Shoofly Quilt Block Pattern

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

Shoofly quilt block tutorial

Skill Level:  Beginner

Grid:  3x3

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:

  • Simplicity
  • Fence Row Quilt
  • Eight Cornered Box

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.

General Instructions

Sample Block Size: 4-1/2"

Several abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

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

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.

Step 1: Cut the Shoofly patches

Shoofly quilt block designShoofly design

All it takes are two fabrics. Just be sure there's enough contract between the two.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Shoofly Quilt Block

~Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
3" 4½" 6" 7 1/2" 9"
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"
Grid Size 1" 1½" 2" 2½" 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.

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.

Cut the patches for the Shoofly quilt block

Step 2: Assemble the units

Half Square Triangles

Make 4

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.

Stitch on both sides of the drawn line

The arrow points to an anchor cloth.

Cut the patches apart on the drawn line to create 4 HSTs.

Cut the HSTs apart on the drawn line


Find your finished block size in the chart below and the corresponding HST dimensions. Trim as needed.

HST Dimensions

Block Size
Trim HST to…
3" 1½"
4½" 2"
6" 2½"
7 1/2" 3"
9" 3½"

Your half square triangles look like this.

Trimmed HST units ready for the block

Step 3: Assemble your Shoo Fly block

Lay out your patches in rows to create the Shoofly design.

Lay out the sewn units and cut squares

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.)

Press the seam allowances away from the HST

Stitch the rows together. The SAs nest to help make matching them pretty easy. Do use pins if you need them.

Nest the seam allowances to match the seams

Your finished Shoofly quilt block looks like this...

The finished Shoofly quilt block

...all ready for piecing into your next quilt project.

Common Variations on a Shoofly Quilt Block

The unifying element in each is a HST in each corner.

Snowball quilt block design


Two colors form the snowball with a third fabric, a background, finishes out the corners.

Snowball Variation

This time with just two fabrics with dark corners and center.

Snowball quilt block variation

Grandmother's Choice

This Shoofly quilt block is drawn on a 5x5 grid, sometimes called an uneven 9-patch. Still a two fabric block the corner units are twice as wide as the side center units.

Big O

This two color block changes up the construction just a bit. Four rectangles with connector corners are puzzle pieced around a center square using a piecing technique called 'partial seams'.

We used this piecing technique in the Double Star Quilt Block.

Big O quilt block

Click here to learn how to make 'Big O'.

Other blocks are called 'Shoofly',  too...

...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 quilt block aka Shoofly

Ohio Star or...

  • Eastern Star
  • Eight Point Design
  • Eight Point star
  • Lone Star
  • Star
  • Texas
  • Texas Star
  • Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too

Click here to learn to make an 'Ohio Star'.

Square in a Square

Square in a Square quilt block aka Shoofly

Churn Dash quilt block aka Shoofly

Churn Dash

Broken Plate, Double Monkey Wrench, Double T, Dragon's Head, Fisherman's Reel, Hens and Chickens, Hole in the Barn Door, Indian Hammer, Joan's Doll Quilt, Lincoln's Platform, Love Knot, Ludlow's Favorite, Old Mill Design, Picture Frame, Puss in the Corner, Quail's Nest, Sherman's March, Wrench

Path and Stiles

Far West
Stiles and Paths

Path and Stiles quilt block aka Shoofly

Click here to learn to make 'Path and Stiles'.

Corn and Beans quilt block aka Shoofly

Duck and Ducklings

Corn and Beans
Fox and Geese
Hen and Chickens
Handy Andy
Wild Goose Chase

Learn to make 'Duck and Ducklings'.


Eight Point All Over
Pavement Pattern
Triangles and Squares
Triangle Beauty

Alamanizer quilt block aka Shoofly

So many blocks. So little time!

Time to make more quilt blocks

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.

For even more blocks to make...

These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

Can you see the library sticker on the spine of Jinny Beyer's book? Yep. I check this copy out of our local library every few months for research.

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

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

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!

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