From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
Grid: 9x9, 9-patch
The London Roads quilt block pattern is made from quarter square triangle and Rail Fence units and a solid center patch. A great combination for the beginning quilter!
It is a two fabric block where the placement of the fabrics creates 'arrows'.
No special tools are needed, just your basic quilting supplies and rulers.
Also known as: Arrow, At the Square, Betty's Choice, Colorado's Arrowhead, Fireside Visitor and Rope and Anchor
On this page you'll find cutting and piecing instructions, as well as additional block sizes to make.
These abbreviations are used on this page:
All SA are 1/4" and pressed toward the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front.
Sample Block: 9" finished (9½" unfinished)
For QSTs, I prefer to cut my patches 'over-sized' and then trim the unit to the correct size after stitching.
This block requires a light and a dark fabric.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1**||L||2||2¾" x 2¾"||4¼" x 4¼"||5¾" x 5¾"||7¼" x 7¼"|
|2**||D||2||2¾" x 2¾"||4¼" x 4¼"||5¾" x 5¾"||7¼" x 7¼"|
|3||D||1||1" x 9"||1½" x 15"||2" x 21"||2 1/2" x 27"|
|4||L||1||1" x 9"||1½" x 15"||2" x 21"||2 1/2" x 27"|
|5||L||1||2" x 2"||3½" x 3½"||5" x 5"||6½" x 6½"|
|Unfinished Block Size||5"||9½"||14"||18½"|
| **I prefer to cut my patches extra large for QST, stitch, and then trim them to size. If you prefer to do the same, add a bit extra to the measurements for Patches #1 and #2 above. |
There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.
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.
Stitch the Rail Fence units
The strips are cut an extra 1/2" long to allow for squaring the strip sets once they are stitched.
Align the long edges of one dark #3 and one light #4 strip.
Align the long edge of the remaining dark #3 strip with the light strip of the pieced unit. Stitch.
At the cutting mat, straighten the end of the strip set with your rotary cutter.
Sub-cut it into 3-1/2" squares.
Stitch the QSTs
We'll use the quick pieced method to make these units.
With a pencil mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on each of the light #1 squares. (I've added an extra 1/4" to each dimension because I like to cut generously and the trim to perfection.)
With RST, align a light #1 square with a dark #2 square.
Stitch a 1/4" away from both sides of the line.
Cut this unit apart on the drawn line.
Repeat for the remaining pair.
At this point you have four half square triangles.
Draw a diagonal line on the back of two of these units that bisects the seam. (You can see it in the photo below.)
With RST, align two units with the light fabric of one to the dark fabric of the other. Nest the seam allowances. Pin if needed.
Stitch 1/4" away from the drawn line on both sides.
Cut apart on the drawn line.
Repeat for the remaining pair.
Press with the seam allowance towards either side or open.
For a refresher on trimming QST units to size, click here to review this technique in Step 8 of Learn to Make Quarter Square Triangles. The center measurement for our unit here is 1-3/4".
Use the photo below to arrange the units into the London Roads design— paying particular attention to the positioning of the corners.
Stitch the blocks into rows. The black arrows show the direction of the seam allowances. Pin as needed.
Nest the seam allowances to help you match the seams as you pin the rows together.
Stitch the rows together.
Press. For the flattest block, check out our Best Pressing Technique.
Your finished London Roads quilt block looks like this.
Congratulations! You've finished your London Roads quilt block.
When you're ready for more, do visit our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library for your next patchwork adventure.
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!