Aunt Dinah Quilt Block Instructions

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

The Aunt Dinah quilt block tutorial starts here.

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Grid: 6x6 (nine patch)

The Aunt Dinah quilt block looks complex, but when you break it down into its individual parts, you see it's nothing more than 3-patch quarter square triangles and Brave World units.

Paperpiecing is the technique we'll use to keep those points pointy and intersections matching perfectly.

You'll find free pattern downloads below for 6", 9" and 12" blocks.

Let's meet Aunt Dinah!

General Instructions

To press, first do it with the unit closed to set the seam. Then open the patches and press from the front to minimize the creation of a tuck in the seam allowance (SA).

If you choose to starch your fabrics (and I do!), you'll find that you can fingerpress most of your seams.

Try my favorite pressing technique, for the flattest blocks you'll ever see. It even works for paperpiecing!

Several abbreviations are used throughout this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • QST - quarter square triangle
  • BAC - background fabric

Step 1: Cut your Aunt Dinah  fabrics

Aunt Dinah block designAunt Dinah block design

Choose a 'finished size' for your Aunt Dinah block.

Then cut the patches and print the paper piecing patterns listed in the column below it in the chart. We'll be using both the 'Brave World' and 3-Patch Quarter Square Triangle paper piecing patterns to make this block.

Unless otherwise noted, print one copy of each pattern. The links to download the patterns are in the cutting chart below.

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern.

On the Adobe Print Menu page, 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.

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed pages to confirm they are printed accurately.

Click here for my review of 6 different paper piecing papers

Not sure which paper to use? 

Check out my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.

Which one will you choose?

Look for good contrast between your two fabrics so that the points don't get lost.

Some of the cut patches look very much like one another. To keep them separated, label a sheet of copy paper with 'Brave World' and the other with 'QST' and then put the associated patches on them.

Or just print an extra copy of the pattern itself to use in the same way and keep your notes on.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for an
Aunt Dinah Quilt Block

~ Paper Piecing ~

Patch Fabric QtyFinished Block Size Sub
6” 9” 12”
BW-1 A 4 1¾”x1¾” 2¼”x2¼” 2¾”x2¾” no
BAC 4 2⅜”x2⅜” 2⅞”x2⅞” 3⅜”x3⅜” Symbol for a half square triangle
BW-4 A 2 3⅜”x3⅜” 4⅜”x4⅜” 5⅜”x5⅜” Symbol for a half square triangle
QST.1 A 1 3¾”x3¾” 4¾”x4¾” 5¾”x5¾” Symbol for a quarter square triangle
QST.2 BAC 1 3¾”x3¾” 4¾”x4¾” 5¾”x5¾” Symbol for a quarter square triangle
QST.3 BAC 2 3⅜”x3⅜” 4-⅜”x4⅜” 5⅜”x5⅜” Symbol for a half square triangle
7 BAC 1 2½”x2½" 3½”x3½” 4½”x4½” no
Grid Size 2” 3” 4” --
PRINT Brave World units 2” 3” 4”, print 2 --
PRINT 3-patch QST units 2" 3" 4", print 2 --
Trim pieced units to... 2½”x2½" 3½”x3½" 4½”x4½" --
Unfinished block size 6½” sq 9½” sq 12½” sq --

Oliso Smart Iron

Step 2: Assemble the different units

Cut four units from each pattern you downloaded/printed. A rough cut will do, nothing fancy because you'll trim everything once the unit is pieced.

Brave World Units

Aunt Dinah quilt block, corner unit

Make 4

Reduce your stitch length to 15-18 stitches/inch for paper piecing. This helps make removing the paper easier.

Install an open toe applique foot (if you have one) for an unobstructed view of the stitching lines.

With a teeny dab of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick adhere the wrong side of a BW-1 patch in position on the unprinted side of the pattern. Use the dashed lines to accurately and quickly position it.

The outside edges of the fabric will extend past the dashed lines around the outside of the block on purpose.

Position BW-1Use the dashed placement lines (arrows) to easily position the patch

With right sides together (RST), align a short edge of a BW-2 patch with BW-1.

Stitch on the line between them, starting before the line begins and ending after it stops and outside of the outer dashed line. This helps secure the seams. There's no need to backstitch.

Stitch BW-2 to BW-1Begin and end your stitching outside the dashed lines


Add the background BW-3 triangle in the same manner and press.

Position Patch #3Match the edges (red arrow)

At the cutting mat, pattern side up, align the edge of your ruler with the stitching line between BW-4 and the rest of the block. Crease the paper back along this line. (You'll need to pull a few of the stitches away from the pattern—that's just fine.)

Reposition your ruler with the 1/4" mark along the fold and cut with your rotary cutter. This establishes your next placement line.

With RST align the long bias edge of BW-4 with the sewn patches. Stitch starting before and ending after the line.

Stitch BW-4 to complete the unitBegin and end your stitching past the outside edge of the block

Trim to size. (This is found in the chart at the intersection of the 'Finished Block Size' column and the 'Trim to Size' row in the Aunt Dinah block cutting chart above.

3-Patch Quarter Square Triangles (QST)

Aunt Dinah quilt block, quarter square triangle unit

Make 4

Use a dab of Elmer's glue stick to adhere the wrong side of QST.1 to the unprinted side of the pattern. 

The outside edge of the fabric is supposed to extend past the outside dashed line. The excess is trimmed later.

Postion QST-1 in placeUse the placement guides for fast and easy positioning

With RST, align the edges of a QST.2 with QST.1.

From the printed side, stitch on the line between them, starting and stopping about a 1/4" past the ends of the solid line.


Align the long bias edge of QST3 with the sewn edges (black arrow).

Stitch this seam from the printed side, starting and stopping past the dashed outline of the block. Press.

Trim to the same size as the Brave World unit.


For more detailed directions, visit Technique #4: 3-Patch Quarter Square Triangle.

This is what the two finished blocks look like. Trim any errant thread tails. Remove the paper.

The finished corner and side unitsBrave World (l), Aunt Dinah (r). Make 4 of each.

Step 3: Assemble your Aunt Dinah quilt block

Return your machine to a normal stitch length. Install your preferred quarter inch foot.

All SA for the remainder of this tutorial are 1/4".

Lay out the pieced and cut unit(s) in rows. The 3-patch quarter square triangle creates the illusion of a square-in-a-square block in the center.

Notice, too, how the diagonal seam of the quarter square triangle automatically rotates a 1/4 turn as it moves around your Aunt Dinah quilt block.

Lay out the units into rows

Stitch the units into rows. Press the SAs in these rows away from all the QSTs.

Stitch the units into rowsThe top and bottom row SAs are pressed to the corners; in the middle row they are pressed to the center.

Our finished Aunt Dinah block looks like this. Pointy, crisp and ready for a quilt!

The finished Aunt Dinah quilt block!Our Aunt Dinah block is finished!

Someone's in the kitchen with Aunt Dinah...

...cookin' up more blocks for you to make.

Find them in our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library which lists all the free blocks, instructions and downloads available to you on this website.


Share your work!

If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:

Please share your creations on social media with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns. Thank you!
  • On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns.
  • Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at

I love seeing your work!

Our readers do, too!

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... can't have just one?!!

Check the amazing resources I rely on for all the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of spot in YOUR quilting library, CLICK HERE.

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For a complete list of all the tools I personally use in my own  paper piecing, click here and read 'The Right Tools Make Any Job Easier'. This is part of a series called, "Perfect Your Paper Piecing Skills - Because paper piecing doesn't have to suck!

The serrated edge on this short-bladed scissor make it easy to trim seam allowances—my all-time favorite scissor.

For other sizes, click here.

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