From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
The House Jack Built quilt block is a sweet little design that looks like it could be a bit tricky.
Can you say 'patches on point'?
I've got you covered!
There's a perfect tool for the job—the 'On Point' ruler—that makes it as simple as piecing a plain ol' regular block.
If you're not in the market for yet another ruler, you're covered there, too.
There are free downloads on this page for the templates you'll need, as well as a coloring page for the block.
If the House Jack Built looks familiar, you may know it by its other name, Triple Stripe.
Let's get started.
Please read all the instructions before beginning.
To make this sample block I used the On-Point Ruler by Donna Lynn Thomas (read my review of it here).
It's made specifically to cut on-point patches for standard quilt blocks, and takes all the 'messy' math out of the calculations.
All you need to remember is the finished size of the patch. Then cut it with the On-Point.
If you're not a gadget-gal, then print one copy of the template page for your finished block size from the table below. The fabrics and quantities to cut are printed right on the template.
Use the free Adobe reader to download and print (get it here if you don't have it already installed on your computer.)
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.)
|PRINT the Paper Templates for a|
House Jack Built block
| # of|
copies to print
| Link to|
After printing, measure the 1" square on the page to confirm it's printed accurately.
You can download and print a coloring page of this block here.
Several common abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
All SA are 1/4" and pressed to the dark unless otherwise instructed.
Choose two contrasting fabrics.
To tame the bias edges of the #3 and #4 patches, I strongly recommend starching your fabric before cutting.
You'll want a very good quarter inch SA for this block. Take a quick Sewing Test to help fine-tune your stitching.
In this first chart, patches in the rows highlighted in yellow and marked with an asterisk (*) are cut with the On-Point Ruler.
Patches #3 and #4 are cut with your everyday ruler—don't forget to subcut them as directed.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size||Sub|
|1*||D||2||1" x 16"||1½" x 24"||2" x 34"||na|
|2*||L||1||1" x 16"||1½" x 24"||2" x 34"||na|
|3||L||2||2⅜" x 2⅜"||3⅛" x 3⅛"||3⅞" x 3⅞"|
|4||L||1||4¼" x 4¼"||5¾" x 5¾"||7¼" x 7¼"|
|5*||L||1||3" x 3"||4½" x 4½"||6" x 6"||na|
|Unfinished Block Size||6½"||9½"||12½"||---|
|#1, #2 and #5 are cut with the On-Point ruler for accuracy. Templates are available for you to download from the blue chart under 'Construction Instructions'. Choose which alternative works best for you and your budget. Remember to subcut #3 and #4 as directed.|
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.
In this section, you may notice two different cutting mats and two different sets of lighting. I went back and re-shot a couple of photos in my home studio.
That's why they look different—your eyes are NOT deceiving you!
With RST, stitch a #1 to a #2 along the long edge.
After stitching, press flat to set the seam. Then open with the SA toward the darker #1.
With RST stitch a #1 to the opposite long edge of #2.
Press as before.
You MUST use your On-Point ruler for measuring the numbers in the following chart.
|SubCutting Chart for a|
House Jack Built block
|Width of StripSet||SubCut Width|
First check that the stripset is as wide as it should be. For this 6" sample it should be 3" wide using the OnPoint Ruler. And it is! (Make any adjustments if you need to.)
At your cutting mat, align one of the lines on your ruler (red arrow) with a seamline. Straighten the edge with your rotary cutter by trimming off a complete sliver.
Now align the ruler marks with a seam, subcut the stripset into four squares using the measurements from the chart above.
This is what you have after cutting.
If you downloaded templates, you will be stitching a #1 and #2 together. Then press. Add the second #1 to the other side of the #2. Press.
There is no subcutting. You #1/#2/#1 unit should measure the same size as the #5 template. Make any adjustments you need.
From this point forward construction is the same no matter how you cut your patches.
Arrange your pieced and cut patches into the design. The dark strips in the Rail Fence units are parallel to the edges of the center square.
We'll stitch the units together into 3 diagonal rows.
Mark the center of the dark #1 side of two different Rail Fence patches. I simply fold them in half and finger press a crease.
Mark the centers of the long bias edge of all four HST (#3) in the same manner, being careful not to stretch the bias.
With RST, match the centers (the creases) of a RF and a #3 HST. I use a pin to hold the centers in place.
The #3 will be a bit longer that the edge of the RF at this point (red arrows below). That is correct.
To two RF, with RST add a #4 QST to each side. I prefer to feed the even ends of the pair of patches into the sewing machine first. That way my machine doesn't 'chew up' the points making for messy patchwork.
It looks rather like a blunt triangle at this point.
Fold the unit in half and fingerpress a crease in the center of the short #1 side of the sewn patches.
With RST, match the center of a previously marked #3 HST with this new crease. Pin to hold the centers together.
Stitch. This time your stitching goes right through the middle of the valley created by the patches.
Trim away the dog ears with scissors to reduce bulk.
The three diagonal rows are now pieced.
Stitch the rows together, pinning if needed. The seams nest.
Trim away any remaining dog ears.
The House Jack Built is finished and ready for your quilt.
There are several blocks that share this similar, on-point type of design. A few are:
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!
Click any image or link for more info