Brave World Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Pattern 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...

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

On this page you'll find:

If you find this tutorial helpful, please 'Like' it at the bottom of this page.

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

If you need help printing this page, click here

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

Grid: 4x4

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
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
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" ---

These are some of my favorite tools and supplies for preparing and cutting fabric.

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


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


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


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!

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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 the majority of the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of 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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