Spring Fancy Quilt Block Tutorial: 6", 9", 12", and 15" finished

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

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Spring has sprung, and our Spring Fancy Quilt Block is the perfect way to add a little "spring" to your step.

This 4-pointed star quilt block captures perfectly the season's playful spirit with a burst of fresh energy in those perky pointy-points.

But don't worry, creating this fanciful block is easier than you think!

The Spring Fancy quilt block tutorial starts here

We'll guide you through the process with clear step-by-step instructions, so you can get back to enjoying the sunshine and fresh blooms in no time.

So, what are you waiting for?

Let's hop to it and create something beautiful this Spring!

As always, beginner-friendly, illustrated instructions are the backbone of the tutorial. There's more free goodies available for you to download to help you. They are:

Cut. Sew. Press. Turn your fabric into MAGIC!

General Instructions

Several abbreviations are used on this page. They are:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • TiaS - triangle in a square

A 1/4" SA is used in this tutorial.

Highlighted in yellow, pressing instructions are easy to spot.

First press the patches in the closed position as they came off your sewing machine. This sets the seam, melding the fibers of the threads into the fibers of the fabric.

SA are pressed to the dark unless otherwise noted.

Download and print paper piecing pattern

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

To download the pattern, use the most current version of Adobe.

For accurate results, on Adobe's Print Menu page, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100%. Then print.

Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.

Choose your Finished Block Size from the chart below.

Print the corresponding number of pages for a total of 4 TiaS units and one template for the TiaS.1.

Print the Triangle in a Square
Paper Piecing Units

Spring Fancy
Finished Block Size
# of copies
per block
TiaS Unit Size
6" 1 2" Print 1
9" 1 3"
12" 2 4"
15" 4 5" Print 1

After printing your pattern and template

Use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) to double-check that your patterns printed at the correct size.

Then cut out the required number of patterns from your copies. A rough cut is good enough—an 1/8"-1/4"-ish away from the outside dashed square.

For a TiaS template, cut it out exactly on the top and bottom lines. You don't need to be so picky with the angled sides.

Read my review of 6 paper piecing papers available on the market

Not sure which paper to use?

Take a look at my review of several of the most popular brands available to us quilters on the market.

You want a super-easy paper to tear away—less stress on the stitches. 

The newest quilt fabrics to tickle your fancy...

Click the images below to see the full collection. We share any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them, too. (For inspiration, of course!)

Step 1: Cutting fabrics for your Spring Fancy quilt block

The Spring Fancy quilt block designSpring Fancy patchwork design

Sample Block Size:  9" finished /9 ½" unfinished

Grid:  12x12 

Attribution:  Doris Sprecher (Traditional Quilter)  

Design Type:   Star  | 9-Patch

To keep things organized and easy to follow, label your patches. We'll be referring to them by number throughout this tutorial.

When I picked fabrics for this block, my original idea was to choose gradated, hand-dyed fabrics to represent the different shades from light to dark.

To my surprise, I ended up with a fun, deep hued tone-on-tone print(#1), Grunge (#2), and another tone-on-tone turquoise for the Side/Side.R.

The combination of textures added depth and intrigue to an otherwise straightforward design.

To print a copy of the block design and cutting chart to use at your cutting table, click here.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Spring Fancy Quilt Block

~ Paper PLUS Traditional Piecing ~

Patches shown Width x Height
PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
6'' 9'' 12'' 15''
1 Dark 4 2'' x 2'' 2¾'' x 2¾'' 3½'' x 3½'' 4¼'' x 4¼''
2 Medium 8 1'' x 2'' 1¼'' x 2¾'' 1½'' x 3½'' 1¾'' x 4¼''
3 Dark 4 1'' x 1'' 1¼'' x 1¼'' 1½'' x 1½'' 1¾'' x 1¾''
TiaS.1 Bac 4 3'' x 2¾'' 4'' x 3¾'' 5'' x 4¾'' 6'' x 5¾''
Side, Side.R Light 4 2⅞'' x 3¼'' 3⅜'' x 4¼'' 3⅞'' x 5¼'' 4⅞'' x 7¼''
4 Bac 1 2½" x 2½" 3½" x 3½" 4½" x 4½" 5½" x 5½"
Unfinished Block Size 6½'' 9½'' 12½'' 15½''
Grid Size ½" ¾'' 1'' 1¼''

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Subcutting the Triangle in a Square patches

Group the four Side/Side.R rectangles in pairs with right sides together. We do this so that with one cut, we have the required 4 pairs of mirror imaged patches.

Layer the Side/Side.R rectangles in pairs, RST.2 pairs layered right sides together. Their edges need to be aligned before cutting.

Then push those two pairs together, all edges even. 

With a pencil, make a mark 5/8" in from the top-left side and 5/8" in from the lower bottom-right side.

Line up your ruler with these marks where they meet the edge of the patches and cut in half.

Subcutting Side and Side.R

Next, stack the four TiaS.1 rectangles, edges even.

Since this patch is symmetrical left and right, it doesn't matter if the rectangles are right side up or down.

Position your trimmed TiaS.1 template so the top and bottom edges are even with the fabric. (The width or wider side of these cut rectangles must be on the top and bottom edges.) If the template top and bottom isn't even with the cut edges, turn the patches a 1/4 turn and realign the template.

Cut away the excess. The cutting doesn't need to be exactly perfect. Close is good enough.

Subcutting TiaS.1 trianglesWhen we cut the sides of this shape, the template is trimmed at the same time.

Step 2: Assemble the units for your Spring Fancy block


Make 4      

TiaS designThe TiaS unit

First let's get our sewing machine ready for some paper piecing.

General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16–20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6 mm). This perforates the paper and stabilizes the seam when you remove the pattern. [Learn more about stitch length here.]
  • Reduce your machine's speed or just plain slow down. Sew only as fast as you can stay on the stitching lines.
  • Install an open toe appliqué foot (sometimes called an 'embroidery' or 'satin stitch' foot) if you have one (it's easier to see where you're stitching with one installed). 
  • If your machine has a needle stop up, use it. The stitching goes faster when you don't have to lift the presser foot with every seam.
  • As you stitch each seam, start and stop a generous 1/4” before and after the solid stitching lines. ALWAYS. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.

After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam and then open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.

Before adding the next patch, take a look to make sure the one you just added covers the space plus seam allowance that it is supposed to.

Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern. 

If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.

It truly depends on my mood.

Remember, as you follow this paper piecing tutorial, the printed and the fabric sides of this block are mirror-images of each other.

At last!

Let's sew!

Position the wrong side of a TiaS.1 patch on the unprinted side of the pattern between the dashed guidelines.

A dab of Elmer's Washable Glue stick holds it in place nicely. (Just a dab, it's a temporary hold.)

Position the TiaS.1 on the unprinted side of the pattern

With RST, align the long bias edge of the Side with the TiaS.1. For our TiaS, the wide end of the Side is paired with the top of the triangle-shape, the narrow end at the base.

With these oversized patches, match the point on the short end of the Side with the point at the base of the TiaS.1. (red arrow)

Position the first Side patchFlip the patch open for a quick check that the patch is aligned correctly.

Sew on the solid line between TiaS.1 and Side, starting and stopping past the outside dashed edges of the block.

In fact, you can chain piece this seam on all four TiaSs to save time because the seam runs clear across the TiaS pattern.

Sew the seam between the patches


Repeat the process for the Side.R patch. 

Position Side.RAgain, match the points at the base of the triangle.

Yep, that side can be chain pieced, too.

Didn't know there'd be chain piecing in paper piecing, eh? Surprise! Surprise!

Here's one of the untrimmed TiaSs. 

Our completed, yet untrimmed TiaSWaiting to be trimmed to the perfect size

With our Magic Wand—AKA rotary cutter—with a couple of passes we'll have the perfect unit.

Line up the 1/4" line of your ruler with one side of the solid square. (red arrow)

I find it so much more accurate to do it this way, instead of trying to align the edge of the ruler with the outside dashed edge of the block. More than my far-sighted eyes need to strain to do.

Trim away the excess from all sides of all the TiaSs.

Trimming the TiaSThe one side of our TiaS is trimmed.

Our TiaSs are trimmed to perfection, with the top point precisely 1/4" from the top edge.

Plus, the seams at the base of TiaS.1 are approximately 1/8" in from the bottom sides, just as they should be.

Remember, taking your time to stitch directly on the line makes all the difference in the world when it comes to creating the perfect block.

All four TiaS are trimmed

Return your sewing machine to your everyday settings.

We stitch the remainder of the block with traditional techniques.

Install your favorite quarter inch presser foot. Adjust the needle position if needed. Increase to your normal piecing stitch length.

Now it's time to ditch the paper pattern.

Our patches were cut to ensure all edges have a straight grain, just like traditional piecing. Don't wait until later and struggle to remove the paper from your seam allowances.

Remove it now and let's get on with our Spring Fancy block.


Make 4      

The Corner designCorner design

With RST, stitch a #2 to the right side of a #1 and stitch a #3 to the short side of a #2. Use the photos below for reference.

Press the SAs towards the darker #1 and #3 in each group.

Arrange the #1, #2, and #3 patches into the Corner design

Next stitch the #1/#2 to the #2/#3. The seam nests to make matching easier.

Sew the rows together to form the Corner

Press towards #1.

Use the chart below for a quick check that your Corners are accurate. Make any adjustments now.

After sewing, the Corners measure...

Block Size
6" 2½" x 2½"
9" 3½" x 3½"
12" 4½" x 4½"
15" 5½" x 5½"

Step 3: Assemble the Spring Fancy quilt block

Arrange your patches with the TiaS in the center on the sides and the Corners in...well...the Corners with their large dark #1 patches on the outside.

Arrange all the cut and sewn patches into the Spring Fancy design

Sew the units in each row together.

If you were deliberate when you stitched those TiaSs, and keep the edges aligned as you stitch the units into rows, the bottom points of the triangles end up right 1/4" in from the edge.

It's a beautiful thing.

Pin to help keep those edges even as you stitch.

The units are sewn into rows

The SAs are pressed AWAY from the TiaS in all the rows.

Stitch the rows together, pinning as needed.

Press the SA TOWARD the center row.

This is a pretty dynamic block for such simple piecing, don't you think?

The completed Fancy Spring quilt block

Finally, a quick look at the backside to see how all that pressing works together.

The back of our Spring Fancy block

Looking for something truly stellar?

To browse all the star quilt block patterns in one place, click here

You've finished your star quilt block, and you're ready for more!

Browse our collection of 50+ stellar star quilt block patterns. All have instructions and cutting charts in multiple sizes. If templates or paper piecing is used in the tutorial, there's a free download for you of those materials.

Eeny. Meenie. Miney. Moe.

Which star quilt block will you sew?

There's more quilt blocks to make

For EVEN MORE blocks to make, visit our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library, with over 220+ blocks to choose from in multiple sizes.

Free downloads are included in all sizes for any blocks require paper piecing patterns or templates.

This article was printed from Generations-Quilt-Patterns.com

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