The Campfire Quilt Pattern is available for digital download. Click here to purchase! This quilt comes in king, queen/full, throw and baby quilt sizes.
Since learning to quilt a million (20) years ago, I have been fascinated with the history and heritage of quilting. I've actually written a handful of blog posts about it:
And last, but not least on that list, the Log Cabin Quilt Pattern. When I first blogged about the Campfire Quit, I dove into the different theories behind the origin of the Log Cabin block. Is it truly even based on a log cabin? I found many sources dating the design all the way back to ancient Egypt!
Aside from the facts, looking at this block, it's easy to see why it's named after a traditional log cabin. The narrow strips of fabric, or "logs," build on each other and are arranged around a center square, or "hearth." Each fabric strip is added to the pattern in much the same way logs are stacked to build a log cabin.
Another reason this design represents patchwork quilting so well is because our great-great-great-quiltmothers were resourceful in all things and mostly quilted with recycled fabric. These women would utilize almost any textile available, often making a Log Cabin quilt the final step in recycling old clothing and stray scraps.
5 Tips for Making the Campfire Quilt Pattern
Many of my quilt patterns are listed as Easy on the how-difficult-is-this-quilt scale. Campfire, however, is listed as Moderate. That's not to say a beginner couldn't make it OR that it's "hard," it's just not...easy.
Don't freak out. Let me explain. This design is a medallion, which means that rather than repeating blocks sewn together to make rows, it starts with one block in the middle and gradually gets bigger. This means that if your quilt top gets a bit wonky in the early stages, it will continue to grow wonky. Here are a few tricks I've learned through sewing four of these quilts. I've also gotten some great tips from my pattern testers.
1. Only trim when you need to sew. Take a look at the pictures below to see an example of what I mean. Rather than trimming every side of each strip as I sew it to the next piece, I only trim sections that need to be sewn at that time. This may sound confusing now, but once you dive into the pattern, I assure you it will make sense.
2. Press, don't iron. You may think these words are interchangeable, but when it comes to sewing, they aren't. You iron fabric to get wrinkles out. This involves moving the iron smoothly and slowly over the fabric. When pressing, set the iron straight down, hold for a few seconds, and then lift up.
With the quilt top facing up, I use my fingers to gently fold back the seam I just sewed. I then press the seam with my iron. If you iron the seam by pushing it open with the side of your iron, you run the risk of stretching and warping the fabric. To clarify, I press my seams to the side with the darker fabric. Check out the picture below for a look at the back of my Campfire quilt.
In this video I show you how I use a Tailor's Clapper to get crisp, flat seams.
3. A little bit of ballooning or distortion is completely fine. It will quilt out! When making a medallion quilt it's almost inevitable for your quilt top to get a little bit off. If the center starts to balloon from distortion or if your quilt top begins taking the shape of a rhombus, don't fret my pet! Do your best to trim and iron and then trust that once you baste and quilt, the fabric will lay flat and look great.
4. Starch before not after. I have not made this quilt using starch, however, most of my pattern testers did. One thing they all agreed on is that if you are going to use starch, starch all of your fabric before cutting and sewing. If you starch some, but not all of your fabric, it won't all stretch in the same way and more harm than good will happen.
Additionally, don't use starch after sewing to iron your seams – this may cause warping. Read more about starching fabric here!
5. Flip it and reverse it. Missy Elliott style.
This is another tip from my pattern testers that I am very intrigued to try. According to a couple of my seasoned sewists, when sewing strips to the quilt top, flip the quilt so that sometimes it's on top of the strip and sometimes it's beneath the strip. Make sense? This should prevent warping in one direction. Since a lot of sewing machines pull the fabric through the feed dogs unevenly, by flipping the quilt top every couple of seams, you will prevent distortion.
Picking Fabric for the Campfire Quilt
Strong & Structured
The original Campfire quilt pulled colors from a literal campfire and added a touch of whimsy – peach anyone? The pop of light blue and peach add balance to this composition. Without them, it would look like a dart board with a red bull's eye in the middle.
If you would like to create a similar look, keep 2 things in mind:
- Use a bold fabric to ground each set of strips. This will give the quilt clear structure. Even though this design uses shades of black, charcoal and gray, every set of strips has at least one black strip to make sure the structure is solidly visible. (The sets are mostly in groups of three)
- Pick a couple pops of color. This will allowing the viewer's eye to bounce around the composition as a whole rather than zooming straight to the bright center. Why is this important? Visual interest is what makes a dynamic composition. Picture yourself at a museum. You're strolling through the halls, glancing at paintings, then STOP. You stand in front of one cause you need a longer look. THAT'S the visual interest I'm talking about.
- Color 1: Various black scraps I had on hand. Some include: Kona Black, Loominous Black
- Color 2: Moda Bella Lead
- Color 3: Kona Iron
- Color 4: Various gold scraps – Moda Bella Harvest Gold and Firefly Marigold
- Color 5: Loominous Headlines
- Color 6: Moda Bella Robins Egg
- Color 7: Kona Creamsicle
- Color 8: Kona Snow
Soft & Squishy
This next Campfire quilt is the opposite of strong and structured. The key word here is "squish." Made up of cream and light blue scraps of fabric, this baby quilt is effortlessly cloud-like. And did I mention that it's backed in organic flannel? ooohhh yes. My only mistake was not making it large enough for my king-sized bed.
Those crisp edges are from using steam with my Tailor's Clapper.
- Cream: Like I said, these came from my scrap bin, but here are some: Apricot Scatter, Stone X-Marks, White Linen
- Light Blue: Birch Fabrics Mineral, Birch Fabrics Chambray, Kona Baby Blue, Essex Linen Aqua
- Binding: IKEA duvet, ya'll!
This Campfire quilt uses the same structural concept as the Original, except with MORE COLOR! Warm pinks and yellows fade into cool blues and greens. If you are interested in making a Campfire quilt just like this, Fabric Bubb is currently selling a kit to make a throw.
If you saw my IG stories from QuiltCon (still in highlights) you already met my fab friend Amy. She's not a quilter, but that doesn't stop her from still being the most adorable human I know.
I bought all of these fabrics from Fabric Bubb because I like that you can order a 1/4 yd. – which is perfect for this quilt. Below are the Kona colors I used and how much you'll need.
And if you're thinking, "Wow that water is green!" Yes, you're right. I took this photo on St. Pat's Day and most everything in Chicago was dyed green. Apparently Chicago is pretty Irish...or maybe we just like beer. 😉
Cotton + Steel Campfire Collaboration - GIVEAWAY!
After posting a few of these photos on Instagram I quickly saw a trend in the comments, "I don't know which is cuter, the sweet little girl or the adorable quilt!"
Guys. That's a no brainer. The little girl! She is STEALING the show from my quilt and I'm more than a little bit peeved. Come on, Zora! Stop being so cute!
If you act fast and jump on Instagram Cotton + Steal and I are running a giveaway to give you a free Campfire Quilt Spectacular fabric bundle. It's so easy to enter! The giveaway runs from 9:00am CST March 22 - 4:00pm CST March 26.
Cotton + Steel has more pics on their blog of Zora and this quilt if you want to check them out.
This Spectacle line is shipping to stores this week, so a lot of places do not have it yet. Below are the fabric requirements for when it starts popping up in shops. Actually let me check something...yep! Fabric Bubb has it listed.
Campfire Quilts in the Wild
My pattern testers made some beautiful variations of this quilt. Not only do these talented sewists make a quilt, they also give me invaluable feedback and tips on how to improve your pattern sewing experience. Check out what they made!
Gradient Rainbow by Saija Elina
My Finnish counterpart, Saija, always finds a way to transform quilt patterns into something completely unique to her. This gradient rainbow Campfire quilt is not exception. She chose to create a Courthouse Steps appearance through her color placement.
Art Deco Pastels by Evie Jespersen
Pretty in Pink & Teal by Elizabeth Ray
Baby Blue by Tiffany Horn
Magenta Magic by Christine Myers
Gingham Stripe by Krystina Hopkins
Spring Color Pop by Oh Sew Brooke
Yellow Mermaid by Caitlyn Williams
Fussy Cut Fireflies by Jessica Schunke
"When I saw this pattern and the 5" square for the center, I couldn't resist fussy cutting those little fireflies. And using Campsite fabrics for the Campfire quilt seemed like a no brainer. I love the texture and play of colors the chambray background adds as well."
Perfect Picnic by Holly Hughes
Pink Punch by Leah Weskamp
Mod Flowers for a Queen by Veronika Bush
"This is a queen! And I love it so much!! Biggest tip is to buy TWO bottles/cans of starch - one for starching all fabric before cutting and one for starching each row as you press it open after it’s sewn. And then starching the whole thing after it’s all sewn together. (I still have to do the after sewing starching - I need to buy more! and ps Evie Jespersen is the one who told me she starched the whole thing afterward and hers looks super flat!)"
44 thoughts on “Campfire Quilt Pattern – Tips, Pics & Fabric!”
Love this pattern! Could I use a jelly roll for this one, or is it best to use yardage?
You could definitely use a jelly roll! The Throw and Baby sizes use 2″ strips and the Queen/Full size uses 2 1/2″ – perfect!
Love this quilt! Do you think I’d need to pick up more than one jelly roll to make the queen sized one, or do you think a single roll would work? Thanks!
To make the queen size, you will need about 45 2 1/2″ strips + 40 2″ background strips + background borders. I think a typical jelly roll has around 24 strips, so two jelly rolls + background fabric would work great!
I am new to quilting though not new to sewing. If I want to use a jelly roll for a baby quilt that requires narrower than 2.5” strips, can I just use a wider seam allowance or do I need to cut the jelly roll strips narrower before sewing? I got some jelly rolls from a friend and would love to use them up for this project. Thanks so much!
It would probably be easier to stack your strips and trim one side, but a larger seam allowance would work too.
Are these your adorable kids with the quilts? Love the new pattern. Looks fun to make.
Nope! I’ve gotten really good at borrowing kids. lol! 😉
I’ve had my eye on this quilt pattern for a long time ever since I saw some promo pictures you took with Bernina with this quilt in the background, and I’m thrilled it’s finally available for purchase. Your testers are amazing, there are so many different color combos and they all make it look different. Decisions decisions!
Thank you Suzy for all your advice and great photos for your campfire quilt, and give us the color codes it’s really top! 🌸💕
Oh man, I’ve been heart-eye emojing this quilt since I first saw it on your feed and I so want to make it. I’m a little scare due to my limited quilting experience but I might just have to give it a whirl!
You are a genius to create this gorgeous versatile quilt. It is literally amazing with every color combination!! I love it so much!! 💚💗💜💛💕
These are all so stunning, so inspiring! I just purchased your pattern & I can’t wait to get started!!!
That’s so nice! Thanks, Miki!
I know you said what thread you use to hand-quilt on your IG story but I never wrote it down and now I can’t remember! Help!
haha! No problem! I list out all of my favorite hand quilting supplies on my FAQ page. But so you don’t have to hop over there, my hand quilting thread of choice is Pearl Cotton Thread No.8.
Thanks for the arrow and bow quilt pattern. Love it in the red and white. What fabric did you use for the red? It looks like a batik?
It’s a woven fabric from the Loominous line. You can still find it here.
Love this pattern. Color changes everything!!! Your pup looks like a Norwich Terrier Mix? I’ve got a Norwich, Tasso, and he loves ALL my quilts!
Just found you! Wow! Thanks for all of your words and your willingness to share. AMY is a magic name, my bestie is also Amy and she is terrific.
How much fabric and jelly rolls do you need for a throw size quilt.
That’s tough to say, since the pattern is written for yardage rather than jelly rolls. If you get the background fabric in yardage, I would think that 2 jelly rolls would be enough for the color strips.
I would love to make this in a king size for my bed. Can you estimate how many jelly rolls would be needed? I have just found you and am so impressed. I love the baby quilt also and may try one for a friend.
The king is the only size that can’t be made using jelly rolls since it requires 3″ strips. The pattern does include yardage requirements for a king, though.
Totally amazing blog post!
Suzy, what is the best way to quilt the Campfire quilt? In the ditch or ?? I can see your quilting in the 6” outer borders and love that, I just don’t want to hand quilt 🥴 thanks for your ideas and help love this quilt I’ll make it again 😍
Great question! I’ve machine quilted along the “campfire logs” and also shipped it to a longarm quilter for an allover pattern. I think both look great! If you check out the #CampfireQuilt hashtag on Instagram, you will see other ways people have quilted this pattern.
😀 This is the first quilt I’ve ever seen, that has got me soo interested in quilting! EVER!! I-Am-In-Awe!! I’ve never sewn a quilt, but I want to now! Time to do a little research on the terms mentioned, would this be too much for a beginner? I am a advanced garment sewer, but this will be my first quilt. Maybe I should try the throw first? Either way, I’m purchasing this pattern. Fan for life, checking out your IG, subbing and everything! 😀
I just purchased your Campfire pattern and I would love to make it with the same fabrics you used on the crib size. I have some of the Spectacle line, but can you please tell me what fabric pattern the navy blue color is? I tried to tell from the picture and I have 2 guesses, but I would like to be sure before I buy it. I think they might be either Cotton and Steel sea urchins, or Cotton and Steel add it up. I am curious to see if I guessed it correctly. Thanks for all of the tips and suggestions that you share with us. I just completed hand quilting my first hand quilted quilt after seeing your post about hand quilting using the table. That helped me to get started and I quilted a king size quilt. I could definitely tell the difference from the first block I quilted until the last one. It took me over 100 hours to hand quilt 95 blocks. Thanks for your inspiration! You gave me the courage, and confidence to try it out!!!
It’s Cotton + Steel Add It Up in Indigo 😉
Thanks so much 🙂. I am tickled that I guessed it correctly!!! I can’t wait to buy my fabric and get started.
I am a new-ish quilter, but I want to give the campfire quilt a go for my own bed in a queen! I love almost all the colors in your quilt (the one shown in the pictures at the conservatory) , and I want to follow that color guide all except the dark brownish mahogany color. I have the hardest time with color choices, so I wanted to ask if you think a darker teal/Caribbean blue-ish color would look good subbed for the mahogany color? Thanks!
I think a really dark teal would look great! If you’re sticking with Kona, look into the color Celestial or Glacier. May be a good fit.
Yes, I’m planning to use kona solids! I’ll check those colors out! Thank you!
I love the campfire quilt pattern! I am so excited to try it! I am wanting to do school colors (Orange, black, white). Do you think I can make it with solids or should I chose different patterns with the orange and black and use white as the background?
I personally love this pattern in solids, but a couple prints mixed in would look great too!
I’ve been admiring this pattern for a long time, but finally purchased today. Can’t wait to get started! Thanks
I cannot keep up with you Suzy! Every time you make a new quilt I buy the pattern and fabric for it…then finish the one I’m working on. Then I see you’ve made another quilt that I just love, so I buy the pattern and the fabric…and on and on…it’s getting silly!
Was wondering if this could be made in a white/grey mix of colors. a friend is looking to make this in basically white, but i convinced her to at least add some grey. Thoughts? Thanks
Yes definitely! If you check out the tag #CampfireQuilt on Instagram you’ll see a lot of examples of two color versions. I made a blue and white version in the exmaples here too.
if i buy the campfire pattern will all of the above instructions/tips come along with it?
The instructions will come with the pattern, yes.