State Fair Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


Looks can be deceiving!

While it looks tricky, the State Fair quilt block is made using basic quilting units. Those pointy-points are easy-peasy—whether you choose traditional or paper piecing to make them.


In this tutorial you have:

  • Cutting charts in three sizes with downloads of the chart and block design for both traditional and paperpiecing

Time to cut up and sew!





Hate to paperpiece? Don't worry, I've got you covered. Click here to skip straight to instructions to make your State Fair quilt block with traditional methods.




General Instructions


These abbreviations are used in this State Fair quilt block tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • FG - Flying Geese unit
  • FGS - Flying Geese Side unit
  • BW - Brave World unit
  • SiaS - Square in a Square unit
  • Bac - background fabric

1/4" SA are used throughout this tutorial. 

If you need help printing this page, click here.

For paper piecing I like to use heavily starched quilt fabric. It cuts, sews and presses more accurately in my experience.

Learn more about the hows and why of starching quilt fabric here.

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

Then press the SA to the dark unless otherwise noted.

Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow to make them easy for you to spot.




Download and print paperpiecing pattern

Print the paper piecing patterns you need

You'll need the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer to download the pattern.

On the Adobe Print Menu page, under 'Page Size and Handling' set 'Custom Scale' to 100% before printing for accurate results. Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.

Choose your finished block size from the chart below and print the corresponding number of pages/copies.

Print Patterns
for your State Fair Quilt Block

Click on the number in each column.
Print that number of copies for each unit.

Finished
Block Size
Square in a Square Brave World Flying Geese
6" 1 1 1
9" 1 1 1
12" 1 2 1

After printing, use the 1" square graphic on the printed page(s) to confirm the patterns are printed at the correct size.


Just in time to stock your Christmas Stash...


Click any of the images below to see the full collection with bigger pictures and find pricing/ordering information.

Do you remember seeing a Christmas fabric you liked, but now can't remember its name or where you saw it. I've put every single Christmas fabric displayed on this website on one page. 

Click here to save yourself some time and frustration.



Step 1: Cutting for a State Fair quilt block

State Fair quilt block designState Fair design

Sample Block Size:

  • 9" finished
  • 9-1/2" unfinished

Grid: 6x6

Design attributed to: Nancy Cabot

Please label all your patches. We use their numbers and identifiers throughout this tutorial.

Print a copy of just the block design and cutting chart to use at your cutting table.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
State Fair Quilt Block

~ Paper PLUS Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block SizeSub
Cut
6'' 9 '' 12''
1 Bac 4 1¾'' x 1¾'' 2¼'' x 2¼'' 2¾'' x 2¾'' na
2, 3 Dark 4 2⅜'' x 2⅜'' 2⅞'' x 2⅞'' 3⅜'' x 3⅜'' Symbol for a half square triangle
4 Bac 2 3⅜'' x 3⅜'' 4⅜'' x 4⅜'' 5⅜'' x 5⅜'' Symbol for a half square triangle
5 Bac 5 1½'' x 2½'' 2 '' x 3½'' 2½'' x 4½'' na
Goose Dark 1 3⅝'' x 3⅝'' 4⅝'' x 4⅝'' 5⅝'' x 5⅝'' Symbol for a quarter square triangle
Sky Bac 4 2⅜'' x 2⅜'' 2⅞'' x 2⅞'' 3⅜'' x 3⅜'' Symbol for a half square triangle
Center Dark 1 1⅞'' x 1⅞'' 2⅝'' x 2⅝'' 3⅜'' x 3⅜'' na
C.2, C.3,
C.3, C.4
Bac 2 2⅜'' x 2⅜'' 2⅞'' x 2⅞'' 3⅜'' x 3⅜'' Symbol for a half square triangle
Unfinished Block Size 6 1/2'' 9 1/2'' 12 1/2'' ---
Grid Size 1'' 1 1/2'' 2'' ---

One of my favorite rulers for trimming HSTs down to size is the Bloc Loc Ruler. I can use the 4-1/2" size for trimming virtually all the HSTs I make.



Step 2: Assembling the units for a State Fair block

Cut out each pattern just a bit outside the dashed lines. There's no brownie points for trimming exactly on the line.

No need to waste any time being exact here.


Set up your sewing machine for paper piecing

  • Shorten your stitch length to 1.3-1.6mm or 16-20 stitches per inch
  • Install an open toe applique foot if you've got one. In not, use  the presser foot where it's easiest for you to see where the needle pierces the fabric

If you're new to paper piecing, please read my article, "Essential Paper Piecing Skills for Beginning Quilters: Sewing Machine Setup and Fabric Preparation" for a more detailed description of how to setup your machine and why.


When should the paper be removed?

I prefer to remove mine after the units are given a final trim, before they are sewn together into a block. Because we use precut patches, the outside edges are all on straight of grain to minimize any stretching.

If you've starched your fabrics, that helps, too.


Position Goose patch on FG patternQuickly, accurately position your first patch using the dashed guidelines

Position the first patch(es)

And finally, let's get the glueing done first so we can put our glue stick away.

Apply the tiniest dab of Elmer's Washable Glue Stick to adhere the Center, Goose and #1 patches to the unprinted side of their respective patterns.

Use the dashed guidelines around this first patch to position it.



Square in a Square

Make 1

Square in a Square unit

With RST, align the long edge of C.2 with the Center.

Stitch, starting a generous 1/4" before and ending a good 1/4" after the solid line between Center and C.2.

If the block size you're working on is big enough, you can add C.3 to the opposite side in the same manner before pressing.

On our 9" finished sample there is plenty of room to add C.3 before going to the ironing board.


Adding C.2

Helpful Hint

If you look closely in the photo above, you can see I scooched the C.2 a couple of threads past the cut edge of the dark Center.

This serves two purposes:

  1. Prevent the darker fabric from shadowing through the top of the quilt
  2. Avoid having to come back and trim away the offending darker fabric with a scissor—why waste the time?
Now back to our State Fair block...

Julie



Press the patches out from the Center.

Add C.4 and C.5 in the same manner.


Adding C.4 and C.5

Give your SiaS a good press.

To trim the unit to perfection, align the 1/4" line on your ruler with the solid outside line of the SiaS (not the dashed one). This cut ends up pretty much on the dashed line.

Trim. Rotate the unit a 1/4 turn and repeat. Continue until all four sides are trimmed

This is the finished SiaS with points a perfect 1/4" away from the outside edge. I LOVE PAPER PIECING for just this reason!


Trimmed SiaS


Flying Geese Sides (FGSs)

Make 4

Flying Geese side unit

With RST, line up the long edge of a Sky with the cut edge of the Goose.

It doesn't really matter which side you start with—left or right—unless you are making many blocks. Then be consistent with which side goes first to make your quilting time more efficient.

Stitch starting and ending past the outside dashed line.

Since the seam goes from one side to the other you can effectively chain piece these patches. 

In fact, every seam you sew in a FGS can be chain pieced! :)


Chain piecing FGsChain piecing the first Sky in our FGSs

Press.

Repeat for the second Sky, pressing to complete the FG.


Adding the second SkyAgain, I've nudged the lighter Sky a few threads past the dark edge of the Goose to avoid any shadowing

Trim the FG to size exactly how you trimmed the SiaS.

To complete our FGS, with RST, stitch a #5 rectangle to the bottom of each of your FGs.


Adding #5

Press with SA to the dark Goose patch. If the seam is a little lumpy, try my favorite method for pressing quilt blocks.

Repeat for all four pairs.


Four finished FG


Brave World (BW) units

Make 4

Brave World units

Paperpiecing is my absolute FAVORITE way to make these.

No matter how tired this quilter is, they always come out perfect just by sewing on a line.

With RST, align the short cut edge of #2 with #1 as shown below.


Adding #2 to #1 on our BW

Stitch, starting and stopping past the outside dotted line.


Sew #2 to #1

Press.

With RST, align the short edge of #3 with #1 and stitch the seam as before.


Add #3

Press.

Before adding #4, it's time to give our BW a trim.

At your cutting mat, align the edge of your ruler with the solid line between #2/#3 and #4.


Prepare to trim the SA on #1/#2/#3

Use your finger to make a crease on that line (blue arrow).


Fold on the seamlineThere's no way to escape tearing the paper on a BW

Fold the paper back on the crease and align the 1/4" line (blue arrow) on your ruler directly on top of the folded edge.

Trim away the excess with your rotary cutter.


Trim away the excess past a 1/4

You've just created the perfect 1/4" edge to align #4 with.

With RST, add #4.

Again, I scooched the edge of #4 a bit past the cut edges of #2/#3 (blue arrow below) to avoid any chance of the darker fabric shadowing through the lighter one.

Did you tear the paper on your pattern?

It's unavoidable with this type of design. You can see where it's torn on my sample below. It's just part of the process of making our State Fair quilt block.

If you think you've torn the paper a bit too much, you can always use Scotch Brand Magic Tape® to repair it. Just don't iron directly on the tape.

Because this last seam runs from outside corner to outside corner, you can chain piece when adding #4.

A nice little time saver, isn't it?!!!

Yes, the paper will tear


Give your BW a good press. Then trim to size. 

Here they are after trimming to perfection and removing the paper.


Four finished BW


Time to finish our State Fair quilt block

Click here for instructions to finish your State Fair block, or...

...here, if you'd prefer to use traditional piecing methods.

The choice is yours!




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...

...you 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.



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Favorite Paper Piecing Tools

For a complete list of all the tools I personally use, click here to read 'The Right Tools Make Your Job Easier', part of a series called, "Essential Paper Piecing Skills" series. 



The serrated edge on this short-bladed scissor make it easy to trim seam allowances—my all-time favorite scissor.

For other sizes, click here.