An Easy Sailboat Quilt Block Pattern

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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Sailboat quilt block tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 4x4

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.

General Instructions

These abbreviations are used in the tutorial:

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

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

Step 1: Cut the Sailboat patches

Sailboat quilt blockSailboat pattern

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".

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Sailboat Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
4” 6” 8” 12”
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”
Grid Size 1” 1-1/2” 2” 3”

These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric patches.

Step 2: Assemble the units

Half Square Triangles (HST)

Sailboat quilt block pattern - HST units

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.

Stitch a quarter inch away from the line on both sidesThe arrow points to the drawn diagonal. I like a mechanical pencil for this because the line is always the same width.

Cut the two pairs apart on the drawn line. Press with the SA toward the darker fabric.

Cut the sewn #4/#5 pairs in two on the drawn line

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.

Block Size
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.

Four perfect half square triangles

Sew these into two pairs of HSTs with the diagonal seam moving from upper right to lower left.

Stitch the HSTs into pairsPress the SA in the direction of the arrows

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.

Stitch #6 to each side of the HSTs unit

Connector Corners

Sailboat quilt block pattern - boat 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.

Sew a connector cornerThat little messy thing behind my needle is a 'spider'. I start my stitching on one. There's less change my machine will 'eat' the corner!

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)

Doublecheck the position of the second #3The drawn line is the stitching line

Trim away the excess fabric between the stitching and the lower corner, leaving behind a quarter inch SA. Press to the dark.

The stitch sailboat hull

Step 3: Assemble the Sailboat block

Arrange the units into rows.

Arrange the units into rowsPress the SA in the direction of the arrows

Stitch the rows together.

Ahoy 'me-maties! Your Sailboat quilt block pattern is finished and ready to set sail!

Finished Sailboat quilt blockOur finished Sailboat quilt block

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

For even more blocks to make...

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite!

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