From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
The Shoofly quilt block is a terrific block for the beginner quilter because it contains only half square triangles and cut squares.
A cameleon quilt block because several are based on this very simple structure.
You may know this block by one of several other names:
Click the underlined names above for more traditional versions of the block.
On this page you'll find the instructions to make this block in 5 different sizes, along with several variations on the design itself.
Sample Block Size: 4-1/2"
Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:
All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".
When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Seam allowances are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.
All it takes are two fabrics. Just be sure there's enough contract between the two.
Cutting Chart for a~Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1**||L||2||1⅞" x 1⅞"||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"||3⅞" x 3⅞"|
|2**||D||2||1⅞" x 1⅞"||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"||3⅞" x 3⅞"|
|3||L||4||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||3 " x 3 "||3½" x 3½"|
|4||D||1||1½" x 1½"||2" x 2"||2½" x 2½"||3" x 3"||3½" x 3½"|
|Unfinished Block Size||3½"||5"||6½"||8"||9½"|
| **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. |
There is a chart further down in these instructions where you need it for trimming them to size.
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.
These are the cut patches.
Half Square Triangles
Use the Quick Pieced technique to make these units. (Click here for more detailed instructions for this technique.)
Draw a diagonal line on the backs of the two light #1s with a pencil just dark enough to see.
With RST, layer a #1 and #2 together and stitch 1/4" away from both sides of the drawn line. Repeat for the second pair.
Cut the patches apart on the drawn line to create 4 HSTs.
Find your finished block size in the chart below and the corresponding HST dimensions. Trim as needed.
|Trim HST to…|
Your half square triangles look like this.
Lay out your patches in rows to create the Shoofly design.
Stitch the units in each row together.
Press flat to set the seam and then SAs toward the solid square. (See the arrows in the diagram below.)
Stitch the rows together. The SAs nest to help make matching them pretty easy. Do use pins if you need them.
Your finished Shoofly quilt block looks like this...
...all ready for piecing into your next quilt project.
The unifying element in each is a HST in each corner.
This time with just two fabrics with dark corners and center.
We used this piecing technique in the Double Star Quilt Block.
...and quite a few others, in fact!
We've listed them here with the other block that carries the same name. Underlined names are links to instructions for that alternate version of the block.
Ohio Star or...
Path and Stiles
Duck and Ducklings
The clock's ticking!
And there's more where this block came from. Just visit our Free Quilt Block Patterns library for more!
For layout and design inspiration, visit Quilt Design 101.
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!