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Churn Dasher Quilt Block Pattern
From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Churn Dasher Quilt Block Pattern tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid Size: 5x5

The Churn Dasher quilt block is made all of half square triangles and cut squares.

A good block for the beginning quilter to try out a method for making half square triangles eight at a time. A great technique for every quilter to have in their 'piecing arsenal'!

The block design lends itself to a number of variations. You'll find nine further down on this page.

As always, we included instructions for several block sizes. This time including 5", 7-1/2", 10" and 12-1/2".

Let's get started with this two fabric block!

Construction Instructions

Churn Dasher quilt block design

Block Size: 10"(10-1/2" unfinished)

Grid size: 2"

All seams are 1/4".

When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Seam allowances are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.

Click here for cutting instructions for additional block sizes.

Step 1: Cut the fabric patches

I prefer starting with over-sized patches for half square triangle units. After stitching, the unit is trimmed to size. Over-sized patch dimensions are in ().


(black print)

Eight 2-1/2" squares
One 5-3/4"(6-1/4") square

Nine 2-1/2" squares
One 5-3/4"(6-1/4") square

The patches are cut for your Churn Dasher quilt block

Step 2: Assemble the units for your Churn Dasher

Half Square Triangle Units

We'll use a method that makes 8 HSTs at one time. You can find detailed instructions how to do this in our Beginner Quilt Block Patterns series under Half Square Triangles: Technique #4.

On the back of the large light square draw a pair of perpendicular lines from corner to corner to form an 'X'.

With RST, layer the large dark and light squares and stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of both lines.

Sew on both sides of both lines

The arrow points to the anchor cloth. Start your stitching on one to
stop your sewing machine from 'eating' the point of your squares.

Because I started with larger patches cut at 6-1/4", the mid-point is 3-1/8". If you cut your patches the exact dimension of 5-3/4", your mid-point is 2-7/8" or 5-3/4" divided by 2.

Cut your block in half at this midpoint both vertically and horizontally. Then cut along the drawn lines.

You now have eight HSTs. Press.

Two Patch Units

With RST, stitch one small dark square to a small light one. Press with the SA towards the dark fabric. Repeat for a total of 4 units.

Stitch 4 sets of small patches together


Layout the patches for a corner unit. (Photo 1)

Lay out the corner units patches

Photo 1

Press seam allowances

Photo 2

With RST, align the edges of a HST with a light square. Stitch and press with SA towards the light fabric. (Photo 2, top) This is the only time in this block where you press towards the light.

Take a quick check from the front of the sewn unit to make sure the darker fabric isn't shadowing through to the front. If it is, trim the seam allowance of the dark so that it is shorter than the light one.

Repeat for the HST and dark square. This time press with SA towards the dark. (Photo 2, bottom)

Sew the to sub-units together, nesting the seam allowances and pinning if needed. Press this seam towards the dark square. (Photo 3)

Press corner unit

Photo 3

Step 3: Assemble your Churn Dasher block

Lay out the pieced units.

Layout of the units and patches

Stitch into rows. Press with the SA as shown by the red arrows below.

Stitch patches into rows

Stitch the rows together.

The finished Churn Dasher quilt block is ready to be pieced into your next quilt.

The finished Churn Dasher quilt block

Cutting Chart for Churn Dasher Block Sizes

If you'd like to over-size your half square triangle patches, they are marked with a **. To make these units, we've used a technique that makes 8 at a time. Click here for a tutorial on the technique.

Finished Block Size
Light**13-3/4” 4-3/4”6-3/4”
Dark**13-3/4” 4-3/4”6-3/4”
Midpoint for cutting HSTs1-7/8”2-3/8”3-3/8”
Grid Size1”1-1/2”2-1/2”

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Common Variations

Churn Dasher quilt block design


No one was more surprised than me to see all the variations on this simple Churn Dasher quilt block drawing.

You will be, too!

And here they are...

Domino quilt block design


A two fabric version that looks completely different from the Churn Dasher quilt block, simply because of the color placement.

Farmer's Daughter

Three fabrics—a dark, a medium and a light—come together to create a star design.

Also known as: Two Crosses

Sister's Choice

Another three fabric block, with the addition of the dark squares on the sides it looks more like a bow, don't you think?

You may know it by one of its other common names: Churn Dasher quilt block, Five Patch Star,
Four & Star, 4X Star, Star and Cross

E-Z Quilt

In this variation, I'd choose to piece the brown fabrics as rectangles instead of 2 squares to simplify the piecing.

Rolling Star quilt block design

Rolling Star

The star theme continues with a reverse nine patch (the lighter patches are in the corners) in the center.

Souvenir quilt block design


Piece the center as one unit, and you've got the perfect place to display machine embroidery collections.

Click here for instructions to make this block.

Star and Cross quilt block design

Star and Cross

Simplify the piecing by using a rectangle instead of 3 patches in the very center.

Father's Choice quilt block design

Father's Choice

The star almost disappears, with the turquoise creating almost a 'tulip' design.

Nine Patch Star

Nine Patch Star

It completely transforms with this two color placement.

All those variations from the simple Churn Dasher quilt block—who knew!

Ready for Even More Blocks?

There's plenty more to keep you busy! Just check out our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library to find blocks for your next quilting creation!

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