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Pinwheel Quilt Tutorial (Using 2 Fabrics + Sashing)

If you want to make a pinwheel quilt like the one above, here are the directions. The finished size is 43.5 x 50.5.

This is a 2 part tutorial, and today’s post is for the quilt top. I should have the finished quilt post up in about a week.

~ Just a little aside, I made this for my 5 year old son and he loves it, (trains!) but I don’t think there’s nearly enough contrast in the fabrics. My next one will have more. I said that to tell you that you might like yours more if you have more contrast, but if you just want to use fabric that you have, (like I did) go for it! 🙂 ~

Ok, so……

Here’s the fabric you’ll need.

1 yard light fabric
1 yard dark fabric
1 yard white fabric OR a Jelly Roll (I used a jelly roll.)
1.5 yards fabric for backing
1 package crib batting
.5 yard fabric for binding

Note, you will have some scraps left over, especially with your light and dark fabrics. You might get away with a little less fabric but I, personally, like having fabric left over rather than worrying if I’m going to run out. But then, I’m always making mistakes and redoing things, so I need plenty!

(And I’m not talking about the backing or binding in this post, but I used the same fabric for both. You could think about using your scraps for your binding.)

First, make 42 pinwheel blocks using this technique.

After your blocks are completed, cut 36 strips of 5″ x 2.5″ white fabric. (The strips should be 5″ long and 2.5″ wide.)

Then pin the white strips to the bottoms of 36 of the blocks. So, leave 6 blocks without a white strip on the bottom.

After pinning, sew the white strips to the blocks. You might want to use chain piecing to speed it up just a little.

Iron the seams flat. (As usual, I ironed my seams toward the darker fabric.)

Next, take 2 blocks  and line up the bottom of one (the bottom has the white strip) with the top of another block. (the top doesn’t have a white strip)

Now, place the blocks right sides together. Make sure you’re sewing the bottom of one block to the top of the other. You’ll repeat this step until you have a strip that is 7 blocks long.

(If you need a little more explanation, once you complete the step above, you’ll have 2 blocks sewn together. Now take a new block, line up the top of it with the bottom of the piece you just made and sew them together. Now you’ll have 3 blocks sewn together. Continue until you have 7. I hope that didn’t confuse you!)

You’ll make 6 strips that are 7 blocks long. If that doesn’t make sense, here’s a picture.

Now, you’ll make your sashing. (If you don’t know what sashing is, look in the very first picture in this post. The sashing is the white strips that separate the quilt blocks. I love sashing b/c, in my opinion, it hides mistakes so well. It kind if disguises quilt blocks that aren’t lined up perfectly.)

You can make your own sashing by cutting strips out of yardage or you can do like me, and just buy a jelly roll. If you don’t know what a jelly roll is, here’s a pic for ya.

Your sashing should be 46.5″ x 2.5″. Each strip of fabric in my jelly roll was about 43″ x 2.5 so I needed one whole piece from my jelly roll plus about a 5 inch piece to make each piece of sashing. (I purposely made them a little too long b/c it’s easy to trim edges, but not so easy to add them.) If you’re not using a jelly roll, just cut strips the right width and length from your yardage.

Sew them together.

After ironing the seams so they’re nice and flat, pin one piece of sashing to the right side of each strip.  (right sides together!) Also pin a piece of sashing to the left side of your first strip. You’ll see why if you scroll down a couple of pictures. It’s easier to tell you to look at a picture than to explain with words.

Now sew the sashing to the strips.

You should end up with this. (I took this picture after ironing my seams flat.) Note that I also sewed a piece of sashing on the left side of my Strip 1. 

Now, you’ll sew Strip 1 to Strip 2, Strip 2 to3, 3 to 4, 4 to 5 and 5 to 6. (Don’t forget to iron your seams.)

I forgot to take a picture of this next part, but it’s pretty simple. Take a piece of your sashing and sew it to the right and left sides of the quilt top to finish it. If you need help, just look at the picture below, pretend that the strips are already sewn together and that the red lines are the sashing.

If you’re making a quilt exactly the size as this one, you’re sashing will be a little too long. Just sew it on and trim the excess.

And you should be done with the quilt top!

See what I mean about not enough contrast? I knew that would happen, but oh well. The little recipient likes it! You could use this same procedure with any type of quilt block, really, if you wanted to play around with your fabric. I have a 9 patch tutorial that might look cute in a quilt like this. And 9 patches are also great if you’re pretty new to quilting. You’ll get lots of practice with cutting and measuring and they look great, I think.

And don’t be afraid to experiment. If you want to make this same quilt bigger or smaller, just make more/less blocks. The only thing I would do would be to sketch it out first to make sure it’s proportionate.

Updated to add: It’s finally finished, and it got two thumbs up from it’s 5 year old owner. Go here to see the finished product!


  1. […] this quilt is a small one, I made it for my 5 year old, so the smallish size made it easier. I’m going to try it with a bigger quilt (if I ever get […]

  2. […] you follow along with my tutorials, be aware that I cut it close with the backing. It works, but there is absolutely no fabric to […]

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

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