Flying Squares Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

A Flying Squares quilt block is a little bit of whimsy that's easy to stitch.

Just squares and rectangles.

Fast. Easy.

Beginner friendly.

The Flying Square quilt block tutorial starts here

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!

General Instructions

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The following abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • BAC - background fabric

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. 

[Learn more about starching here.]

Step 1: Cut patches for your Flying Squares block

Flying Squares patchwork designFlying Squares design

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?

Check out any of Bonnie Hunter's books to learn more—either Adventures with Leaders and Enders or More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Flying Squares Quilt Block

~Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
5" 7½" 10" 15"
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"
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" 3"

These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric.

Step 2: Assemble the units



Make 1

Arrange five #1 and four #2 patches into a checkerboard design. #1s are in the corners.

Cut squares for the center

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.

Four-patch rows ready to join

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.


Make 4

With RST, sew a #2 square to a #3 rectangle. Press SA toward the #2.

Sew a #2 to a #3

Step 3: Assemble your Flying Squares quilt block

Arrange the units into the Flying square design. 

Arrange the sewn units into the designNothing seems to line up here, but it'll work out as we sew.

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.

Add the first #3/#2

This is what it looks like as you sew.

Sew the first partial seamThe #3/#2 unit is too long for the center. That's exactly how it should be for now.

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.

Add another side unit

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.

Almost done

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.

The finished sample Flying Squares quilt blockVoila!

More blocks made with 'partial seams'

Several blocks on this site use this technique.

Bright Hopes quilt block tutorial Double Star quilt block tutorial Night Vision quilt block

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

For even more blocks to make...

These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

Can you see the library sticker on the spine of Jinny Beyer's book? Yep. I check this copy out of our local library every few months for research.

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

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

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!

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