From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
This Sailboat quilt block pattern combines cut patches with simple pieced units: connector corners and quick pieced half square triangles.
If you would prefer, click here for another sailboat quilt block pattern.
These abbreviations are used in the tutorial:
SA are 1/4" and pressed to the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.
The sample block has our Sailboat sailing during the daylight hours, but you could just as easily choose a night-time starry sky.
Choose fabrics with enough contrast so that the points on your half square triangles don't get lost.
I prefer patches for half square triangles (#4 and #5, noted with ** in the chart below) that are oversized by 1/4", sew the units and then cut down to perfection.
So for a #4 listed as 2-3/8"x2-3/8", I actually cut it at 2-5/8"x2-5/8".
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||Water||1||1-1/2” x 4-1/2”||2” x 6-1/2”||2-1/2” x 8-1/2”||3-1/2” x 12-1/2”|
|2||Boat||1||1-1/2” x 4-1/2”||2” x 6-1/2”||2-1/2” x 8-1/2”||3-1/2” x 12-1/2”|
|3||Sky||2||1-1/2” x 1-1/2”||2” x 2”||2-1/2” x 2-1/2”||3-1/2” x 3-1/2”|
|4**||Boat||2||1-7/8” x 1-7/8”||2-3/8” x 2-3/8”||2-7/8” x 2-7/8”||3-7/8” x 3-7/8”|
|5**||Sky||2||1-7/8” x 1-7/8”||2-3/8” x 2-3/8”||2-7/8” x 2-7/8”||3-7/8” x 3-7/8”|
|6”||Sky||2||1-1/2” x 2-1/2”||2” x 3-1/2”||2-1/2” x 4-1/2”||3-1/2” x 6-1/2”|
|Unfinished Block Size||4-1/2”||6-1/2”||8-1/2”||12-1/2”|
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.
Half Square Triangles (HST)
Our Sailboat quilt block pattern needs 4 of these units. We'll use the quick pieced method to make them.
With a pencil draw a single diagonal line on the lighter of either the #4 or #5 squares. (If you are making a sailboat at night, it's possible that your sky fabric will be darker than your boat fabric.)
With right sides together (RST) layer a #4 and #5 together. Stitch a quarter inch away from it on both sides.
Cut the two pairs apart on the drawn line. Press with the SA toward the darker fabric.
If you cut your patches the exact size, confirm they measure the correct size from the chart below. Then trim away the dog ears—those little points sticking out at the corners.
If you cut oversized patches like I do, trim the HST down as indicated.
|Trim HST to...|
|4”||1-1/2” x 1-1/2”|
|6”||2” x 2”|
|8”||2-1/2” x 2-1/2”|
|12”||3-1/2” x 3-1/2”|
After trimming, you have four perfect patches.
Sew these into two pairs of HSTs with the diagonal seam moving from upper right to lower left.
Stitch the pairs together, nesting the SA. This seam can be pressed to one side, open, or as I chose, twirled.
With RST, add a #6 to the left and right sides of this unit.
Draw a diagonal line on the back of both #3 patches.
With RST, line up the edges of one #3 with the right side of #2. The line should bisect the corner of #2.
This time, stitch ON the line.
Position the second #3 on the left side of #2. Make sure the drawn lines both bisect the upper corners of #2 as you look at them. (see arrows)
Trim away the excess fabric between the stitching and the lower corner, leaving behind a quarter inch SA. Press to the dark.
Arrange the units into rows.
Stitch the rows together.
Ahoy 'me-maties! Your Sailboat quilt block pattern is finished and ready to set sail!
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
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.
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!