The pinwheel quilt block is a true classic! Updated in bright colors, it makes any quilt instantly modern. Learning how to make this traditional quilt block is easy and is a perfect skill builder for any beginner quilter!
Let’s Get Started!
One of my favorite quilt blocks is the classic pinwheel quilt block.
At it’s core, it’s just a four-patch quilt block made from 4 half-square triangles (HSTs) but when used with fresh colors and fabrics, it is a very modern quilt!
The history of this quilt block goes as far back as the 1800s. The pinwheel represented windmills, with the darker fabric representing the blades.
This is a block where your color choices really do matter! You will want to create high contrast to make your “blades” stand out.
For this tutorial we are making a pinwheel quilt block that measures 6 inches when it is finished (which means it is 6.5″ unfinished). You need four half-square triangles (HSTs) that measure 3.5″ x 3.5″ to make this block.
You can find downloadable instructions to make this easy wall hanging made entirely of pinwheels in The Lucy Bird freebie library! The library is open to all but is password protected. Sign up for my email list and the password will be delivered to you!
Pinwheel Quilt Block | Fabric Requirements:
- Light Fabric (Fabric A) = two 4-inch squares
- Dark Fabric (Fabric B) = two 4-inch squares (note: in the photo above, I used I used 2 different fabrics that were the same color but had different tones to them. In some of the process photos below, you’ll see that sometimes I totally mixed up my darker colors! Just be creative!)
Pinwheel Quilt Block | Process
- Layer one square A with square B, right sides together. It will be helpful if your lighter square is on top. Draw a diagonal line on top square from corner to corner.
- Sew a ¼” seam along each side of the drawn line.
- Cut along the drawn line. This yields 2 half-square triangle (HST) units.
- Square up each unit to 3.5” square. VERY IMPORTANT!
- Press seams to darker side.
Each set of 4-inch squares yields 2 half square triangles.You like have noticed that HSTs are used EVERYWHERE in quilting.
Half-square triangles are THE PERFECT foundation block and in this case, you use four of them together to build a pinwheel quilt block!
Build your Pinwheel
Since a pinwheel quilt block is just a fancy four-patch quilt block, it comes together easily from here!
Take four half-square triangle and arrange them like a pinwheel (meaning the dark fabric keeps turning in a clock-wise pattern.)
Sew the top row together. Press to one side. Then sew the bottom row together, keeping in mind to press to the opposite side.
Now nest the seam together and build your perfect four-patch (AKA PINWHEEL!)
Repeat these steps to make a perfect quilt block!
If you loved the pinwheel, put your skills to the test and make this entire wall hanging! I promise it’s not too complicated and comes together quickly!
Grab your download here!
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