Make a Memory...Quilt Block...That Is!

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Our Memory quilt block stitches up in a flash.

Quick-pieced half square triangles.

Paper pieced Flying Geese.

Both make all this pointy goodness doable...quickly.

In this tutorial you'll find:

It's time to cut up and sew!

General Instructions

Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangles
  • FG - Flying Geese

1/4" SA are used through this tutorial. 

Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow to make them easy to find.

Each time you press, the first time is with the patches 'closed', just as they were sewn. This sets the seam. Then open the patches and press again with SAs towards the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.

Paperpieced SA are always pressed toward the last added patch.

The block can be a little lumpy between the units. Check out my favorite (super simple) pressing technique to squash them into submission.

I've recently acquired a Magic Pressing Mat—2 actually—and it's really upped my pressing game. Read my review here to see if one might make it into YOUR bag of tricks.

Download and print paper piecing pattern

You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern.

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.

Choose your finished block size from the chart below and print the corresponding number of copies for a total of four units.

Print the Flying Geese Pair Units

Block Size
# of copies Link to
PDF Download
6" 1 2"
9" 1 3"
12" 2 4"

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) the patterns printed at the correct size.

The newest quilt fabrics to tickle your fancy...

Click the images below to see the full collection. We share any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them, too. (For inspiration, of course!)

Step 1: Cutting for a Memory quilt block

Memory quilt block patternMemory quilt block design

Block Size: 9" finished / 9-1/2" unfinished

Grid: 6x6

Design Type: Even 9-patch, Star

Attributed to: Clara Stone

This is a dramatic block. To up the wow factor use fabrics with high contrast.

If at all possible, make the dark fabric duller (grayer) than your light choice.That makes the lighter fabric really glow.

Label all your patches. Their numbers are used throughout the tutorial.

Click here to print a copy of the block design and cutting chart to use at your cutting table.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Memory Quilt Block

~Traditional Plus Paper Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
6" 9" 12"
1 Dark 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
2 Light 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
3 Light 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
4 Dark 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
5 Light 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
6 Dark 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
7 Light 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
8 Dark 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
9 Dark 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½" --
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½" --
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" --

90% Faster Than Rotary Cutters

Step 2: Assemble the units for your Memory quilt block

Flying Geese pairs design

Flying Geese Pairs (FG)

Make 4

Use a tiny swipe of Elmer's Washable glue stick to position #1. Use the dashed placement lines (white arrows) for perfect positioning.

Position #1 Goose

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16–20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6 mm). This perforates the paper and stabilizes the seam when you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe appliqué foot (sometimes called an 'embroidery' or 'satin stitch' foot) if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • If your machine has a needle stop up, use it. The stitching goes faster when you don't have to lift the presser foot with every seam.
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4” before and after the solid stitching lines. ALWAYS. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam and then open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Before adding the next patch, take a look to make sure the one you just added covers the space plus seam allowance that it is supposed to.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. 

If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.

It truly depends on my mood.

Remember, as you follow this paper piecing tutorial, the printed and the fabric sides of this block are mirror-images of each other.

At last!

Let's sew!

With RST, align the long, bias edge of a #2 sky with one short side of #1. The point of the patch should be lined up with the corner (white arrow).

Position the first #2 Sky

Stitch starting and ending a good 1/4" before and after the solid line between #1 and #2. 

I do not backstitch at either end.

However, if you are a backstitcher, only the outside edge is a good candidate here because no future line of stitching crosses these stitches until after the paper is removed and the FG is sewn to other patches in Step 3.

Stitch on the line between #1 and #2The stitches should end at approximately the tip of the white arrow at the dashed line.

Press this #2.

Add the second #2 in the same manner and press.

Next we trim to establish the placement line for #3.

At your cutting mat, place the stitched pattern printed side up. Tear the stitches away from the paper a bit at the solid line between #2s and #3 so that you can fold the paper pattern back along this solid line.

I position my line on that line creasing the fold with my thumbnail.

Fold the pattern back along the line.

Now position the 1/4" mark on your ruler along the fold line to identify the 1/4" SA. Trim with your rotary cutter.

Trim the seam allowance after adding both #2 Sky

Align the long edge of #3 with this cut edge for perfect placement!

The point on #3 should be opposite the point at the top of the Goose (white arrow).

Position #3

Stitch starting and ending a generous 1/4" outside the solid line between #2 and #3.

Since we're stitching from edge to edge, you can chain piece this part of the unit

Add the #3 by chain piecing

See that pesky thread tail in the center of the unit?

Since it doesn't bother me, I don't trim threads from the printed side of the paper until the unit it completely stitched. 

However, I ALWAYS trim to remember to trim the thread from the fabric side of the unit as I go. Much easier that way.

Time to trim again. Again to establish the placement lines for the #4s.

Fold the pattern back on itself along the solid line between #3 and #4.

Position the 1/4" mark on your ruler on the fold line and trim. Repeat for the other side.

Trim the #3

With RST, position a #4 with one side of the #3.


Just as with #3, we're stitching from one edge to the other so we can chain piece these units from here on out.

Position the first #4 SkyThe point of the triangle #4 patch is opposition the corner of the unit.

After stitching the unit looks like a hot mess (left).

But after trimming, it's perfect.

Trim by aligning the quarter inch on your ruler with the solid outline of the unit and trim, repeating for all four sides of all four units.

Untrimmed and trimmed FG
Don't forget to remove the paper after trimming.

Give the units a final pressing.

Return your sewing machine to your everyday settings.

We stitch the remainder of the block with traditional techniques.

Install your favorite quarter inch presser foot. Adjust the needle position if needed. Return to your normal piecing stitch length.


Make 8

On the back side of either the #5 or #6 patch (whichever one is easier to see your marks on) drawn two diagonal lines. My (favorite) Bohin Mechanical chalk pencil is easy to see on the darker fabric.

With RST, stitch a 1/4" away from both sides of both lines.

Sewing HSTsFinishing up the last of four lines of stitching for our HSTs

Press flat to set the seams.

Find your Finished Block size in the chart below.

HST Dimensions

Block Size
Trim HST to…
6" 2-1/8" 1-1/2" x 1-1/2"
9" 2-5/8" 2" x 2"
12" 3-1/8" 2-1/2" x 2-1/2"

Using the Center Measurement (2⅝" for our 9" sample) cut your sewn #5/#6 into four equal squares. Then cut each in half along the drawn line. 

You now have eight HSTs ready to trim.

After cutting the sewn #5/#6 into eight HSTs

Referring again to the chart, trim your HSTs to the 'Trim to...' dimensions. For our sample it's 2".

Below is a HST after cutting in eight patches (left), pressed with the SA towards the dark (middle) and after trimming to the perfect size (right).

HSTs, cut, pressed and trimmed

Repeat for all eight HSTs.


Corner unit

Make 4

Use the images below to create four each of a #7 plus a HST and four of a #8 plus a HST.

SA are pressed in the direction of the white arrow towards the HST for both.

Joining #7 to a HST and joining #8 to a HST

Pinning helps if you have trouble keeping all the edges can chain piece to speed things up.

Pin patches to keep the edges even

With RST and nesting the SA join one of each unit together, pressing SA in the direction of the white arrow.

Sewing the corner units

Step 3: Assemble your Memory quilt block

Lay out all your sewn and one cut patch to form the Memory quilt block design. Solid dark squares are in the outside corners. Flying Geese point out from the center.

The units are arranged into rows

Sew the units into rows. If you've followed the pressing directions, the seams of the HST and Flying Geese all nest to make matching the points pretty easy.

I did pin to hold things in position as I stitched. Click here for 'pointers' (no pun intended!) on pinning for perfect points.

My favorite pins for this type of picky matching are IBC Super Fine .50mm shown here.

After stitching the SA are pressed AWAY from the Flying Geese units.

Press SA away from the Flying Geese pairs

Stitch the rows together to create your Memory quilt block. Again, pinning as needed to help you hold the patches in position.

These last two seams are pressed away from the center.

Here is our finished 'Memory' in all its pointy goodness.

A finished Memory quilt block

3-fabric Memory Quilt Block

3-fabric Memory patchwork design3-fabric Memory quilt block design

Though our sample is made with just two fabrics, there's no reason that you couldn't use three.

Here is that Memory block variation and its cutting chart.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
3-fabric Memory Quilt Block

~Traditional Plus Paper Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
6" 9" 12"
1 Med 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
2 Dark 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
3 Dark 1 3⅝" x 3⅝" 4⅝" x 4⅝" 5⅝" x 5⅝" Symbol for a quarter square triangle
4 Light 4 2⅜" x 2⅜" 2⅞" x 2⅞" 3⅜" x 3⅜" Symbol for a half square triangle
5 Med 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
6 Dark 1 4¼" x 4¼" 5¼" x 5¼" 6¼" x 6¼" --
7 Dark 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
8 Med 4 1½" x 1½" 2" x 2" 2½" x 2½" --
9 Light 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½" --
Unfinished Block Size 6½" 9½" 12½" --
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" --

Click here to print a copy of the block design and the cutting chart for a 3-fabric Memory quilt block.

You need to download and print the same paper piecing patterns to complete this version of the Memory block.

Looking for something truly stellar?

You've finished your star quilt block, and you're ready for more!

Browse our collection of 50+ stellar star quilt block patterns. All have instructions and cutting charts in multiple sizes. If templates or paper piecing is used in the tutorial, there's a free download for you of those materials.

Star quilt block patterns found on this website

Eeny. Meenie. Miney. Moe.

Which star quilt block will you sew?

For even MORE blocks to make...

There's more quilt blocks to make

...visit our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library, with over 220+ blocks to choose from in multiple sizes.

Free downloads are included in all sizes for any blocks require paper piecing patterns or templates.

What about a different quilt block?

For a list of all the 220+ quilt block patterns on this site, start here.

If you know the name of the block, shorten your search by using these links:




Click here if you're looking for blocks with at least some paper piecing.

Click here if you're looking for the basic building blocks of quilting, i.e., Flying Geese, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, etc., along with several techniques to make each.

And finally, use these links to find blocks in these finished sizes:

This article was printed from

Print Article

Follow Us