Mrs. Bryan's Choice Quilt Block Tutorial

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Mrs. Bryan's Choice quilt block tutorial begins here...

Skill Level: Confident beginner

Type: 9-patch

Grid: 6x6

Our Mrs. Bryan's Choice quilt block is quite easy to make—even with its illusion of Square in a Square on point in the center—by using a simple paper pieced pattern for the Flying Geese pairs.

Traditional piecing is used for the simple corner patches.

The hardest part is choosing the fabric.

Let's get started!

Hate paper piecing? Click here for alternative methods for constructing Flying Geese pairs.

General Instructions

All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".

When pressing, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open it, pressing from the front to minimize the formation of tucks. SAs are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.

You may want to reduce or eliminate the use of steam for pressing the paper pieced portion of the Mrs. Bryan's Choice block—it tends to curl the paper.

Step 1:  Download and print

To open and print the Flying Geese pairs (FGP) pattern, you need the Adobe Reader installed on your computer. You can get it here (a new window opens so you can download without leaving this page). Follow their download instructions.

Choose a Finished Block Size from the chart below.

To print the pattern, locate the row called 'Flying Geese pairs'.

Find the underlined number at the intersection of this row and column . For our 6" finished Mrs. Bryan's Choice quilt block, it's 2". Click here if you're having trouble finding it.

Select the underlined number at the intersection and open it in Adobe.

To print the patterns at the correct dimension, under 'Page Sizing and Handling' in the Adobe print menu, you MUST set 'Custom Scale' to 100%. (Here you can see what it looks like on the Print Menu page).

Print a total of four FGPs.

After printing measure the 1" square to confirm the page printed at the correct size.

My favorite paperpiecing papers are:

Step 2: Cut the patches for Mrs. Bryan's Choice

Mrs Bryan's Choice patch work designMrs Bryan's Choice design

Select a light, a medium and a dark fabric, choosing ones with enough contrast between them so that the points don't get lost.

Cut the patches listed in the column under your Finished Block Size. Then subcut the #1, #2, #3 and #4 patches as indicated.

Pay particular attention to the #1 and #3 patches. Their dimensions are the same and easily confused. Dark goes first for this design.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Mrs. Bryan's Choice Quilt Block

~ Paper Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size Sub
6” 9” 12”
1 D 1 3-5/8”x3-5/8” 4-5/8”x4-5/8” 5-5/8”x5-5/8” Symbol for a quarter square triangle
2, 4 L 8 2-3/8”x2-3/8” 2-7/8”x2-7/8” 3-3/8”x3-3/8” Symbol for a half square triangle
3 M 1 3-5/8”x3-5/8” 4-5/8”x4-5/8” 5-5/8”x5-5/8” Symbol for a quarter square triangle
5 M 1 1-1/2”x6-1/2” 2”x8-1/2” 2-1/2”x10-1/2” --
6 L 1 1-1/2”x6-1/2” 2”x8-1/2” 2-1/2”x10-1/2” --
7 L 4 1-1/2”x2-1/2” 2”x3-1/2” 2-1/2”x4-1/2” --
8 M 1 2-1/2”x2-1/2” 3-1/2”x3-1/2” 4-1/2”x4-1/2” --
Unfinished Block Size 6-1/2” 9-1/2” 12-1/2” --
Flying Geese Pairs 2” 3” 4” --
Trim FGP to... 2-1/2”x2-1/2” 3-1/2”x3-1/2” 4-1/2”x4-1/2” =
Subcut StripSet #5/#6 1-1/2” wide 2” wide 2-1/2” wide --
Grid Size 1” 1-1/2” 2” --

Step 3: Assemble the Mrs. Bryan's Choice subunits

Flying Geese pairs

Flying Geese Pairs (FGP)

Make 4

Reduce your stitch length to 15-20 stitches per inch. Install your open toe applique foot if you have one. It makes it easier to see the stitching lines.

These FGP are also known as the Arrowhead quilt block. For more detailed instructions to make this unit, click here.

Cut the 4 units from the page(s) you downloaded in Step 1. A rough cut will do, just cut outside the dotted line that marks the unfinished side of each block. You will trim in the last step.

With a just a dab of Elmer's Glue Stick—the one that goes on purple and dries clear—position #1 on the unprinted side of your paper pattern as shown below. Use the dashed lines to help position it.

Position patch #1 using the dashed placement lines as guidesPostion patch #1 using the dashed placement lines as guides

With right sides together (RST) position a #2, matching its long bias side to either the left or right short side of #1.  While it doesn't matter which goes first, try to be consistent. It's much easier to get a comfortable piecing rhythm going when you do.

Stitch starting before and ending after the solid line between #1 and #2.

Stitch #2 to #1I start my stitching on a piece of scrap fabric—finding there's less chance of my sewing machine 'eating' the corners. My open toe applique foot is installed.


Add the second #2 in the same manner to the other side. Press.

With RST position the #3 triangle so that it's long edge is a 1/4" away from the stitching line between it and the #2 patches. (You can also trim this seam allowance to a quarter inch first and then position #3 as is shown on the Arrowhead quilt block instructions page.)

Stitch starting and stopping several stitches before and after the line.

With RST, position #3 for stitchingThe red arrow points to the edge of #3; the black arrow to the stitching line between #3 and #1/#2.

Press. Add the final #4 triangles and trim the block to size using the 'Trim FGP to...' measurement from the cutting chart. For our 6" sample, trim to 2-1/2" square. Click here to see where it is on the chart.

After trimming, the four FGU look like this.

Four finished FGP units

Corner Units

Corner unit design for Mrs. Bryan's Choice quilt block

Make 4

Set your stitch length for normal piecing. Install your quarter inch foot.

With RST, stitch the long edge of the #5 and #6 strip.


Straighten the short edge of the strip-set. From the cutting chart locate the 'Subcut StripSet #5/#6' row and find its intersection with the Finished Size column. For our 6" sample it's 1-1/2". Click here to see it.

Using this measurement, subcut the strip-set into four units.

Subcut the strip set into units

For symmetrical corners, stitch two with the dark square on the bottom right, and two on the bottom left. SA are pressed toward the light #7 rectangle.

Stitch #5/#6 to #7

Step 4: Assemble the Mrs. Bryan's Choice quilt block

Lay out the pieced units and center square to create the Mrs. Bryan's Choice design.

The FGPs point to the outside edge. The long edge of the #7 patches is on top and bottom in this picture. Just be consistent in their layout. (i.e. In the finished block further down they are shown on the left and right sides.)

Lay the units out into rows

Stitch the units into rows.

Press with the SA in the direction of the arrows.

Stitch the units into rowsSeam allowances are pressed away from the FGPs

Stitch the rows together. The seam allowance nests to make matching easier. Use pins if needed.

Press. For a truly flat block, try our Best Pressing Technique for Pieced Blocks.

This is our finished Mrs. Bryan's Choice quilt block.

The finished blockIn this picture the long edge of the #7s is on the left and the right of the block. What matters is that they are placed consistently.

Well, fancy that!

Mrs. Bryan's Choice doesn't have to be yours. You have the option to choose another from our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library.

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

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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