3D Bow Tie Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

The 3D Bow Tie quilt block tutorial begins here...

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 2x2, 4-patch

This 3D Bow Tie quilt block is seriously ADORKABLE!

Is it hard?

I'm a frayed knot!

Five equal-sized squares and a simple twist is all it takes. A perfect block for the beginning quilter who wants to add little whimsy to her blocks.

There's 'knotting' to it.

Let's get started!

General Instructions

These abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together

All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".

We'll finger press the SA during construction and hold off on the iron until the very end. Starching your quilt fabric makes it so much easier to finger press as you go.

Step 1: Cutting

3D Bow Tie quilt block design

No cutting chart needed for this block, just a simple formula.

Finished Block Size ÷ 2

Then add 1/2" for seam allowances

Bow Tie Fabric: Cut 3    Background: Cut 2

For our tutorial, I chose a 5" finished block. Using the formula...

5" ÷ 2 = 2-1/2"

2-1/2" + 1/2" = 3"

And these are the cut patches; 3 red for the Bow Tie and 2 red/white for the background.

The needed patches for our 3D Box Tie

Step 2: Assembling the 3D Bow Tie quilt block

For the knot, lightly fingerpress one Bow Tie square in half, wrong sides together. You may want to use pins to hold the edges even.

NOTE: If you press a hard crease here, it will run diagonally through the center of the finished knot...a pain to have to press out at the end.

Fold one bow tie fabric square in half, right sides together

Align the cut edges with those of a background square. Pin to hold them even.

Pin the folded knot square to a background square

With RST, add a bowtie square to the top. Pin to hold things together. The black arrow points to where the folded edge is.


Stitch the side that has the folded edge in the middle of it.

Fingerpress the SA toward the darker fabric.

This is what the three patches sewn together look like. A bit unruly, but we'll get there.

I re-pinned to hold the knot fabric together. The first two patches are folded back out of the way.

Fold back the first two patches from the folded knot square

Layer the remaining short side of the knot between the second pair of squares. Remember that each pair of like-colored squares is diagonal to each other in the finished block.

It's helpful to fold back the first pair of squares as shown in the picture below.

Arranging the patches to stitch

Layer the final patch, RST, and pin.

Adding the final patch

Stitch the side with the folded edge, again fingerpressing the SA towards the darker fabric.

Here is our block so far.

The patches before sewing the final seam

Pretty weird looking, right?!

Now comes the twist.

Pin the end of the two pairs of patches together, red to white. The pins act like an extra set of hands. The knot-square forms a little pouch in the center.

The knot square forms a little pouch

Distribute the pouch as evenly as possible on both sides of the seam allowances. Line up the all the cut edges as neatly as possible. Pin, nesting the SAs of the pairs of patches.

It'll be lumpy. That's OK.

Ready for the final seamIt won't want to lay flat.


Finally you can press the SAs of your 3D Bow Tie with your iron. I prefer to just steam my knot instead of pressing it. The pressing 'smushes' and creases it. But that choice is yours!

I also like to twirl my four-patch seam allowances to distribute the bulk like this.

The back of the 3D Bow Tie quilt block

This is your finished 3D Bow Tie quilt block. Easy Peasey!

The finished 3D Bow Tie quilt block

If you enjoyed this 3D block...

...you may want to try our 3D, one seam Flying Geese quilt block. Click here to go there now.

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

For even more blocks to make...

These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

Can you see the library sticker on the spine of Jinny Beyer's book? Yep. I check this copy out of our local library every few months for research.

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite quilt block resource!

Can you tell?

It's in color.

It's got a ton of blocks.

What's not to love?

Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.

This book is no longer in print.

If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.

UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020. 

However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.

BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.

It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.

In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.

UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.

This is terrific news.

Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.

Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.


Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.

And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!

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