Petunia Strings Quilt Tutorial

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Using 2½-inch fabric strips for a quilt is always so much fun and depending on the fabrics you use, it will always look different. You could make this quilt many times and they would all look different and beautiful!

Petunia Strings quilt on bed

Here is my tutorial on how to make Petunia Strings by the River quilt. Batik fabrics really look beautiful in this easy to make string quilt pattern.

Petunia Strings quilt with flowers

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  • Two jelly rolls
  • 4 ¼ yards of muslin or a neutral fabric
  • batting
  • backing

I used 2 jelly rolls that had 40 strips in them for my projects but you could also cut your own 2½-inch strips of fabrics in your stash. I used a premium muslin for my solid color. The strips are cut the width of the fabric and are about 40 inches long.

Edit: I used yardage of muslin for the quilt – I just figured it out and it takes 4 and 1/4 yd – every tube uses 3 – 2 1/2 inch strips (7 1/2 inches) – you will have lots of odd pieces at the ends that can be used for other projects.

First you will make 2 sections:

  • One will have 2 print strips with 1 muslin strip in the center
  • One will have 2 muslin strips with 1 print strip in the center
  • Sew together using a ¼” seam allowance
  • Press toward the dark fabrics
Petunia Strings strips sewn together

Sew both of the sections together to make a long tube. I folded it over so you could see.

Petunia Strings quilt block

We are going to make a 45 degree cut to make our blocks. You don’t need a special ruler – it does help to have a ruler longer than the width of the tube but if you don’t you could make a template. Below I have shown you what a 45-degree angle is….very easy….anytime you have a square and cut it diagonally you have made a 45 degree cut.


Line up the bottom of your ruler along a straight line on your seam line, you will cut along the angle as shown.


Then flip your ruler to the other side and line up along the seam line again for your next cut. My blocks are about 8 1/2 inches.

Note: you could also line up along the edge of your tube…..your blocks will be bigger. Whichever way you do…..be consistent or your blocks will be different sizes.


You will get 6 blocks out of one tube – it takes 4 of these blocks to make one big block for the design. You’ll have 2 leftover – hint – if you make 2 tubes with the identical fabrics you will have enough small blocks to make 3 big blocks.

Edit: Each tube uses 3 strips from your jelly roll – you get enough blocks from one to make 1 large design block (4 small blocks) – you will have 2 small blocks leftover from each tube.

The next diagram shows you the fabrics I used and how they work for the corners. The strip with 2 prints and 1 solid is the one that gets used to create the center of the design.

Petunia Strings Easy tutorial

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I thought I would show this picture of what happens if your fabrics are too similar.

Petunia Strings Easy tutorial

16½-inch blocks

Now we will take the 4 blocks and lay them out like this and sew them together to make an 16½-inch unfinished quilt block.

Petunia Strings Easy tutorial

You could also do your blocks this way…..for a completely different look.

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 Petunia Strings Easy tutorial

Be very careful handling your blocks as all sides are bias edges and they will have a tendency to stretch.

Here is a diagram of my blocks sewn together so you can see how the blocks look in this setting. This is really a fast and fun way to make blocks and would be beautiful scrappy!

Petunia Strings Easy tutorial

The quilt size is approximately 72 x 88 before adding the borders.

This design takes 80 small strip blocks – 4 to each large block design equals 20 blocks for this quilt.

One jelly roll – using 39 strips will give you 13 large blocks and you will have 13 small blocks leftover that could be used for another project or you could mix and match them. I actually used only 21 of the strips from the 2nd jelly roll for the blocks since I have 20 blocks.

Quilt backing

The back is muslin and I used Warm & Natural for the batting. There was some stretching when I quilted it and the borders didn’t lay perfectly flat but after washing and drying it looks pretty good.

I don’t recommend using the 2 1/2 inch strips pieces for a border…..it stretched because of the bias edges on the blocks. I bought 2 jelly rolls so I could use the fabrics for a border…I just sewed strips together and added them around the sides.

Petunia Strings quilt on deck

Binding the quilt

For my binding, I cut some of the strips into smaller pieces and also added some leftover pieces for a completely scrappy binding. It is a straight edge binding, not a bias. I only do bias binding on a quilt with curved edges. I sewed it to the front side of my quilt after quilting and then I machine stitched it down.

Binding on the Petunia Strings quilt

If you are looking for an easy way to attach your quilt binding, look at my machine binding tutorial.

I love using muslin in my quilts; I love the old-fashioned look of it and it is affordable. A couple of people asked about the muslin. I use a premium grade muslin, permanent press, and pre-shrunk. I have never actually bought any online as I usually buy it at JoAnn’s with a 50% off coupon.

I like to keep plenty on hand. If I happen to run out our Walmart carries fabric and they have a brand of muslin that I like.

Petunia Strings quilt by the river


I always love pillows as they are fast to make and a lot easier to free-motion quilt!

When you have leftover blocks, make a pillow! Both pillows use a 16-inch pillow form and have muslin on the back.

Each pillow used 4 small strip blocks.

Petunia Strings pillow on quilt

Another beautiful pillow with different fabric strips.

Notice the quilted king-size pillow shams in the back? I made them last year and they are out of muslin.

Petunia Strings pillow in other colors

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and make a beautiful batik strip-pieced quilt!

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Connie with her dogs

About Connie

Hi, I’m Connie Kresin Campbell, the quilter, writer, and photographer behind Freemotion By the River. I enjoy inspiring others with my quilt tutorials and patterns. You’ll also see my sweet adopted dogs from time to time.

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  1. A lovely name for a lovely quilt!! Thank you, Connie. I think I feel a quilt project coming on. I love this; it’s so beautiful and fresh. I will begin to use muslin for my quilt backs, too. More economical. Thanks for the many tips.

  2. Margaret A Burnett says:

    Hello Connie:
    Your “Petuia Strings” pattern is stunning!! Thank you for sharing with us!! I have a fair amount of batik fabrics in my collection that would be ideal for this quilt. When I do get around to getting my version done, Iˋll post a picture on your page.
    Thanks again for sharing your pattern!!

  3. This is my first quilt ever! I am so excited to make it. Thank you for posting this easy-to-follow tutorial!

    1. *Second quilt ever. I have finally gotten around to making it. Lol

  4. Sylvia Creswell says:

    Very pretty quilt! I will try this.

  5. This is timeless! Did you have any idea it would back in 2012? Love the meandering quilting you did too! When I do that I have to do the entire piece on one sitting (which never happens) because my sense of the patter (?) changes the next day. But since I make quilts for puppers, they don’t seem to care.
    Beautiful pattern – the quilt looks just perfect by the river. (or my house!)

  6. Good morning from Australia Connie, the quilt is just beautiful
    and I love the cushions as well. I look forward to your tutorials and
    What you are up to in the garden and your dear little dogs. Pets are a blessing in our lives. Thank you for your time. Noelene.

  7. Absolutely beautiful pattern. Thank you! I just finished my squares for the topper. Tomorrow morning will be sewing them together

  8. I’m just now seeing you beautiful tutorial, thank you so much for sharing. I am a confident beginner and welcome new techniques for creating quilts

  9. Great tutorial Connie 🙂 I think I may have to try this soon 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to make and share it. Ellyx (a little behind ;))

  10. Tonna @ Navy Wifey Peters says:

    I absolutely LOVE the fabrics you used!

  11. Kati from Kati's Quilting says:

    Wonderful tutorial with a great project! Thank you so much for sharing! I was visiting through can I get a WHOOP WHOOP? 🙂

  12. Great tutorial! I love this quilt.

  13. Whoop whoop!! Beautiful quilt, and great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!!

  14. Beautiful! I have a quilt like this in mind to do shortly and this just makes me more excited

  15. Thank you for the wonderful tute on making your quilt. I love the photo of it by the water. Nice work all around.

  16. Denise :) says:

    I really appreciate how you show how to use rulers the way they're meant to be used! Great tutorial, Connie … thank you!!! 🙂

  17. I absolutely love this quilt. You picked such awesome colors. I might just have to make one. I will put it on my bucket list. By the way, my bucket list will now stretch from here to the moon. I have to buy more paper, I used the last piece writing this down. I could now be officially called a paper hoarder with all the patterns I have copied and saved to make some day. They could probably consider this a fire hazzard. No smoking allowed, my room would burst into flames. Oh, I have gone off track again. I am so enjoying seeing all of your quilts. Now if I would spend as much time in my sewing room as I do in front of this computer reading all the amazing quilting blogs I might get to this pattern before I pass on to quilt heaven.

  18. MaterialGirlQuilts says:

    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing. It is going on my to-do list for sure!!

  19. Thanks for the great tutorial. The colors really make this a fabulous quilt.

  20. I ♥ stripping! Makes things LOOK like you spent hours piecing!! This layout is really pretty. I'm working on a similar one now…I used a whole piece of white (or cream or white on white) paired with strings. When I opened the block up, it looks like a giant half-square triangle & I've got them laid out so the strips line up diagonally. Took longer to make all the strings than it did to cut all the blocks!

  21. Thank you, thank you, thank you Connie — I LOVE this quilt !

    Tutorial much appreciated!


  22. Barbie Mills says:

    This quilt is beautiful, I never would have thought of doing it with a tube. Thanks for sharing! This is on my to-do list now!

  23. Very nice, Connie. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm gonna! Thanks for a great tute!

  24. thankyou so much for sharing Connie.xx

  25. Melissa Corry says:

    Such a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing it!!

  26. Thanks for sharing. Great tutorial and great quilt. It is on my To-do List!

  27. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. I do have a question: when you say you used 2 jelly rolls, was that 1 print jelly roll and 1 solid jelly roll or 2 printed jelly rolls and yardage of the solid? I hope this makes sense! ha!
    Thank you1

  28. What a great tutorial! Thank you so much. The quilt and pillow are so pretty!

  29. Beautiful quilt. Your tutorial was easy to follow, your pictures were very helpful. This quilt idea is definitely on my bucket list. Thank you for taking the time to post a most excellent tutorial, Connie.

  30. Thanks for posting the tutorials. I hope to try this soon – but first I have to finish my Intertwined quilt. 😀
    Connie, I'm trying something out – I hope you can reply to my comments now.

  31. Awesome! Thanks for the clear instructions! This will be new for me!

  32. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Is that a 40 piece jelly roll or a 20?