Traditional quilting is all about precision — each piece is painstakingly cut and seamed to achieve perfect angles and orderly lines. While the traditional quilt is truly a thing of beauty and impressive to any crafter, many modern quilters are letting their hair down in favor of a wonky, free-form style of quilting that breaks all the rules. This post will show you how to construct a traditional log cabin square, reinterpreted in a modern style. It’s a super-easy type of patchwork that’s perfect for beginners and lends itself to lots of interpretation — I’ve made a pillow here, but you can easily turn your log cabin squares into pot holders, a quilt or a tote. Let’s get started! — Brett Bara


  • assortment of quilting fabrics in the colors of your choice
  • scissors OR rotary cutter, cutting mat and straight edge
  • iron
  • sewing machine

Basics of “Wonky” Patchwork

Modern, wonky patchwork is very free form; there aren’t any strict rules to it, but here are some basics that will help you achieve the look.

Choosing Fabric
I recommend quilting fabric for this type of project, which is a medium-weight cotton that is readily available at any fabric store. I also recommend washing and drying your fabric before sewing with it.

A log cabin patchwork is made from simple strips of fabric. For a really free-form look, cut your fabric into long strips of different widths (anywhere from 1.5″ to 4″ is a good range). As you build the log cabin, you’ll cut the smaller pieces you need from these long strips.

Sewing Wonky Seams
Normally in sewing, you align the raw edges of your fabric and sew with a specific seam allowance, usually 1/4″ or 1/2″. Modern quilting throws that notion out the door!