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Old Maid's Puzzle Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 3x3

The Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block is a two fabric block built on a 3x3 grid.

All it takes are half square triangles and cut squares, which makes it a good block for bee and guild block exchanges.

You may know it by one of it's other common names:

There are a couple of variations that involve changes to the fabric placement that are shown further down on this page, as are additional cutting instructions for a total of 6 different block sizes.

Construction Instructions

Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block drawing

Block Size: 6"(6-1/2" unfinished)

Grid size: 2"

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 block sizes.

Step 1: Cut the fabric patches

I like to cut larger patches for making half square triangles and then trim the units to the exact size after stitching. I have done just that in this example. The number above in () is the actual size that I cut for the HST patches in this tutorial.


(purple print)

Three 2-1/2" squares
Three 2-7/8"(3-1/8") squares

Three 2-7/8"(3-1/8")squares

Cut patches for your Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block

Step 2: Assemble the units

Half Square Triangle Units

We'll use the Quick Pieced Method for making HSTs for this block.

On the back of each 2-7/8" square, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. I've used pen for this tutorial simply to make the lines easier to see. In 'real life' I prefer to use a mechanical pencil, marking only as dark as needed to see the line.

With RST, align the edges of one light and one dark 2-7/8" patch. Stitch a quarter inch away from both sides of the line. Repeat for the remaining two pairs.

Stitch on both sides of the drawn line

These units can be chain pieced

Cut the sewn units in two along the drawn line for a total of 6.

Cut units apart on the drawn line

Press them flat and then open with the SA towards the dark fabric.

The six HS triangles are ready for trimming. Trim to 2-1/2" square.

HSTs ready to be trimmed

Click here for more detailed instructions on the Quick Pieced Method for making these.

Step 3: Assemble the block

Lay out your pieced and cut patches.

Lay out the patches for the block

Stitch the units in each row together, pressing the SA as indicated by the arrows.

Stitch the patches into rows

Your seam allowances will nest making it easier to match your seams. Stitch the rows together, pinning if needed.

Nest your seam allowances

Your finished Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block looks like this.

A finished Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block

Common Variations

Cat's Cradle

In this version of the Old Maid's Puzzle quilt block, the light and dark fabrics are simply switched.


We've kept the light patches from Cat's Cradle, and substituted scrappy squares for the dark fabrics. A nice way to play with value and use up scraps at the same time!

This block is also called 'Jack and Six'.

Cutting Chart for Other Block Sizes

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

Finished Block Size
FabricQty3”4-1/2”7-1/2”9” 12”
Cut HSTs to...1-1/2”sq2”sq3”sq3-1/2”sq4-1/2”sq
Grid Size1”1-1/2”2-1/2”3”4”

There's More Where this Came From!

Celebrate! The quilt block is finished!

You've finished your blocks... what?

We have quilt blocks galore in multiple sizes in our Free Quilt Block Patterns library just waiting to inspire you for your next quilt.

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