Amish Squares Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library

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An Amish Squares quilt block is one of many variations on the Courthouse Steps patchwork design.

It's quicker to piece than a standard Log Cabin because you can add patches (logs) to two opposite sides before having to jump up to press. This makes for much faster piecing without sacrificing accuracy. 

General Instructions

A couple abbreviations are used in this lesson to make an Amish Squares block. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together

1/4" SA are used through this tutorial. 

When instructed to press, first press the patches in the closed position just as they came off your sewing machine. This sets the seam, melding the fibers of the threads into the fibers of the fabric.

At this point the SA can be pressed either: 

  1. Out from the center to avoid bulk, or
  2. Open, as I did with the sample to avoid both bulk and shadowing

Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow like this throughout the tutorial to make them easy to find.

There are two articles on the site that may be of interest to you:

Let's cut up and sew!

2022's New Quilt Fabrics ~ Get ready to drool!

Click the images below to see the full collection and any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them (for inspiration, of course!)

Step 1: Cutting an Amish Squares

Amish Squares patchwork designAmish Squares design

Sample Size: 7" finished / 7-1/2" unfinished

Grid: 7x7

Design Type: Log Cabin

Please label all your patches. We refer to their numbers throughout this tutorial.

To print a copy of just the block design here and cutting chart below to use at your cutting table, click here.

I've used a creamy Moda Fabrics Grunge for my light fabric.

Do you have any Grunge in your stash? It's become a staple in mine.

You can find a variety of Grunge fabrics (yardage and precuts) here and here. (These links open in new windows to make it easier to come back to this spot in the tutorial.)

The turquoise is from, I believe, an older line from Craftsy.

If you love working with precuts (and who doesn't?) the 10-1/2" version is Honey Bun friendly. The 14-1/2" design is Jelly Roll friendly.

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Cutting Chart for an
Amish Squares Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
7" 10½" 14"
1 Med 1 1½'' x 1½'' 2" x 2" 2½'' x 2½''
2 Light 2 1½'' x 1½'' 2" x 2" 2½'' x 2½''
3 Light 2 1½'' x 3½'' 2" x 5" 2½'' x 6½''
4 Med 2 1½'' x 3½'' 2" x 5" 2½'' x 6½''
5 Med 2 1½'' x 5½'' 2" x 8" 2½'' x 10½''
6 Dark 2 1½'' x 5½'' 2" x 8" 2½'' x 10½''
7 Dark 2 1½'' x 7½'' 2" x 11" 2½'' x 14½''
Unfinished Block Size 7½" 11" 14½"
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2"

Step 2: Stitch up an Amish Squares quilt block

With RST add a #2 square to the left and right sides of #1. (The red arrow points to my 'spider'—a scrap piece of fabric that I start my stitching on. The first stitch on to the cut patches is so much nicer that way.)

Adding the first #2 to the center #1 squareAdding the darker #1 to a lighter #2.

Choose your pressing method for your SAs—either away from the #1 square or open. In this sample, the SAs are open to eliminate bulk and to prevent the darker fabric from shadowing through the lighter one.

Shadowing can happen where you add a light patch to a darker one and the patches are pressed toward the lighter fabric. 

By pressing the seams open (shown below) we won't need to worry about shadowing. There's never a dark seam allowance directly below a lighter patch. 

The SA is pressed openNow I'll add the second #2 to the opposite side. I find it easier to get those first few seams pressed open right after they're stitched instead of waiting to do it after both #2s are sewn.

Add a #3 to each long side of the #2/#1/#2 unit. If your seam allowance is exact, these patches will match exactly.

Adding the first #3So far, so good! The sewn patches (#2/#1/#2) are exactly the same size as #3.

If not, adjust your seam allowance now to make the rest of the block effortless to piece.

Press.

Add the 2nd #3Pins are your friends when trying to keep edges, especially small edges, aligned.

Use the chart below to check the accuracy of your stitching before proceeding to the next round of logs. 

Block Dimensions During Construction
(Cut edge to cut edge)

Finished
Amish Squares
Block Size
After adding...
Patch #3 Patch #5 Patch #7
7" 3 1/2" 5 1/2" 7 1/2"
10 1/2" 5" 8" 11"
14" 6 1/2" 10 1/2" 14 1/2"

Here's our Amish Squares from the front after completing the first round.

Patches #1, #2 and #3 are done

Continue with the next round of logs.

With RST, add a #4 to opposite sides that contain both #2 and #3 patches—the first log in a new round is always added to a pieced side, not a solid cut side. 

Now that the block is a bit bigger, it's easy to pin the patches for both sides at one time (if you're a pinner, like me).

Both #4s are pinned at the same time

Press.

With RST, add a #5 to the two remaining opposite sides.

Press.

Two rounds complete! One left to go.

After #4 and #5 are sewnDon't forget to check your accuracy. Right sized blocks are so much easier to put together in a quilt.

The #6 and #7 patches are added in the same manner.

One final press.

Can you see how adding a log to both sides before needing to press makes this version of a Log Cabin so much quicker to piece?

It's one of my favorite block-types to make when in need of some mindless sewing time to unwind!

Here is our finished Amish Squares from the front...

Our finished Amish Squares sample

...and from the back so you can see the final result of pressing the seams open. 

Amish Square from the backside with the seams pressed open

When they're pressed open like this, you never have to worry about dark fabrics shadowing through lighter ones. 

And there's less bulk overall.

Well worth the effort, IMHO.

More about Log Cabin quilt patterns...

If you love Log Cabin quilts, there's lots more about this favorite pattern here on the website. Use the links below to find YOUR new favorites.

If you need a different size block...

For a list of all the quilt block patterns on this site, start here.

If you know the name of the block, you can shorten your search by using these alphabetical links:

A-D

E-M

N-Z

Click here if you're looking for blocks with at least some paper piecing.

Click here if you're looking for the basic building blocks of quilting, i.e. Flying Geese, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, etc., along with several techniques to make each.

And finally, use these links to find blocks in these finished sizes:

For even more blocks to make...

Click here to learn about my favorite quilt book resources that inspire my patchwork designs.

For you, are quilt block patterns like potato chips?

You can't have just one?!!

Check the fantastic resources I rely on for the majority of the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of a spot in YOUR quilting library, read about them HERE.

NOTE: All the attribution and alternate names shared in the Free Quilt Block Patterns Library came from these four resources.

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