Beginner Quilt Block Patterns and Units

Master these and you CAN successfully piece anything!

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Beginner Quilt Block Pattern Lessons

This handful of quilt block patterns forms the basis for probably 95% of all the pieced quilt blocks you'll ever make.

When you can piece them accurately, your finished quilt blocks are going to be a dream to work with. No more tweaking 'cause it's off just a wee bit.

All can be rotary cut and traditionally pieced. Some have quick piecing techniques. Still others are easily paper pieced. Even a few use specialty rulers for all you gadget-gals!

Each technique includes a list of pros and cons to help you choose the best one for your next quilting project.

Choose the quilt block patterns from the list:

Each quilt block patterns page has cutting charts for several sizes, free, downloadable paper piecing patterns (if applicable), tips for easier piecing and instructions for cutting with directional fabrics.

Keep them close to you in your sewing room. Click here for help or troubleshooting when downloading.

The information is provided for your own personal use

Can you share it with friends?

I'd prefer you send them back to this website for them to print their own copy.

Providing this free information is my way of thanking you for visiting...and hopefully visiting often to see all the new things that are added.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if your friends knew where to find it, too?

If you are a guild member and would like to include some of the downloads in your newsletter, please click here to contact me directly.

Top Tips for Perfect Patchwork

As you begin these quilt block patterns, here are my top tips for better pieced results.

  • Slow down. Resist the temptation to stitch as fast as you can. You have more control at slower speeds. More control means less ripping.
  • Cut accurately. Make sure to cut exactly next to the ruler for accurately sized patches.
  • Starch your fabric. Yes, I know it's an extra step. But you cut, stitch and press all more accurately with starched fabrics. (Just remember to wash the starch out at the end of your project.) You can learn more about starching here.
  • Practice. There is nothing like practice to build confidence. Once you've built your confidence, you can do ANYTHING.

Let's get started!

The Building Blocks

If a particular technique isn't underlined (indicating an active link to that page) it is in the process of being written and photographed.

Please feel free to bookmark this page and return as they are completed.

As the individual techniques are uploaded that information is published on the Generations Quilt Patterns Facebook page.

Rail Fence Quilt Block

This easy quilt block pattern is simply strips of fabric sewn together into strip sets. These strip sets are, in turn, sub-cut into blocks.

The technique for this block is used again for both four- and nine-patch quilt blocks.

Once you've mastered the sewing test for your seam allowance setting, you're ready for the Rail Fence!

The Techniques

#1: Strip Piecing

#2: Traditional Piecing

Half Square Triangles (HST)

Made from right angle or 90° triangles; the bias edge is the long one opposite the 90° angle. The two short edges are on the straight of grain.

These units can be pieced in a multitude of ways.

It also makes a good alternate block to reduce the total amount of piecing in your quilt designs.

The Techniques

#1: Sandwich or Quick Pieced

#2: Make one plus a bonus

#3: No mark, 4 at a time

#4: Fast and easy, 8 at a time

#5: Specialty rulers

#6: Triangle paper

#7: More triangle paper options

Quarter Square Triangles (QST)

Another 90° right triangle.

This time the long edge opposite the right or 90° angle is on the straight of grain. The short edges are on the bias.

This block can be pieced with two, three or four fabrics for lots of  versatility.

The Techniques

#1: Rotary Cut Patches

#2: Sandwich or Quick Piecing Method

#3: Quarter Square Triangle Ruler

#4: 3-Patch Quarter Square Triangles

Half Rectangle Triangles

Half rectangle triangle units

A kissin' cousin of the HST, the half rectangle is a unit twice as tall as it is wide.

It gets tricky to make because if you think the seam line goes through the opposite diagonal corners' edges, you'd be wrong.

Starching the fabric before cutting is essential (in my humble opinion) for accurate patches that are easy to piece into your quilt patterns.

The Technique

#1: Split Rects Ruler

Four Patches

A common unit within blocks or a block in its own right, the Four Patch adds directional movement to your quilt design.

A perfect block for beginners to hone their seam allowance accuracy on!

The Techniques

#1: Rotary cut patches

#2: Strip piecing

Nine Patches

Versatile for both scrappy and planned color placement, this block can be used on its own or alternated with others to form interesting chains through your quilt pattern.

The Birthday Quilt is one of my most favorite Nine Patch quilt pattern.

The Techniques

#1: Strip Piecing & Rotary Cut Patches

#2: Two from 2 Squares: A Positive/A Negative

#3: Strip Piece a Single Nine Patch

Flying Geese

Used most often as units within a block or for sashing and borders, Flying Geese add movement to a patchwork design.

The Techniques

#1: Rotary-cut patches

#2: Connector Corners

#3: No waste - 4 at a time

#4: 3D or One Seam

#5: Paper Piecing

#6: Wing Clipper Ruler

Square in a Square

Whether its set edge to edge in a simple design layout or part of another design, the Square in a Square is a terrific place to show off a focus fabric or machine embroidery.

Also known as the Diamond in a Square block.

The Techniques

#1: Connector Corners

#2: Paper Piecing

#3: Rotary Cut Patches

Triangles in a Square

While not as common as the other units, this one shows up time and again within blocks.

Used alternately with block with HSTs on their outside edge, it forms the optical illusion of curves.

The Techniques

#1: Paper Piecing

#2: TriRecs Rulers

Corner Beam

Another not-so-common block. The design is formed by a square patch divided into three equal 30° angles from a single corner point. Both sides of the two internal seams are bias edges.

Starching your fabric is a must in my opinion, regardless of the technique you choose to make this block. It adds needed stability to the fabric as you stitch the narrow point of fabric.

The Technique

#1: Corner Beam Quilting Ruler

After you've mastered these quilt block patterns...

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library're ready for bigger challenges.

Visit our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library to see our ever-growing selection of patterns for your personal use.

If you're in need of inspiration, visit our Quilt Design Library which shows a variety of block patterns and layouts to help spark your own creativity!

Share your work to inspire other Quilters!

If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:

Please share your creations on social media with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns. Thank you!
  • On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns.
  • Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at

I love seeing your work!

Our readers do, too!

For even more blocks to make...

Click here to learn about my favorite quilt book resources that inspire my patchwork designs.

For you, are quilt block patterns like potato chips... can't have just one?!!

Check the amazing resources I rely on for the majority of the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of spot in YOUR quilting library, CLICK HERE.

  1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Beginning Quilt Block Patterns

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please let me know by clicking this button - thank you!

Share Your Comments, Tips and Ideas

Click here to purchase 'Prim & Proper' by Lori Holt'Prim & Proper'
by Lori Holt

Quilt patterns, books and kits to tempt you...

Click any image or link for more info

"Pretty Birds"
by Elizabeth Hartman

"Spectacular Savanna"
by Elizabeth Hartman

"Christmas Figs"
by It's So Emma

Subscribe to our StashTalk Newsletter