Maypole Dance Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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A Maypole Dance quilt block is a great introduction to pinwheel quilt blocks for the beginning quilter.

No triangles to cut. No bias edges to mess with!

The Maypole Dance quilt block tutorial starts here.

Learn to stitch up this pattern quickly using the Connector Corners technique. There are instructions to make this block in 4 different sizes.

Let's get started.

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General Instructions

These abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • CC - connector corners

SA are 1/4" and pressed toward the dark fabric unless noted otherwise.

Step 1: Cutting patches for a Maypole Dance

Maypole Dance quilt block designMaypole Dance design

Grid: 4x4
Skill Level: Beginner

Choose fabrics with good contrast so that the points in the center of the  pinwheel aren't lost.

The Connector Corners (CC) technique is used to create the half square triangle.

When making CC, I find it easier to fingerpress the patches when the fabric is starched before cutting.

[Learn more about starching fabric here...]

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Cutting Chart for a
Maypole Dance Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
4" 5" 6" 8"
1 L 4 1½" x 2½" 1¾" x 3” 2” x 3-1/2” 2½" x 4½"
2 D 4 1½" x 1½" 1¾" x 1¾" 2” x 2” 2½" x 2½"
3 D 4 1½" x 2½" 1¾" x 3” 2” x 3½" 2½" x 4½"
Unfinished Block Size 4½" 5½" 6½" 8½"
Grid Size 1" 1¼" 1½" 2"


Step 2: Assemble the Maypole Dance units

Make 4

Maypole Dance connector corner patch

With a pencil (I've used my Bohin Mechanical Chalk Pencil) mark a diagonal line on the backside of all four #2 patches.

With right sides together (RST), align the #2 square with the right side of the #1 patch as shown below. Sew on the drawn chalk line. (Using an open toe applique foot makes it easier to see where you need to stitch.)

Stitch #2 to #1Sewing on the drawn line with an open toe applique foot.

Now you have a choice to make. You can either trim away just the excess #2 fabric (below, top), or both the excess #1 and #2 fabric (below, bottom). Be sure to leave behind a 1/4" seam.

Options to trim away the excess fabric.Leaving a quarter inch SA, trim away either #2 or #2 AND #1. The final result is the same.

Trim all four pairs of patches.

With RST, add the #3 to the top of each #1/#2 unit, pressing the SA towards the darker #3 fabric.

Repeat for a total of 4 matching units.

Add #3 to #1/#2After sewing, press the SA toward #3, the darker fabric.

Step 3: Assemble your Maypole Dance quilt block

Arrange the patches into the Maypole Dance design, remembering to rotate each a quarter turn as you make your way clockwise around the block.

Arrange the units into the Maypole Dance designEach unit is rotated a quarter turn.

Stitch the patches into rows. The seams nest in the center which makes it easy to get a good match. Use pins if needed to hold everything together. (I do!)

Press with the SA away from the #1 light rectangle.

Stitch the units into rows

Sew the rows together. Again, the SAs nest. Pin the center match point if needed. A pinwheel block with a perfectly matched center is a BEAUTIFUL thing!

After checking to see that the match is good, remove a couple of the stitches in the SA from the backside so that you can twirl the SA. This distributes the bulk in the center making the block easier to machine quilt.

Twirl the seam allowances to reduce bulk in the centerTwirl the seam allowances in the center to reduce bulk. When done correctly, a tiny pinwheel forms in the center.

Our Maypole Dance quilt block is complete!

The finished Maypole Dance quilt blockThe Maypole Dance is finished!

An idea for a quick baby quilt...

It doesn't get much easier than this.

Three fabrics. Simple sashing and cornerstones.

A quick baby quilt to whip up at the last minute!

Baby quilt using the Maypole Dance quilt block

For even more blocks to make...

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

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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