At the Depot Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Get on board for the 'At the Depot' quilt block. This charming little block is can be made using the On-Point ruler or with templates. The choice is up to you.

The At the Depot quilt block tutorial begins here...

Simple Rail Fence units, half- and quarter square triangles is all it takes.

There's a cutting chart using the On-Point and your regular ruler for three block sizes below. (There's also a coloring page to download.)

If you're not a Gadget Girl, I've got your back.

It's cents-less to buy another specialty ruler just to try out a single block! There's templates to download for the same three block sizes.

If you've been quilting a while, you might also know this design as 'Railroad Crossing'.

Let's start 'At the Depot'!

General Instructions

Pin this tutorial for later
Pin 'At the Depot' tutorial for later

Common abbreviations are used throughout this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangle
  • QST - quarter square triangle
  • RF - Rail Fence units
  • OPRuler - OnPoint ruler

SA are pressed toward the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.

Starching your quilt fabric helps to tame the bias edges of the #3 and #4 patches and minimize stretch.

If you don't have an OPRuler and would like to purchase one, links are provided with the picture below.

Print the Templates (optional)

If you choose not to purchase the ruler, you can print templates for your At the Depot from the chart below. You'll need one copy.

On the Adobe Print menu, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100% before printing for accurate results. Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.

PRINT the Paper Templates

Block Size
# of
copies to print
Link to
PDF Templates
6" 1 6"
9" 1 9"
12" 1 12"

The download for the coloring page is here.

On-Point quilting ruler
Click here to purchase the On-Point Ruler from

Step 1: Cutting

At the Depot quilt block designAt the Depot design

Choose three fabrics with nice contrast.

My sample's patches are cut with the OPRuler. Learn more about it here.

In the chart below, #1, #2 and #5 (highlighted in yellow) are cut with the OPRuler. #3 and #4 (not highlighted) are cut with your standard rotary rulers.

If you downloaded templates, the quantity to cut and fabric choices are marked right on the template.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for an
At the Depot Quilt Block

~Traditional Piecing~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
6" 9" 12"
1* Light 2 1" x 16" 1½" x 24" 2" x 34" na
2* Dark 1 1" x 16" 1½" x 24" 2" x 34" na
3 Light 2 2⅜" x 2⅜" 3⅛" x 3⅛" 3⅞" x 3⅞" Symbol for a half square triangle
4 Medium 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¾" x 5¾" 7¼" x 7¼" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
5* Dark 1 3" x 3" 4½" x 4½" 6" x 6" na
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½" ---
#1, #2 and #5 are cut with the On-Point ruler for accuracy. Templates are available for you to download from the blue chart under 'Construction Instructions'. Choose which alternative works best for you and your budget. Remember to subcut #3 and #4 as directed.

Learn more about my favorite, new quilting tool, the Magic Pressing Mat. A valuable addition to your quilting tools—regardless of the piecing technique you use.

Step 2: Assembling your At the Depot units

Rail Fence units for our At the Depot blockMake 4

Using templates

If you cut your patches with templates, sew a #1 to each long side of a #2, pressing in between stitching. 

After your four units are complete, they should be the same size as Template #5. Adjust as necessary.

Using the OPRuler

If you cut with the OnPoint, then with RST, sew a #1 and #2 together along the long edge.

Sew a #1 to a #1.Love my quarter inch foot with a guide for stitching strips together!


With your OPRuler check that your strip set is the correct width using the chart below.

SubCutting Chart for At the Depot
Block Size
Width of StripSet SubCut Width
6" 3" 3"
9" 4½" 4½"
12" 6" 6"

Straighten the short edge of your stripset. Line up a line on your ruler with one of the stitching lines (red arrow) and trim off just a bit for a clean, even edge.

Clean up the edgeThe right edge of this ruler is clear and hard to see in this photo, but it is right where the cut is.

Sub cut your stripset using your OPRuler and the dimension from the chart that corresponds to your finished block's size.

For this 6" sample block, the subcut uses the 3" line on your ruler. (Remember it's the diagonal of this unit that finishes at 3". That's exactly what the On-Point measures for you.)

If you used templates, your RF are individually stitched and should measure the same size as the #5 template. Make adjustments as needed.

Subcut with your On-Point rulerUse the OPRuler to subcut patches.

You end up with four perfect RF and just a bit leftover.

Four perfect Rail Fences

From this point forward, regardless of how you cut your 'At the Depot' patches, the steps are the same.

Step 3: Stitching your At the Depot quilt block

Arrange your patches as shown below. The Rail Fences point out from the center.

Arrange the patches for the At the Depot  designArrange the At the Depot patches

To assemble your At the Depot, we'll stitch these patches into two 'corner' type rows and one center row.

First, with RST add a #4 to each #1 patch of two RF units. I like to start my stitching from the nice even edge. That way my machine doesn't crud up the points.

Add a #4 to the sides of two RF units

Press, SA toward the darker #4s.

At this point the #4 triangle are a bit longer on the pointy edge than the RF. This is correct.

Now fingerpress to mark the center (red arrow below) of the long bias edge of all four #3s.

Mark the center of the #3s with a finger pressed crease

Fingerpress a crease into the #2 patch of the two RF plus #4 units you've just stitched.

With RST, match the centers of each. Pin to hold things in place.


Add a #3 to the corner row

That little notch made by the patches (red arrow above) is right at 1/4" inch. Your stitching goes right through this point at both ends.

Below you can see it clearly. 

Trimming dog earsI've started trimming some of the dog ears (red arrow). Generally I do this as I go along.

For the center diagonal row, add a RF to two opposite sides of the center #5 patch. Remember the RF point out from the center.

Find the center of outside edge of the RF units and fingerpress to mark.

With RST, match the center of a pre-creased #3 with the center of the RFs.

Pin and stitch.

Add a #3 to the ends of the center diagonal row

Repeat of the opposite RF in this center row.

Press the SA away from the RF units.

All that's left it to stitch your rows together.

The rows are ready to be stitched together

Your finished At the Depot quilt block! Beautiful.

A completed At the Depot blockThe train has left at the station. Our At the Depot quilt block is complete!
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

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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