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Massachusetts Quilt Block
From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Massachusetts quilt block tutorial

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Grid: 3x3

The Massachusetts quilt block is a variation of the Ohio Star block. Using an imaginary line from the upper left to the lower right corners, each side of the block is a mirror image of the other.

For a successful block, use high contrast fabrics. For the sample block I'll use the complementary colors of blue and orange for drama.

The pieces of the Massachusetts block are very basic, but it does get a bit confusing when you're ready to stitch the block together. Quite frankly it looks like a mess until all the seams are sewn.

But we won't let that stop us. Let's get to the quilting!

Construction Instructions

Massachusetts quilt block design

Block Size: 7-1/2" (8" unfinished)

Grid size: 2-12"

All seam allowances (SA) 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 sizes for this Massachusetts quilt block.

Step 1: Cutting

Cut your quilt patches

Patches are cut based on the Quick Pieced method for HST and the Sandwich technique for QST.

I prefer to use over-sized squares for both quarter and half square triangles, stitch the unit and then trim to the perfect size. QST patches are marked with ***, HST patches are marked with **. The measurement in () is the actual size I cut these squares.



Two 3-3/4"(4") squares***
Two 3-3/8"(3-5/8") squares**
One 3" square

Two 3-3/4"(4") squares***
Two 3-3/8"(3-5/8") squares**
One 3" square

Cut patches for your Massachusetts quilt block

Step 2: Assemble the units

Draw a diagonal line on the back of all four light (orange) squares.

Half Square Triangles

Make 3 - There will be one leftover unit

With RST, layer a light and a dark 3-3/8" square and stitch 1/4" from both sides of your drawn line.

Stitch on each side of the drawn line for both pairs

Cut apart on the drawn line.

Cut the sewn units apart on the drawn line

Press with the seam allowances toward the darker fabric.

If you've used over-sized patches, trim these triangle squares to 3" square. You will not need one of them, put it aside for another block.

Trim just 3 of the HSTs and save the fourth

For more detailed information on this Quick Piecing technique click here.

Quarter Square Triangles

With RST, layer a light and a dark 3-3/4" square and stitch 1/4" from both sides of the drawn line.

Cut each unit apart on the drawn line and press, with seam allowances towards the dark fabric. Voila! You've just made four half-square triangle units...the first step!

On two of these HST patches, draw a diagonal line that bisects the seam allowance.

Mark the second diagonal line for the QST units

With RST, layer a marked and an unmarked unit and, again, stitch 1/4" from both sides of the line.

Stitch on both sides of the drawn line...again

Notice how the seam allowance points into the presser foot. That
helps to keep the seams matched when I'm not using pins for the job.

Cut apart on the drawn line and press. This time, twirl or spin the seam allowances to reduce bulk in the center of the quarter square triangle (below, right).

Twirl the seam allowance to reduce bulk

If you started with over-sized patches, trim all four QSTs to 3" square. Place the intersection of the 1-1/2" horizontal and vertical line over the center of the QST to trim. 1-1/2" is the midpoint.

For more detailed information on this 'sandwich' method of piecing quarter square triangles and for trimming instructions, click here.

Step 3: Assemble your Massachusetts quilt  block

Lay out the sewn patches and cut squares...remember each side is a mirror image of the other across the diagonal line.

The left and bottom edges of the block are the light (orange fabric) edges of the sewn patches; the top and right are framed by the dark (blue fabric) sides of the patches.

Arrange the patches for the block

Stitch the patches into rows double checking that they are in the correct order. You may need to rotate a sewn patch 180 degrees in order to get the seam allowances to nest for easier matching.

Stitch the units into rows

Press with seam allowances away from the QST-units.

Stitch the rows together.

You may need to reposition a seam allowance or two on the quarter squares as I did. Rotate the patch first to see if that works. Then simply press the long seam in the opposite direction. Easy Peasy!

This is your finished Massachusetts quilt block ready to be pieced into your quilt!


Cutting Chart for Other Block Sizes

If you'd like to over-size your half- and quarter-square triangle patches, they are marked with a ** and ***, respectively.

All the shapes in chart below are squares.

Finished Block Size
Fabric Qty 4-1/2” 6” 9” 12”
Light*** 2 2-3/4” 3-1/4” 4-1/4” 5-1/4”
Light** 2 2-3/8” 2-7/8” 3-7/8” 4-7/8”
Light 1 2” 2-1/2” 3-1/2” 4-1/2”
Dark*** 2 2-3/4” 3-1/4” 4-1/4” 5-1/4”
Dark** 2 2-3/8” 2-7/8” 3-7/8” 4-7/8”
Dark 1 2” 2-1/2” 3-1/2” 4-1/2”
Trim HST to... 2” 2-1/2” 3-1/2” 4-1/2”
QST Midpoint for trimming 1” 1-1/4” 1-3/4” 2-1/4”
Grid Size 1-1/2” 2” 3” 4”

Ready for 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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