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Shoofly Quilt Block Pattern

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Shoofly quilt block tutorial

Skill Level:  Beginner

Grid:  3x3

The Shoofly quilt block is a terrific block for the beginner quilter because it contains only half square triangles and cut squares.

A cameleon quilt block because several are based on this very simple structure.

You may know this block by one of several other names:

  • Simplicity
  • Fence Row Quilt
  • Eight Cornered Box

Click the underlined names above for more traditional versions of the block.

On this page you'll find the instructions to make this block in 5 different sizes, along with several variations on the design itself.

General Instructions

Shoofly quilt block design drawing

Sample Block Size: 4-1/2"

Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangle

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



Two 2-3/8"(2-5/8") squares**    
Four 2" squares

Two 2-3/8"(2-5/8") squares**
One 2" square

Cut the patches for the Shoofly quilt block

Step 2: Assemble the units

Half Square Triangles

Make 4

Use the Quick Pieced technique to make these units. (Click here for more detailed instructions for this technique.)

Draw a diagonal line on the backs of the two light 2-3/8" triangles with a pencil just dark enough to see.

With RST, layer a dark and a light large square together and stitch on both sides of the drawn line. Repeat for the second pair.

Stitch on both sides of the drawn line

The arrow points to an anchor cloth.

Cut the patches apart on the drawn line to create 4 HSTs.

Cut the HSTs apart on the drawn line


Trim to size—2" square for this 4-1/2" finished sample block.

Your half square triangles look like this.

Trimmed HST units ready for the block

Step 3: Assemble your Shoo Fly block

Lay out your patches in rows.

Lay out the sewn units and cut squares

Stitch the units in each row together.

Press flat to set the seam and then SAs toward the solid square. (See the arrows in the diagram below.)

Press the seam allowances away from the HST

Stitch the rows together. The SAs nest to help make matching them pretty easy. Do use pins if you need them.

Nest the seam allowances to match the seams

Your finished Shoofly quilt block looks like this...

The finished Shoofly quilt block

...all ready for piecing into your next quilt project.

Common Variations on a Shoofly Quilt Block

The unifying element in each is a HST in each corner.

Snowball quilt block design


Two colors form the snowball with a third fabric, a background, finishes out the corners.

Snowball Variation

This time with just two fabrics with dark corners and center.

Snowball quilt block variation

Grandmother's Choice

This Shoofly quilt block is drawn on a 5x5 grid, sometimes called an uneven 9-patch. Still a two fabric block the corner units are twice as wide as the side center units.

Big O

This two color block changes up the construction just a bit. Four rectangles with connector corners are puzzle pieced around a center square using a piecing technique called 'partial seams'.

We used this piecing technique in the Double Star Quilt Block.

Big O quilt block

Click here to learn how to make 'Big O'.

Cutting Chart for Other Block Sizes

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

Finished Block Size
Light41-1/2” 2-1/2”3”3-1/2”
Trim HSTs to...1-1/2”2-1/2”3”3-1/2”
Grid Size1”2”2-1/2”3”

Other blocks are called 'Shoofly',  too...

...and quite a few others, in fact!

We've listed them here with the other block that carries the same name. Underlined names are links to instructions for that alternate version of the block.

Ohio Star quilt block aka Shoofly

Ohio Star or...

  • Eastern Star
  • Eight Point Design
  • Eight Point star
  • Lone Star
  • Star
  • Texas
  • Texas Star
  • Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too

Click here to learn to make an 'Ohio Star'.

Square in a Square

Square in a Square quilt block aka Shoofly

Churn Dash quilt block aka Shoofly

Churn Dash

Broken Plate, Double Monkey Wrench, Double T, Dragon's Head, Fisherman's Reel, Hens and Chickens, Hole in the Barn Door, Indian Hammer, Joan's Doll Quilt, Lincoln's Platform, Love Knot, Ludlow's Favorite, Old Mill Design, Picture Frame, Puss in the Corner, Quail's Nest, Sherman's March, Wrench

Path and Stiles

Far West
Stiles and Paths

Path and Stiles quilt block aka Shoofly

Click here to learn to make 'Path and Stiles'.

Corn and Beans quilt block aka Shoofly

Duck and Ducklings

Corn and Beans
Fox and Geese
Hen and Chickens
Handy Andy
Wild Goose Chase

Learn to make 'Duck and Ducklings'.


Eight Point All Over
Pavement Pattern
Triangles and Squares
Triangle Beauty

Alamanizer quilt block aka Shoofly

So many blocks. So little time!

Time to make more quilt blocks

The clock's ticking!

And there's more where this block came from. Just visit our Free Quilt Block Patterns library for more!

For layout and design inspiration, visit Quilt Design 101.

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Henry Glass and Co.

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