Brave World Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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Brave World quilt block tutorial

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.

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...

Aunt Dinah quilt block

Aunt Dinah

Morning Star quilt block

Morning Star

Album quilt block


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

On this page you'll find:

Let's get busy quilting!

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

When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front.

I do not use steam for paper piecing.

Instead I like to use our Best Technique for Pressing Quilt Blocks. The results are the absolute flattest (even with the paper) that you'll ever see. And that's a promise!

Step 1: Download paper piecing patterns

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.

Choose your finished block size, download and print the pattern:

Step 2: Cutting

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.

All the numbers in the table below refer to squares, i.e. 1-3/4" means to cut a 1-3/4" x 1-3/4" square.

Label your patches as we'll refer to their numbers throughout the tutorial.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Brave World Quilt Block

~ Paper Piecing ~

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

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Step 2: Create 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 lines

If 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.

Align Patch 4 and stitch

Align 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.

Trim units to size

Remove the paper and press.

Step 4: Assemble your Brave World quilt block

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

Arrange the unit for the block

Stitch into rows. The seam allowances will 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 finished

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...

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

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