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Mrs. Brown's Choice Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Skill Level: Beginner

The Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block, while complex looking, is made from basic quilting units: the half square triangle, a square in a square (sometimes called a 'diamond in a square') and a solid center square.

Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block tutorial

It is constructed from two fabrics and classified as a 3x3 grid or nine patch design.

You may know it by an alternate name, either 'Saw Tooth Patchwork' or 'Another Sawtooth' are common.

On this page you'll find instructions for making this block, free downloads of the paper pieced square in a square unit in the block, as well as several color variations using this block's structure. To wrap things up, a short video pairing this with an alternate block to create a stunning quilt.

Construction Instructions

These instructions are for a 9" finished Mrs. Brown's choice quilt block.

The layout of the block is to the right.

The square in a square units are paper pieced in the example block for accuracy.

A connector corner method is also included should you prefer not to paper piece.

Step 1: Cut the fabric patches

Hand dyed fabrics are used in the sample block: a blue stripe and a mottled orange. The stripe is cut so that all the stripes run in the same direction throughout the block.

Center square:

  • Cut one 3-1/2" orange square

Half square triangle units:

  • Cut two 3-7/8" squares** from the blue stripe
  • Cut two 3-7/8" squares** from the orange

**NOTE: I prefer to cut over-sized squares and then cut the triangles down to size after stitching. I cut these squares each 3/8" bigger or 4-1/4" square.

Square in a square units:

Cutting instructions for both paper piecing and connector corner methods is listed below. Choose one or the other.

Paper piecing:

  • Cut one 2-5/8" square of orange
  • Cut two 2-7/8" squares of blue stripe, subcut once on the diagonal

OR for...

Connector Corners:

  • Cut one 3-1/2" square of orange
  • Cut four 2" squares of blue

Step 2: Assemble the units

Half Square Triangle Units (HST)

Half square triangle unit

Draw a line diagonally from corner to corner on one set of squares (I chose the blue ones).

With directional fabrics, like this stripe, if you want the design running all in the same direction, draw one line with the stripes vertical and one with them horizontal.

Mark a diagonal sewing line in chalk

Now layer a marked blue square with an orange one, right sides together and stitch 1/4" inch away from the drawn line on both sides.

Helpful Hint

Once you've layered your squares, give them a quick press. This helps keep them from slipping while you sew.

Stitch on both sides of the drawn line

Cut along the drawn line to create two units. Press flat to set the seams. Then press the unit open with the seam allowance towards the dark side (blue stripe).

Lay the 45 degree line of your ruler along the seam line and trim to size. This trim removes the dog ears, too.

Trim the half square triangle unit to size

Repeat with the other pair of squares to create a total of four 3-1/2" HST units.

Square in a square unit

Square in a Square Units

You'll need Adobe Reader (the latest version is recommended) installed on your computer in order to open and print the square in a square units. You can get Adobe Reader here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page) if you need it.

Click here for our free downloadable pattern for the 3" finished unit.

In order to print, open the downloaded file, and select the "Print" option.

Remember, you must set 'page Scaling' to 'None' in your printer's setup menu to ensure these blocks print at the proper size.

Use the links below, for instructions how to make a square in a square unit:

Step 3: Assemble the block

Using the picture below, assemble the units into three rows. The first and third row are the same.

Press the seam allowances away from the square in a square units in all the rows as indicated by the arrows.

Join the rows of the Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block

Join the rows together. Press these two seams toward the center of the block.

And this is the finished Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block...

The finished Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block

Common Variations

Several others share the same basic construction as the Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block—with slight changes to the units:

Five Spot

Five Spot quilt block design

This three fabric quilt block design adds a square to each corner.


Cross and Chains

Cross and Chains quilt block design

Four patches are added to the center of the diamond in a square unit. The squares radiate out from the center.

A scrappy version of this quilt block is found in the Oh My Gosh quilt. In that quilt the half square triangle units finished at 1-1/2". (No, that's not a typo! :D )


Richmond quilt block design

In this final variation, we swap the medium for a dark in the four patch units and then rotate them a quarter turn so the four patches create a ring.

This variation is also known as: Aunt Vina's Favorite, Pin Wheel, Butterfly or Lucy's Four and Nine.

And finally, it's just plain fun to play with color placements to come up with your own version of the Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block.

And now a little color play...

Add some Pizazz!

In the short video below, I've paired this Mrs. Brown's Choice quilt block with a 54-40 or Fight block with spectacular results. Take a look!

Looking for another block?

Visit our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library to find more patchwork pretties to tempt you!

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