
Quilting is fun
Quilting can be quite an interesting activity, as long as you can get the hang of it. It’s also a good way to relieve stress.
Quilting is good for bonding
Quilting is a good bonding exercise. This is especially true for a grandma and her teenage or young-adult grandchildren.
It’s an opportunity to get creative
National Sew a Jelly Roll Day is an opportunity to get creative with all those Jelly rolls you’ve stored up. Get your rolls in place and start sewing.
National Sew a Jelly Roll Day dates