Harmony Square Quilt Block, Part 2

Our tutorial continues with the traditional piecing

by Julie Baird

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BACK: Harmony
Square, Part 1

Our Harmony Square quilt block tutorial continues with traditionally pieced corner units and sides.

Be at one with your inner quilter. Paperpiecing and traditional techniques are shared to make the Harmony Square quilt block. Choose the best method for you.

If you missed printing anything, use these links:

Now back to our block!

Corners - Traditional Method

Make 4

Corner design

We use the same Patch numbers as for the paper pieced version of this Harmony Square unit.

To fine-tune your seam allowance, take a Sewing Test. It's simple to do, takes just a couple minutes and helps you avoid ripping.

After adding each patch, press flat to set the seam and then open with the seam allowance toward the one you just added, i.e. sew #1 to #2, pressing toward #2, etc.

It's easy to get the #4s, #5s, and #6s confused—I was a clueless numpty and mixed them up making the sample—so I strongly recommend that you lay out the patches for each corner like this. 

Lay out the patches to avoid confusion during constructionWhat's the paper thingy behind the patches? Why the downloadable cutting chart for traditional piecing, of course!

With RST, align a short side of a #2 to #1.

Stitch from the flat end of the patches and not the point. You get a much better seam that way.

Sew #1 and #2 togetherThat gnarly patch of fabric behind the presser foot is my 'spider' or 'bunny tail'. I like to start my stitching on it and then chain piece onto my patches. The first stitch is so much better that way.

SA are pressed to #2.

#2 will be a bit longer than #1...that's okay.

#2 extends just a wee bit past the bottom end of #1. That's how it should look.

With RST, add the short side of a #3 to the adjacent side of #1.

Take a second and check that when you open the patches, the dark #1 is the corner and the #2, #3 forms a long straight line.

Sew from the flat edges again starting at the blue arrow.

Add #3 to #1

At your ironing board (this is on the absolute best pressing mat called The Magic Pressing Mat), the long edges of #2 and #3 should form a long straight line after pressing. :)

If they don't make a straight line, check your 1/4" seam allowance for wiggles.

#1, #2, and #3 are pressed flat

If your seam allowance is spot-on, then when you align #4 to this #1/#2/#3 unit, they will be exactly the same size.

Here's how they line up from the #1/#2/#3 side.

This is the side we'll stitch from. That's because we can see where the seams all intersect at the corner of #1 (dark pink).

Don't forget to trim away those dogs ears with a scissor.Those dog ears should go at some point

This time we have no choice BUT to sew starting at a point.

To keep your sewing machine from chewing it up, start your stitching on a scrap of fabric. (You can see a bit of orange and white fabric behind my presser foot...that's my scrap. A different one this time. I keep several at my machine.)

Sewing #1/#2/#3 to #4

Just past the halfway point in our piecing.

It's a good idea to check your accuracy at this point. Use the chart below to find the size this #1/#2/#3/#4 unit should measure from edge-to-edge.

Dimensions after Joining #1-#4

Block Size
5" 1-1/2" x 1-1/2"
7-1/2" 2" x 2"
10" 2-1/2" x 2-1/2"
12-1/2" 3" x 3"

Make any necessary adjustments now. Trim away the dog ears with a scissor.

Remember our original fabric layout? Here the trimmed #1/#2/#3/#4 is put back in position.

Add the #5 and #6 patches to the sewn unit, just as you added the #2 and #3—short side of each to the #4.

Here it is after adding #5 which is a bit longer than #4—just like the #2 was. It's normal. Don't worry.


After sewing #6 but before removing my friends, "The Pins".

You can see how the stitching cuts right through the middle of the valley formed by the gray #5 and #6 at the bottom edges.


At the iron, the #5 and #6 form a straight line just like our #2, #3 triangles did earlier.

#5/#6 form a long straight lineYep! That's my Magic Pressing Mat again. :)

And just like #4, #7 should line up exactly with the stitched patches.

Here from the #7 side...

The last patch, #7Nope...nothing peaking out here.

Here on the other side, the one to stitch on.

Stitch with #1/#2/#3/#4/#5/#6 on topNothing peaking out here either!

Pin as needed to hold the pieces together as you stitch.

Check to see that your unit is the correct dimension. Line up the diagonal line on your ruler with the center diagonal seam—just like you would for half square triangles.

Check for accuracy with a rulerThis Harmony Square corner is not too shabby

Make any adjustments and trim away the dog ears. 

My sample's corner needed just a slight haircut.

Here's a quick look at the backside. You can see how all the SAs are pressed towards the patch last added.

Repeat these steps for a total of four units.

Now you're ready to make the sides for our Harmony Square.

Side patchwork


Make 4

Simple strip piecing is used to construct these units—quickly and accurately.

With RST, sew #8 to #9 along the long edge.

Sew #8 and #9 togetherMy favorite 1/4" foot has a guide on the right-hand side (pink arrow)

Press the SA towards #8.

With RST sew the #10 to the opposite side of #9.

SA are pressed away from #10.

Use the chart below to check that your #8/#9/#10 strip set is the correct width. It should match the stitched corner's width.

StripSet Widths

Block Sizes
Stripset Width after stitching SubCut Width
5" 2 1/2" 1 1/2"
7 1/2" 3 1/2" 2"
10" 4 1/2" 2 1/2"
12 1/2" 5 1/2" 3"

Make any necessary adjustments.

At your cutting mat, straighten the short edge of the strip set with your rotary cutter and ruler.

Straighten the short side of #8/#9/#10Line up the straight lines on your ruler with the seamlines in your stripset, then trim off just enough to get a perfectly straight edge.

Referring to the chart, find the SubCut Width that corresponds with your Finished Block Size. For our 10" sample block the this is 2-1/2" .

Cut four patches.

After cutting...

Step 3: Assemble your Harmony Square quilt block

Lay out your sewn patches and cut center square to form the Harmony Square patchwork design.

The largest HSTs are in the outside corners. The largest patch in the sides is also on the outside edge.

With RST, sew the patches in each row together. If you've followed the highlighted pressing instructions, the seams all nest. Use pins to hold things in place if you need them—I sure do! :D

Press these seams toward the #8/#9/#10 sides in each row.

Stitch the rows together, again pinning as needed to hold the units in position.

That's my favorite Yazzii bag behind my machine (pink arrow)

This is the finished Harmony Square quilt block still hot from a final pressing.

Harmony Square block is finishedHarmony Square in all its glory! It turned out so much better than I thought it would based on the drawing of the design. What do you think?

Here is our Harmony Square from the back. You can see how the SAs are all pressed away from the first #1 square regardless of which technique you used.

Nice and neat, isn't it!

Harmony Square from the backside
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 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!

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