How to Sew a Log Cabin Applique

Create a log cabin design that's great for a quilt, sampler or pillow using the faced applique technique.


Materials and Tools:

Log by Log by Wendy Etzel
log cabin photos or drawings
non-fusible, non-woven, light to medium weight stabilizer
roof templates

Instructions provided courtesy of quilter and author Wendy Etzel. More details with photos and roof templates are available in Etzel's book Log by Log.


1. Begin collecting photos of log cabins or use drawings available in the book.

2. Choose fabric to represent logs and chinking (cement between the logs).

3. Cut 13 strips of log fabric with scissors approximately 1-1/4 inch wide and 18 inches long. Do not use a ruler - cut a little crooked for realism.

4. Cut 13 strips of chinking fabric with scissors, approximately 3/4-inch wide and 18-inches long.

5. Seam log and chinking strips into units of two. Press seams toward the dark log.

6. Continue adding units and pressing until one large unit is constructed (13 log strips and 13 chinking strips).

7. Prepare a paper roof template. Trace the roof outline onto stabilizer. Cut out the roof leaving 1" extra outside the pencil line.

8. Place the roof (drawing on stabilizer) on the right side of the fabric chosen for the roof. Sew directly on the line and trim to 1/8" outside the line. Slit the stabilizer in the center and turn the roof inside out. This will bring the right side of the roof to the foreground and turn the edges inside. This completes construction of a faced applique.

9. Place the fabric roof on the log unit to determine placement of the three corners of the cabin. The roof should overhang the side of the cabin, but don't stitch the roof onto the cabin until step 18.

10. Draw a chalk line to indicate the front outside edge (the cabin post).

11. Finish the outside corner (edge) by placing a strip of log fabric along the chalk line and stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim the edge and turn the strip to the back of the unit forming a post.

12. Draw a chalk line to indicate the center corner (post). Position another log unit along that chalk line and stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.

13. Cut from the bottom of the unit to the top along the chalk line. Shift the log unit representing the side of the cabin up approximately half the width of one log.

14. Complete this center post by seaming the other side of the strip to the section that has been shifted up. This completes two of the corners.

15. Replace the roof so it rests on the center corner (post) and determine where the back corner will be in addition to the slant of the gable. Draw these lines with chalk.

16. Finish this back corner with another strip of log fabric the same as the first corner.

17. Finish the gable by cutting a 1" strip of roof fabric and iron both horizontal edges under. Place this strip on the gable line. The upper end should be positioned under the main roof while the lower end overhangs the edge of the cabin. Topstitch along the lower edge.

18. Topstitch the roof to the cabin along the lower edge. Trim the excess logs from behind.

19. Add windows, doors and a chimney to complete the cabin. Iron the edges of appliques under, spraying first with spray starch or make faced appliques with the stabilizer. Topstitch in place.

20. Turn the lower edge of the cabin under or add a foundation to result in a cabin that's one large applique with all edges turned under. Place it in a quilt, on a sampler with old quilt blocks, on a pillow or in a rustic frame.

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