From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
A Flying Squares quilt block is a little bit of whimsy that's easy to stitch.
Just squares and rectangles.
On this page you'll find instructions to make it in four different sizes.
There are also links to different blocks using the same partial seams technique.
Let's cut up and sew!
The following abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
SA are 1/4" and pressed towards the darker fabric unless noted otherwise.
I like to starch my quilt fabric before cutting—even with a block as simple as this. I believe both the cutting and stitching is more accurate with starched fabric.
This design requires only two fabrics (as in our 5" sample block). It can also be pieced all in scraps.
If you choose a scrappy fabric pull make sure your backgrounds are close in value. Darks should also be close in value. But there should be high contrast between light and dark.
If you are a lover of 'leaders and enders' quilting, you'll recognize this as a perfect block for the technique.
Not sure what leaders and enders are?
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||BAC||5||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"|
|2||Dark||8||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"|
|3||BAC||4||1½" x 3½"||2" x 5"||2½" x 6½"||3½" x 9½"|
|Unfinished Block Size||5½"||8"||10½"||15½"|
These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric.
Arrange five #1 and four #2 patches into a checkerboard design. #1s are in the corners.
With RST, stitch a #1 to a #2 in each row, pressing afterwards toward the #2 (pink in our sample).
Add the remaining patch to each pair so that you have two #1/#2/#1 units and one #2/#1/#2 unit, pressing the SAs again toward the #2 (pink) patch.
With RST, join the rows together, pressing after the addition of each row. Press SA toward the center row(the one with two #2s).
After stitching this unit measures 3-1/2" for a 5" finished block. 5" for a 7-1/2" one. 6-1/2" for a 10". Or 9-1/2" for a 15" block.
With RST, sew a #2 square to a #3 rectangle. Press SA toward the #2.
Arrange the units into the Flying square design.
To stitch the units together, we use the 'partial seams' or puzzle piecing technique. In this technique the first and last seam are sewn approximately half way.
With RST position a #3/#2 patch on top of the center unit. Start your stitching at the top white arrow (shown below) and end at the edge of the #2 square.
This is what it looks like as you sew.
With RST, add another #3/#2 unit to the side of your center that has four squares.
Below you can see that I've chosen to stitch this step with the center unit on top. Pins to help keep match points and edges aligned as I stitch.
Press this SA toward
Continue adding a #3/#2 to the side with four squares, pressing SA toward the outside edge each time.
After adding a #3/#2 to all four sides, our sample block looks like this. From the white arrow to the left edge of the block is all that's left to stitch.
Pin the last half of the first seam and stitch. I like to overlap my stitches a bit for security.
One final press with the SAs toward the outside edge. Our Flying Squares quilt block is ready for a quilt.
Several blocks on this site use this technique.
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!
No time to quilt right now?
Pin this tutorial for later.