The Scrap Zig Zag Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library

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Skill Level: Beginner

The Scrap Zig Zag quilt block is a fun little piece of patchwork—just triangle squares and cut squares and rectangles. 

Scrap Zig Zag quilt block instructions

No points to match.

Simple piecing.

Quick to make, this block would be perfect for your quilting bee's next exchange.

Choose all scraps for either the dark or the light fabric and this little gem will live up to its name.

Let's get to the quilting!

General Instructions

All seam allowances are 1/4".

The following abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

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

When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam.

Next, open up the patches and press as instructed.

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Step 1: Cut the fabric patches

Scrap Zig Zag block designScrap Zig Zag quilt block design

Sample Size: 6" finished / 6" unfinished

Grid: 4x4

Design Type: Pinwheel

Attribution: Kansas City Star

Patches for the triangle squares are cut based on the Quick Pieced method and are denoted by a **.

I prefer to cut these patches a 1/4" larger, stitch and then trim each to the perfect size.

While a darker background fabric is used for the sample block, you can swap lights and darks.

Choose what works best for your quilt.

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Cutting Chart for a
Scrap Zig Zag Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
4'' 5" 6'' 8" 12''
1** A 1 1⅞'' x 1⅞'' 2⅛'' x 2⅛'' 2⅜'' x 2⅜'' 2⅞'' x 2⅞'' 3⅞'' x 3⅞''
2** Bac 0 1⅞'' x 1⅞'' 2⅛'' x 2⅛'' 2⅜'' x 2⅜'' 2⅞'' x 2⅞'' 3⅞'' x 3⅞''
3 Bac 0 1½'' x 1½'' 1¾'' x 1¾'' 2'' x 2'' 2½'' x 2½'' 3½'' x 3½''
4 A 0 1½'' x 2½'' 1¾'' x 3'' 2'' x 3½'' 2½'' x 4½'' 3½'' x 6½''
Unfinished Block Size 4½" 5½" 6½" 8½" 12½"
Grid Size 1'' 1¼" 1½" 2" 3''
**I prefer to cut my patches extra large for HST, stitch, and then trim them to size. If you prefer to do the same, add a bit extra to the measurements for Patches #1 and #2 above (I added 3/8" to each dimension for the sample block).

There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.

If you have a perfectly reliable 1/4" seam allowance use the dimensions in the cutting charts for these patches.

These are the cut patches.

Cut patches for a Scrap Zig Zag quilt block

Step 2: Construct the units

Half Square Triangles


Make 4

With a pencil or chalk draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of the lighter of either the t#1 or #2 squares.

With RST, pair a #1 and #2. Stitch a quarter inch from both sides of the drawn line.

Stitch HST units

Cut along the line to create 4 triangle square units.

Cut HSTs apart on drawn line

Press with the seam allowance towards the darker fabric.

Use the chart below to check that your stitched HST are the correct size. Trim if needed.

HST Dimensions
Block Size
Trim HST to…
4" 1½"
5" 1¾"
6" 2"
8" 2½"
12" 3½"

Click here for more detailed information on this Quick Pieced technique for making half square triangles if you need it.

Stitch the quarters

A quarter of the Scrap Zig Zag design

Make 4

Each quarter of this block is exactly the same.

Sew the #3 square to the #1/#2 half square triangle unit as show below. Press SA toward #3.

Repeat for the three remaining pairs.

Stitch HST to square

To this sewn unit, stitch the #4 rectangle to the side that contains both light and dark patches at the edge.

Press with the seam allowance towards the #4 rectangle.

Repeat for the 3 remaining pairs.

Step 3: Assemble the Scrap Zig Zag Quilt Block

Lay out the sub-units in two rows. Each is rotated a quarter turn as you move clockwise around the block.

Lay out units into rows

Stitch the pairs together into rows like this. Press the SA towards the light rectangle to reduce bulk.

Stitch units into rows

Stitch the rows together. For this block I chose to twirl the seam allowance in the center. From the back it looks like this...

Back of block with twirled seam allowance

And here is our finished Scrap Zig Zag quilt block from the front.

Finished Scrap Zig Zag quilt block

Ready for More Blocks?

Celebrate! The quilt block is finished!

That was fast!

If you're looking for more fun blocks to make, check out our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library for ideas for your next quilt project.

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:

  • 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!

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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, read about them HERE.

NOTE: All the attribution and alternate names shared in the Free Quilt Block Patterns Library came from these four resources.

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