From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
The Baton Rouge quilt block is a breeze to stitch up with half square triangles sewn 8-at-a-time. Add a pinch of strip piecing.
Your patchwork is finished before you know it.
In this tutorial you'll find:
It's time to cut up and sew!
Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:
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.
Then press the SA to the dark unless otherwise noted.
Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow throughout this tutorial.
For instructions to print this whole tutorial page, click here.
Sample Block Size:
Three fabrics with nice contrast are needed to complete your Baton Rouge block.
Remember to label all your patches. We'll refer to their numbers in each step.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||Light||1||4 1/4" x 4 1/4"||5 1/4" x 5 1/4"||6 1/4" x 6 1/4"|
|2||Dark||1||4 1/4" x 4 1/4"||5 1/4" x 5 1/4"||6 1/4" x 6 1/4"|
|3, 6||Light||9||1 1/2" x 1 1/2"||2" x 2"||2 1/2" x 2 1/2"|
|4||Dark||4||1 1/2" x 7"||2" x 9"||2 1/2" x 11"|
|5||Med||4||1 1/2" x 7"||2" x 9"||2 1/2" x 11"|
|Unfinished Block Size||5 1/2"||8"||10 1/2"|
|Grid Size||1"||1 1/2"||2"|
My go-to thread for all my piecing is...
We use the 8-at-a-time method to make our half square triangles. Very efficient.
If you plan to make a lot of blocks, you may want to use another HST method like triangle paper.
On the backside of either the #1 or #2 square (whichever one it's easier to see on) draw a diagonal line from each pair of opposite corners.
Layer the #1 and #2, RST.
Stitch 1/4" away from both sides of both lines for a total of four seams.
Press flat to set the seams.
From the table below, find the Center or Midpoint Measurement that corresponds with your block's finished size.
|Trim HST to…|
|5"||2 1/8"||1 1/2" x 1 1/2"|
|7 1/2"||2 5/8"||2" x 2"|
|10"||3 1/8"||2 1/2" x 2 1/2"|
At your cutting mat, align this Center Measurement with the side of your block (blue arrow) and cut through the center (red arrow) to cut your block in half.
Turn your mat a quarter turn without disturbing the patches.
Again, align the same mark on your ruler with the edge of your block and cut through the center again.
At this point you should have four equal (or pretty darned close) squares.
Since we started with over-sized patches, if these are 'perfect' squares, don't worry. We've got a bit of wiggle room.
Cut these squares in half on the drawn line (blue arrow above) to create the 8 HST.
Press the units open with SA to the dark.
Refer once again to the table to find the 'Trim HST to...' size and trim to perfection. For our sample they're trimmed to 2-1/2" x 2-1/2".
Repeat for all eight HSTs.
Now for the #1/#2/#3 patches. We'll be making 4 each of a mirror- imaged unit first.
With RST stitch a #3 to the right side of a HST as shown below. The SA is pressed toward #3 to reduce bulk.
Repeat for a total of 4.
This time, with RST add the #3 to the left side of the HST, again pressing the SA toward #3.
To complete the corner units, join one of each #1/#2/#3 together as shown below.
SA are pressed toward the top row so that your seams will nest when you assemble the block.
Make a total of four.
We'll use a bit of strip piecing to create the sides for our Baton Rouge block.
In my humble opinion, it's more efficient and accurate than piecing individual squares together.
Press with the SA toward the medium #5 patch (the white/orange/yellow/blue fabric in our sample.
From the table below, find the StripSet Width that corresponds to your Finished Block Size.
|Stripset Width after stitching||SubCut Width|
|5"||2 1/2"||1 1/2"|
|7 1/2"||3 1/2"||2"|
|10"||4 1/2"||2 1/2"|
Check that your stitched stripset width is accurate. Make adjustments as needed.
Straighten one short end of your #4/#5 strip by lining up your ruler with the seam line (blue arrow). Trim away just a slight bit—less than a 1/4" is all it takes.
Find the SubCut Width that goes with your block and cut four segments. For our 10" sample, that width is 2-1/2".
Here they are after cutting.
Arrange the corners, sides and center patch to create the Baton Rouge design.
A dark #2 HST is in each corner.
With RST, stitch the units in each row together.
Finally stitch the rows together and give your block one final pressing.
This is the finished Baton Rouge quilt block.
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
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!