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Pinwheel Quilt Block Tutorial

My 5 year old has been asking me to make him a blanket for quite awhile and I’ve finally started on it. (If said 5 year old would ever give me more than 5 minutes to myself I could have made him a dozen blankets by now, but that’s a post for another day.)

I decided to make a little pinwheel quilt using some fabric that I bought quite several months ago. It’s probably a little babyish for him now, but he says he likes it, so I’m using it! It’s perfect, too, because it’s a dark and a light fabric, perfect for a pinwheel!

Step 1) Pick out 2 fabrics that compliment each other, one dark and light. (Of course you can use more than 2 colors, but if you’re new to quilting, I think it’s easiest to start this way, but you can do whatever you want.)

**To make your pinwheel block, you’re going to need to do Steps 2-8 TWICE! (So you’ll do step 2 two times, step 3 two times and so on.) Just scroll down and read through the instructions to understand why.**

Step 2) Next, cut a square out of your dark fabric and a square out of your light fabric. (I cut my blocks in 3.5 inch squares.)

Step 3) Take one block of each fabric and place them right sides together.

Step 4) Draw a line diagonally down the middle of the square. Make sure it goes straight down the middle by lining up your quilting ruler the way I did in the picture. Notice where the arrows are pointing in the picture below. The corners should line up exactly.

(Just a little trick I’ve learned. That white under the fabric is the non-slip stuff you buy to put in your kitchen cabinets. I just cut a small square and use it when I have to write on fabric because it helps keep fabric from shifting.)

You’ll need to keep your hand on the ruler to prevent it from slipping and it doesn’t matter when type of marker or pen you use to draw your line because you’re just going to be cutting straight down it anyway. (So don’t worry about using disappearing ink or anything.)

This is what your block will look like with the line.

Step 5) Sew a line 1/4″ from both sides of the line you drew.

To help keep my lines straight, I drew a quarter inch line on my sewing machine foot with with a permanent marker.

Line up the line you drew on your fabric with the quarter inch mark on you drew on your foot.  Then sew.

If my captions in the picture above need more explanation, when I first started sewing, my instinct was to watch my needle, but it’s too late to make changes to the way your feeding your fabric through if you’re staring at the needle. If you watch the fabric as you feed it under your foot, you’ll do better. ┬áThe arrow in the picture above shows where to watch your fabric. If your line on the fabric is lined up exactly with the 1/4 line you on your foot, your lines should be perfect!

Step 6) After you’ve sewn your 2 lines, cut straight down the line you drew.

Now your fabric should look like this.

Step 7) Iron your blocks open. I always iron my seams towards the darker fabric.

Step 8) Your blocks will have little tails. Just trim those right off. (This step isn’t 100% necessary, I just don’t like working with those little tails.)

**Remember! You should have done Steps 2-8 twice to be able to continue on with Step 9.**

Step 9) Arrange your blocks into a pinwheel pattern. It’s easier just to look at my picture than for me to attempt to write an explanation that would probably confuse you! Just play with your blocks until you get it right.

Step 10) Fold your blocks over to prepare them to sew. I folded mine from left to right. (Right sides together!)

If you’re looking at your block, you’re going to want to sew down the left side.

Step 11) Sew together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Step 12) Iron seams open.

Now you should have something like this.

Step 13) Fold over, putting right sides together.

Step 14) Sew your line. (1/4′ seam allowance)

Step 15) Iron. (again!)

Ta daa!! You’re done! You should have a cute little pinwheel block.

This particular block, while very cool-looking, has lots of steps that can make it seem tedious, but there are some things you can do to make it go a little faster. For one, you could simply make big blocks, meaning you have to do each step fewer times. You would follow these steps exactly, just start with 6 inch blocks maybe.

This quilt is going to me small, just a lap quilt for a 5 year old, so I wanted small blocks.

I’m planning on creating posts that will take you through step by step the entire quilt I’m making, so I’ll show you what I do to make it not take quite so much time. I will let you know as soon as I’m done!

 

Here you go, this one might save you a little time if you use the tips and how I made the pinwheel quilt top.

Have fun!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] First, make 42 pinwheel blocks using this technique. [...]

  2. [...] one specifically applies to my pinwheel block tutorial. Don’t just cut one block at a time. Cut as many as you can get under your quilt [...]

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