Blog > Scrappy Pinwheel Block Tutorial

Scrappy Pinwheel Block Tutorial

July 1, 2014

Hello quilting friends!  This tutorial is one I should have done about a year ago.  The most popular quilt that is hanging in my shop now is my pinwheel quilt.

So many of my customers at Pink Castle Fabrics ask me, “Oh, is there a pattern for that??”  And I say no and then a draw out for them how to make the block on a post it note and send them on their way.  I decided this week to start on a new pinwheel quilt using my scraps and fat quarter stash and I thought I should finally put together a little tutorial on how it’s done.

This tutorial will show you how to create an 8″ pinwheel block using a strip piecing method.  It’s pretty fast once you get the hang of it too.  I can make 8 blocks in just one episode of Buffy!  It’s really easy to make when you use a solid Jelly Roll for the background.  I used a Bella White jelly roll last time and just bought a little bit of yardage for the layout.  All the major solid brands have them now, Kona, Bella, RJR…AND they make them in more than just white.  So you can have a gray or navy or aqua background or whatever!

This is also not the only layout you can use.  I show you at the bottom of the post a more traditional (and easier) layout just by sewing all your blocks together in rows.  Anyway, on with the show!

Step 1: Choosing your Fabrics

I am choosing to use fat quarters (18″ x 22″) and some longer scraps I have.  You can use fat eighths (9″ x 22″) or a jelly roll (2.5″ x 44″) as well.  So this is a great pattern to use up some of those precuts you have laying around in your sewing room.  The only thing you want to watch for is making sure the fabrics you choose have a good contrast to your background (or not if you like that sort of thing…).  I’m mostly cutting a 2.5″ strip from the long side (the 22″ side) of fat quarters I have in my stash already.  I buy tons of those FQs and they need a home in a good quilt!

The amount you will need depends on the size of your quilt.  If you want to make the quilt layout below (lap size 64″ x 72″) you will need 72 blocks.  You can make 2 blocks from one jelly roll strip (2.5″ x 44″).  So, one jelly roll is enough.  You will need one white (or whatever color) jelly roll for background if you are using that or about 2.75 yards of background yardage.

Step 2: Cutting your Fabrics

The amount of work on this step really depends on what cuts of fabric you have.  (Also, an Accuquilt and a 2.5″ strip die is helpful!)  You will need for the lap quilt below:

cut 72 – 2.5″ x 19″ strips background (or cut a jelly roll strip in half)

cut 72 – 2.5″ x 19″ strips prints

** IF you do not care if this is that scrappy or you are using jelly rolls, you can use (or cut from half yards) 2.5″ x 44″ (width of your fabric) strips and sew them together selvedge to selvedge.  Then cut 8 blocks instead of 4 on the next step and you will have enough for two blocks!  Time saver! **

Step 3: Creating your Block

Again, this will create an 8″ finished block (it will measure 8.5″ x 8.5″ until sewn together).

First take one background strip and one print strip and sew them together longways as shown:

Subcut this block into 4.5″ squares (the dotted lines) as shown above.  We made these 19″ so you should have a little leftover at the end.  

Next you want to sew two of your new squares together like shown below.  You will do this twice!  You will have two of these!  I chose to have each pinwheel block in my quilt be made from the same fabric.  You can decide to mix all these up if you’d like for a SUPER scrappy look!

Finally, you will flip one of the two “7” shaped blocks you made above and sew both together as shown below:

Ta Da!  Your block is done!  Just repeat that 72 times ! No big deal!  Then you lay out your blocks on your design wall/floor/bed and sew them together in rows.  I used a 8 x 9 layout for the lap quilt below:

Voila! A super awesome and super easy quilt top!  You can make more or less blocks for any size quilt you want.  AND you can use those precuts you have been hoarding!  Neptune Jelly Rolls???  

You can add your photos to our Flickr pool!  Make sure to share on Instagram or Twitter with #scrappypinwheelquilt


Carla July 2, 2014

How big is the on point setting you have at the top of your post? Thanks!

Pam November 20, 2014

Thank you for the tutorial! I am going to make a baby quilt version of this. Love your quilt!