Ribbon Quilt Block Instructions

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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The Ribbon Quilt block tutorial starts here...

The Ribbon Quilt block is a quickie to put together when you use our 8-at-a-time method for making half square triangles. Just add a center square and you're done!

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General Instructions

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These abbreviations are used in this lesson:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangle

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

Step 1: Cutting patches for a Ribbon block

Ribbon patchwork designRibbon design

To ensure that the points of your star are easy to see, choose fabrics with a high contrast. 

In the sample block, I've used a cream for my Light fabric and an orange print (with no cream in it) for my Dark.

This block could easily be pieced using a variety of scrappy dark fabrics, too.

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Cutting Chart for a
Ribbon Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
4 1/2" 6 " 9 " 12”
1 L 1 5 1/4” 6 1/4” 8 1/4” 10 1/4”
2 D 1 5 1/4” 6 1/4” 8 1/4” 10 1/4”
3 L 1 2” 2 1/2” 3 1/2” 4 1/2”
Unfinished Block Size 5 " 6 1/2" 9 1/2" 12 1/2”
Grid Size 1 1/2" 2 " 3 " 4”

Step 2: Create the half square triangles (HST)

Ribbon Quilt block - hst unit

The Ribbon Quilt block is the perfect opportunity to use the 8-at-a-time method for making HST. We'll start with patches that are slightly over-sized and then trim to perfection once the stitching is complete.

To begin, on the backside of the #1 square draw a light diagonal line between each pair of corners. I prefer a mechanical pencil for this marking because the line stays nice and fine.

Layer the #1 and #2 squares with right sides together (RST) and stitch a 1/4" from both sides of each diagonal line. Pin if it helps you keep the layers together. (The red arrow below points to my 'spider'—a scrap piece of fabric that I begin my stitching on to prevent my machine from chewing up the point of the two squares.)

Stitch the HSTsA standard quarter inch foot works well for this stitching.

Give the squares a quick press so that they lay flat for the next step.  (It's helpful if you have a rotating or small cutting mat for this next step so that you turn the mat instead of moving the fabric patches.)

From the chart below, find your finished block's size and it's corresponding Center/Midpoint measurement. For our 6" finished sample block that measurement is 3-1/8"

Block Size
Center/Midpoint Trim HST to...
4 1/2" 2 5/8” 2”
6" 3 1/8” 2 1/2”
9" 4 1/8” 3 1/2”
12" 4 5/8” 4 1/2”

Line up this center/midpoint measurement (red arrow) on your ruler with the edge of your quilt block.

Cut along the opposite side of your ruler. Ideally that opposite side lines up right with the middle of the drawn 'X'. If it's off a wee bit, don't worry, the original squares are generously sized.

Repeat for the other side of the patches so that you end up with four squares equal to the center/midpoint number. For our example, we have four 3-1/8" squares.

Then cut each in half along the drawn pencil line as shown below—scissors or rotary cutter, either is just fine.

Eight HST from two squares.8 HST from just 2 squares of fabric...not too shabby!

Press each of the HST units with the SA toward the dark fabric and trim to size as noted in the chart above.

Click here if you need more detailed instructions for this method of making HST.

Step 3: Assemble the Ribbon Quilt block

Arrange the HST and center square as shown below. The corners all have the lighter #1 pointing out.

Arrange the units into rows.

Stitch the units in each row together.

Honestly, this is the hardest part because it's so easy to get units switched around. If we organize the rows a bit differently, you can see that the top and bottom rows are actually pieced exactly the same.

The stitched rowsIt's much easier to see what's going on when the rows are laid out like this isn't it?

Now lay the rows out again like they are in the finished block.

Lay out the rows in orderPress the SA in the direction of the arrows

I used pins to help keep the points exactly lined up with the seam lines.

After joining the rows, this is the finished Ribbon Quilt block, all ready for a quilt!

The finished Ribbon Quilt blockFull of pointy-perfection!

Closely Related Blocks

There are instructions on this site for two other blocks that closely resemble the Ribbon Quilt block.

On the left is the Friendship Star made with quick pieced half square triangles. On the right is the Mississippi—made completely with the Connector Corners technique. No triangles. None at all!

Friendship Star quilt block tutorial Mississippi quilt block tutorial

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 julie@generations-quilt-patterns.com.

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...

...you 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, read about them HERE.

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