Red Cross Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


The Red Cross quilt block is constructed with basic quilting techniques. A sweet design for a beginning quilter.

Simple. Quick.

Just squares and rectangles to stitch. No bias to mess around with!


Pin this tutorial for later

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
  • BAC - background fabric, it can be any value

1/4" SA are used through this tutorial. 

When instructed to press, first press the patches in the closed position just as they came off your sewing machine. This sets the seam, melding the fiber in the threads into the fiber of the fabric.

Then press the SA to the dark unless otherwise noted.

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






Step 1: Cutting

Red Cross designRed Cross block design

Sample Block Size:

  • 7-1/2" finished
  • 8" unfinished

Grid: 5x5

Please label your patches. We refer to their numbers throughout this tutorial.

To print a copy of just the block design and the cutting chart (below) to use at your cutting table, click here.

NOTE: I've starched all my fabrics before cutting with a 50/50 mix of Sta Flo concentrated liquid starch and water.

Learn how to starch your fabrics here.


Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Red Cross Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
5'' 7 1/2'' 10'' 15''
1 BAC 4 1½'' x 1½'' 2'' x 2'' 2½'' x 2½'' 3½'' x 3½''
2 A 6 1½'' x 1½'' 2'' x 2'' 2½'' x 2½'' 3½'' x 3½''
3 A 1 1½'' x 3½'' 2'' x 5'' 2½'' x 6½'' 3½'' x 9½''
4 BAC 4 1½'' x 3½'' 2'' x 5'' 2½'' x 6½'' 3½'' x 9½''
Unfinished Block Size 5 1/2'' 8'' 10 1/2'' 15 1/2''
Grid Size 1'' 1 1/2'' 2'' 3''

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.



Red Cross center unit

Step 2: Assemble the units for a Red Cross

Center

Make 1

With RST, stitch a #1 to two opposite sides of a #2.


Patches for the center arranged and ready to stitch.


Seam allowances can be pressed open or towards the dark, the choice is up to you. None of the seams in this center unit nest with any other.

Sweet and simple!

For this sample block I've chosen to press towards the darker 'A' fabric (#2 patch).


After sewing the #1's to each #2

With RST stitch a #1/#2/#1 unit to each long side of the center #3.

Press towards the #3 patch to reduce any bulk.


The finished center

Your center is complete.

Block Measurement at this Point

Finished Block SizeEdge-to-Edge Measurement
5"3-1/2" x 3-1/2"
7-1/2"5" x 5"
10"6-1/2" x 6-1/2"
15"9-1/2" x 9-1/2"


Sides

Make 2

Red Cross pieced side units

Construct just 2 of this unit.

With RST sew a #2 to both short sides of a #4. 

#2/#4/#2 border unitMake 2

Press SAs toward #4 to help the seams nest as the units are added to the center.


Step 3: Assemble the Red Cross block

Arrange the center, sides and remaining two #4's to create the Red Cross design.


Add a #4 rectangle to two opposite sides of the center. Stitch.

Press the SA toward #4 to reduce bulk.



Add the #2/#4/#2 pieced sides as shown below. The SA nest at the corners.

Press this last pair of seams away from the center.


Our Red Cross quilt block is complete!Our Red Cross is complete!


Using the Red Cross block in a quilt

A simple block. 

So what do Red Cross blocks look like set into a quilt?

To separate the blocks, a simple sashing strip in white and a red cornerstone are added. (The center of the 9-patch that's formed is the cornerstone.) The only thing to match in the construction of this quilt are at the corners of the sashing.

The blocks are laid out in a straight set, 5 across and 7 down.


Red Cross blocks used in quiltI've removed the block outlines from this drawing so that you can better see the quilt design.

What will you make with your Red Cross blocks?

Return to the Free Quilt Block Pattern Library for more blocks to make.


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 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.

Why?

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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