From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
Our Farmer's Daughter quilt block uses connector corners to quickly create perfect points. For the beginning quilter that means no bias edges to deal with!
It makes the block quick to whip up for the experienced quilter. And a good candidate for a quilting bee or guild block swap!
This basic block design is very popular. At the end of this page, you'll find nine different variations to try for yourself.
Let's get started!
These abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
Seam allowances (SA) are 1/4" and are pressed toward the darker fabric unless otherwise instructed.
In the tutorial you'll see that I switch presser feet. I prefer an open toe applique foot for my connector corners and a foot with a guide for standard piecing.
It's important to use what works best for YOU!
For this three fabric block you'll want to have enough contrast between the medium and background fabric so that your star points show.
Remember that YOU are the designer. While I've stitched the sample up with a light background, you can always substitute in a darker one if it suits your needs better.
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|5 "||7 1/2"||10 "|
|1, 4||Med||13||1 1/2” x 1 1/2”||2” x 2”||2 1/2” x 2 1/2”|
|2||Dark||4||1 1/2” x 1 1/2”||2” x 2”||2 1/2” x 2 1/2”|
|3||BAC||4||1 1/2” x 3 1/2”||2” x 5”||2 1/2” x 6 1/2”|
|5||BAC||4||1 1/2” x 1 1/2”||2” x 2”||2 1/2” x 2 1/2”|
|Unfinished Block Size||5 1/2"||8"||10 1/2"|
|Grid Size||1"||1 1/2"||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.
We'll need two different pieced units to complete our Farmer's Daughter.
With RST sew a #1 to a #2. Repeat for a total of 3 pairs as shown below. Press SA toward the darker #2.
Sew a #1 to each of two of the pairs and a #2 to the final pair so that the fabrics alternate as shown above. Press these subunits again with the SA toward the #2s.
With RST, stitch the subunits together, pinning if it helps keeps the edges and seams aligned.
Press again with the SA toward the center of the 9-patch.
We'll use the connector corners to construct the star points. It's a simple technique that allows us to work with just squares and rectangles. No bias edges involved!
If you have one, switch to an open toe applique foot—it's much easier to see the line to stitch on.
On the back side of the eight #4 squares make a diagonal line with a pencil. I like using a mechanical pencil for this because this line is always fine and uniform.
With RST, position a #4 with one side of a #3. Stitch on the line. Repeat for all four #3s.
Add a #4 to the opposite side of the #3. On one long edge the lines bisect the corner; on the opposite long edge the lines point towards the center of the patch. Stitch, repeating until all four #3s have two #4 patches attached.
Press the units flat.
Now you have a choice to make. You can either trim away the excess of both fabrics between the seam line and the corner (below center row, left) or trim away just the excess of the #4 fabric (below center row, right). Either way leave behind a quarter inch SA.
Press the #4 patches open and towards the corner.
Repeat for a total of four star point units (above, bottom row).
Switch back to your favorite quarter inch presser foot to complete the rest of the sewing.
Arrange all your pieced and cut units into rows as shown below.
With RST, stitch the units into rows. You may want to pin match the connector corners to the seam lines in the nine-patch.
And finally stitch the rows together. I did pin to keep the star points lined up with the 9-patch seams...just to be sure! :D
Give your Farmer's Daughter a final press and it's ready for a quilt.
As promised in the introduction, there are quite a few variations on the basic design of our Farmer's Daughter quilt block. The 'bones' of the design are shown to the left.
These are some of the variations.
Connector corners (CC) simplify the construction of this one, too!
The E-Z Quilt Block
Our two-patch side units are now a single cut rectangle.
The Churn Dasher
A slight variation on the Churn Dasher with the addition of a third fabric.
The Nine Patch Star
Sometimes you've got to wonder where the block names come from. This just doesn't look like a star...but I do like the effect.
The Rolling Star
Again, CCs is the technique of choice to simplify the construction of the side units.
Another block very close to the Churn Dasher.
Souvenir Quilt Block
The open center square is a nice frame for embroidery of applique, or possibly even a smaller pieced block.
The Star and Cross
To simplify the piecing, cut a rectangle of the background fabric for the very center instead of three separate square patches.
Now, that's a lot of design potential to pull out of a basic design, isn't it!
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!