Brave World Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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The Brave World quilt block—a variation of a Pinwheel— is a three fabric patchwork design made from one unit repeated four times and rotated a quarter turn as it makes its way around the block.

Brave World quilt block tutorial

Skill Level: Confident beginner

Grid: 4x4

Technique: Foundation Piecing

It is used in a number of other blocks (none of which look anything like a Pinwheel) including...

Album quilt blockAlbum

'Brave World' is also known as 'Brown World'.

On this page you'll find:

Let's get busy quilting!



Hate paper piecing? Not to worry. Click here for instructions for traditional piecing techniques to make this block.






General Instructions


Sample Block Size: 6"(6-1/2" unfinished)

Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • BW - Brave World
  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangle

When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Paperpieced patches are always pressed toward the patch last added.

Sometimes I use steam; sometimes I don't. Just know that if you do, the steam has a tendency to curl the paper pattern.

I also like to use our Best Technique for Pressing Quilt Blocks. The results are the absolute flattest (even with the paper) blocks that you'll ever see.

And that's a promise!


Step 1: Download paper piecing patterns


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

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

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.

Choose your Finished Block Size from the chart below and print the number of copies needed.

Print the Brave World Paper Piecing Units

Click on the
Finished Block Size
Print
this many copies
for each block
4" 1
5" 1
6" 1
8" 2

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


Step 2: Cutting for a Brave World quilt block


Brave World quilt block designBrave World design

Three fabrics—a light, a medium and a dark are all you'll need to complete this block.

As always make sure there's enough contrast between the fabrics so that your piecing shows.

Label your patches. We refer to them throughout the tutorial.

Click here to download and print the cutting chart and block design to use at your cutting table. Use the blue cutting chart.


Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Brave World Quilt Block

~Paper Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
Cut
4" 5" 6" 8"
1 Med 4 1¾" x 1¾" 2" x 2" 2¼" x 2¼" 2¾" x 2¾" ---
2, 3 Light 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅝" x 2⅝" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
4 Dark 2 3⅜" x 3⅜" 3⅞" x 3⅞" 4⅜" x 4⅜" 5⅜" x 5⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
Unfinished Block Size 4½" 5½" 6½" 8½" ---
Grid Size 1" 1¼" 1½" 2" ---

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 3: Paperpiece the Brave World units


Cut the pattern into individual blocks. This is a rough cut, don't worry about cutting exactly on the line. You'll do that when you trim your blocks to size.

Use the dashed lines inside the block to position Patch BW-1 (turquoise). This positioning automatically creates a quarter inch seam allowance—perfect for positioning BW-2 (black&white).

I use a little dab of Elmer's Glue Stick (the kind that goes on purple and dries clear) to hold BW-1 in place.


Line up Patch 1 with the placement linesIf you think the image is curved a bit—you're right—this patch is on top of my lighted magnifying glass so that you can see the fabric! :D

With right sides together (RST), layer BW-2 with the cut edge of BW-1, aligning the edges as shown below.


Align the edges of Patch 1 and 2


Stitch starting before and ending after the solid stitching line. These stitches will be secured by the next line of stitching that crosses them.


Stitch the first seam


Press. Repeat for Patch BW-3 (black&white).


Align Patch 3 and stitch


Press.

Now we'll trim the diagonal edges to create a line to align our next patch with.

Match the edge of your ruler with the solid, diagonal line separating Patch BW-4 from the rest of the block.


Align the edge of the ruler with the seam line


Use the ruler edge to crease the pattern along this line. You will need to free some of the stitches in your seam allowance from the paper to do this. Just give them a little tug.

Fold the pattern back along this creased line.

Now align the 1/4" line of your ruler with this fold and cut with your rotary cutter.


Trim the seam allowance


You've now created a quarter inch seam allowance.

Align Patch BW-4 (red print), RST with this cut edge and stitch.


Add #4Align the cut edge of Patch 4 with the edge you just trimmed


Press.

Trim the unit to size by matching the 1/4" line on your ruler with the solid outline of the block. Cut. Repeat for the three remaining sides.



Remove the paper and press.


Step 4: Assemble your Brave World quilt block


Lay out the trimmed units. Each Brave World unit is rotated a quarter turn as you go around the block.


Arrange the unit into rows


Stitch into rows. The SAs of the HST nest making it easier to match the triangle points in the center.


Press seam allowances toward the HSTs


Press.

Stitch the two rows together. Again, the seam allowances nest making it easier to get a nice match in the center of the block.

For an even flatter center, I've twirled the seam allowances to reduce the bulk.


Twirl the seam allowances in the center


Your Brave World Quilt Block is finished!


Brave World Quilt Block is finishedOur Brave World is complete!




A variation on the color placement...


The Spinner quilt block

The Spinner

The color placement has all been switched. It looks like a basic Pinwheel quilt block decorated with rick-rack, don't you think?




Ready to Brave more Blocks?


Quilting world

Your Brave World quilt block is finished and now it's time to fill your world with all sorts of other fun blocks.

Click here for your passport to our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library!




For even more blocks to make...


These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. Click the images to learn more.


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

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.

However...


BlockBase is the computerized version of the Encyclopedia.

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




Finally there is 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.

Why?

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

It does make a fabulous coffee table book.

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