Fry Quilt Tutorial

Fry Quilt Tutorial

|by Christopher Thompson|

While chowing down on my favorite fast food side dish, a light bulb flashed on—you know the kind that flashes above your head when you get a brilliant idea?! Why not make a series of mini quilts based on my favorite foods? I started bouncing around ideas and landed on French fries. They’re certainly in my top 5 favorites—alongside gummy bears, guacamole chips, and ice cream!

In the early stages of my planning, I found out that French fries have a long history and one could argue they were started in Belgium by the Spanish and not in France. During the late 1600s, the French didn’t eat potatoes because they believed they caused variety of diseases. How could something so tasty, cause diseases? The term French fries was introduced during World War I when both British and American soldiers were stationed in Belgium. French was the local language, so it was appropriate for these tiny, golden brown, strips of yummy to be called French fries instead of Belgium fries. Can you imagine?

I drew out several versions until I decided to put my sketchbook away and just create. I pulled out several fabrics and without a block size in mind, began cutting and piecing. The end result of the first block was awesome and so I decided to keep going, until there were no more French fries! Follow my easy improvisational tutorial below to create your own Fry Quilt!

  • 1 fat quarter of Kona Yellow (Corn Yellow or Grellow)
  • 1 fat quarter of Kona Red (Red or Poppy)
  • ½ yard of Kona Navy (Navy, Storm, or Indigo) for the background and binding
  • ½ yard of Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures (Navy Crosshatch) for the backing
  • Black thread (Aurfil 50wt)
  • Batting (Quilters Dream, Crib Size)
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

Fry Quilt Tutorial

Helpful hint #1: Iron all your fabric before you cut, especially fat quarters, it will help make cutting much easier.

Helpful hint #2: When buying multiple yards of fabric, have your fabric shop cut your yardage into fat quarters or half yards—it will certainly come in handy when working with mini projects!


All seams were made with ¼” allowance.

Fold your yellow fabric in half and cut ten to twelve 1” strips.

Using one quarter of your navy fabric, fold in half and cut ten to twelve 1” strips.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

With right sides together, sew one yellow strip to one navy strip along short ends. Press the seam to the navy side.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

Continue this step until you’ve made the desired amount of fries. (In the sample, I started with six fries, then did three fries, then one. In the photos I’m doing two. It’s really up to you!)

Sew one plain navy strip to the first fry strip along a long edge, right sides together. Press the seam to the navy side. Continuing joining fry strips, adjusting your fry/background position to create different fry heights. It’s ok that the ends of the strips don’t line up. Following the same direction you started with, continue to press your seams.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

At the end, sew one navy strip to the entire run of fries. Make this final navy strip wide enough so that the whole thing is just a little wider than 4″. (As you have fewer and fewer fries, you’ll have to make this final strip wider and wider.)

Fry Quilt Tutorial

Trim both ends down to create a 4 ½” tall block. Then trim to 4″ wide.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

Helpful hint #3: You can use the navy scraps from your trimmings when piecing your next set of fries.

Fold your red fabric in half and cut a 4” wide strip. With right sides together, sew your red strip to the bottom end of your fry strip. Press the seam to the red side.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

Trim so the red strip is 4 ½” long.

With your navy fabric, cut several 2” wide strips.

Sew a navy strip to one side, trim to the top and bottom of the block as needed. Press the seam to the navy side. Repeat for the other side.

Sew a navy strip to the top, trim to the sides of the block as needed. Repeat for the other side.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

Continue the above steps to make three additional blocks (for a total of four), each time including fewer fry strips and adding wider background strips until you have an empty box of French fries.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

Join each block together going from left to right. Square the quilt top as needed. Layer the top with the batting and back. Baste using your preferred method.

Helpful hint #4: Using a fabric spray adhesive (like 505 basting spray) and painter’s tape, you can baste small projects like this on a level table surface.

Using my Husqvarna Viking® Sapphire 960Q and the Interchangeable Dual Feed foot, I matchstick quilted with black Aurfil thread. Matchstick quilting is an awesome, improvisational quilting method that doesn’t follow any rules. Don’t worry about overlapping or wonky lines; it’s part of the fun!


Square the quilt top as needed and bind using your preferred method. I cut my binding strips to be 2 ¼” wide and hand sew them to the back.

Fry Quilt Tutorial

There you have it! What’s your favorite food?

If you post photos of your own fry quilt, use the hashtags #thesewingparty and #fryquilt so we can see and share!

Hailing from a very small town in Southern Virginia, Christopher has lived in several cities over the years from Atlanta to San Francisco and now NYC. He grew up in a traditional quilting family and before he could walk and talk, was playing under a quilt frame. As the years passed, Christopher continued tinkering with crafts, quilting, and other odds-and-ends creative endeavors. He purchased his first grown up sewing machine and has been working late nights and weekends to create interesting quilts inspired by the world around him–art, music, fashion, and of course, there’s a nod to his traditional roots thrown in there too!

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