Today's tutorial is going to focus on a pinwheel quilt block I called the windy pinwheel block.
Like most traditional quilt blocks there are several variations on the pinwheel block. Traditional pinwheel quilt block patterns are constructed using four half-square triangle pieces arranged to look like a pinwheel.
But, today we are going to focus on the fun version, the double pinwheel block pattern. A double pinwheel is just the combination of two quarter square triangles and one half square triangle to make one unit. Four small units are sewn together to make the block.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH PINWHEEL BLOCKs?
- Make a charming pinwheel baby quilt for a little person
- Use simple pinwheel blocks as a pillow accent
- Sew a few together to make a stunning table runner
- Decorate a plain tote bag with pinwheel blocks
- Embellish the edge of homemade pillowcases
- Make pinwheel potholders and table mats for the kitchen
The pinwheel quilt pattern in this tutorial is featured in the Accuquilt Go! Me pattern and idea book that came with my Accuquilt Go! Me cutter. The dies used are the dies that came with the machine. With these two dies, a combination of many quilt blocks can be made.
I will walk you through the whole process of making the windy pinwheel block from the cutting of the fabric with an Accuquilt cutter to assembling the block with a sewing machine.
But don't stress, if you don't have an Accuquilt cutter, instructions are included below showing how to construct the double pinwheel block in the traditional manner with a rotary cutter and mat.
Learn how to make this windy pinwheel block by watching the video first and then follow by reading this post with its photo tutorial with step-by-step instructions.
COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to
watch the whole video tutorial, click the link Windy Pinwheel Quilt Block Pattern to watch in Youtube.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate
Statement for more information.
supplies needed for the pinwheel block:
- Cotton Pinwheel Fabric
- Cotton Background Fabric
- Accuquilt Go! Cutter with Accuquilt dies:
- Half Square Triangle 3" Finished Square Die
- Quarter Square Triangle 3" Finished Square Die
- OR Rotary Cutter, Mat, and Ruler
- As in most sewing projects, you need a sewing machine, iron and ironing board.
The finished quilt block before being sewn into a quilt will be 6 1/2" which includes the seam allowance. However, you can make it in different sizes just by using different die sizes.
The pinwheel block is a basic four patch meaning it has 4 units. It is made up of 4 smaller units sewn together to make the pinwheel block.
To make one pinwheel block with the Accuquilt cutter you will need:
- Pinwheel Fabric - 4 quarter square triangles
- Background Fabric - 4 quarter square triangles
- Background Fabric - 4 half square triangles
accuquilt CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE pinwheel BLOCK
An Accuquilt cutter will cut all of the triangles needed for this block (or project) very quickly. If you would like to learn more about the Accuquilt cutting system including a demonstration and pros and cons, click the link for our review.
Step 1: Cutting Fabric Strips
In order to cut the triangles with an Accuquilt cutter, you need to cut fabric strips first.
To determine the width of the fabric strip to cut, measure the width of the design section on the Accquilt die. Add 1/2" extra (some people only add a 1/4") to this measurement and cut strips from the fabric. For the quarter square triangles, cut strips that are 4 3/4" wide.
For the half square triangles, cut strips that are 4" wide.
Step 2: Cut triangles with the Accuquilt Cutter
Let's begin by cutting the quarter square triangles. With these cutting machines, up to 6 layers of cotton quilter fabric can be cut at a time.
Take one of the pinwheel fabric strips and fan-fold it over the design on the die to cover it up until you have up to six layers of quilters cotton. Peek under the folded fabric to make sure the design is entirely covered.
Place the clear cutting mat over the fabric and send it through the cutter.
Slide off the cutting mat and since there were six layers of fabric with one pass through the cutter you have quickly cut 24 quarter square triangles.
Repeat the process, making quarter square triangles from the background fabric.
Then use the half square triangle die to make half square triangles with the background fabric.
Repeat the process with the two dies and the fabric strips until you have cut enough blocks for the entire quilt or project.
One thing nice about using an Accuquilt cutter is the corners are cut off the triangles making them simple align and sew together and no dog ear ends to snip.
ROTARY CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE pinwheel BLOCK
The pinwheel block is still easy to make even if you don't have an Accuquilt cutter.
To make one block cut the following pieces:
- Print Pinwheel Fabric - 1 - 4 1/2" square
- Background Fabric - 3 - 4 1/2" squares
ASSEMBLING UNIT INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACCUQUILT CUT FABRIC
After cutting the fabric with an Accuuilt cutter, it's time to assemble the units.
STEP 1: Sew Quarter Square Triangles Together
Begin by sewing the smaller units together.
I like to keep a sample of the unit right by my sewing machine to make sure I am sewing it correctly.
Take one background quarter square triangle and one pinwheel fabric quarter square triangle with right sides together and sew along the short side of the triangle using a 1/4" seam allowance. A 1/4" seam allowance will be used throughout this block.
Repeat three more times using the chain piecing technique. Press seam toward the pinwheel darker fabric.
Step 2: Sew Half Square Triangle to Units
Next, sew one white half square triangle to each of the units by laying the half square triangle on top of the other unit and sewing along the long side of the triangle.
Repeat three more times.
Press this seam open. I know, I know, normally the seam is pressed to one side but for this pattern, some of the seams will be pressed open.
This is how the units should look once sewn together.
Are you concerned about stitching on the bias? If you are, simply spray a little Mary Ellen's Best Press on the fabric. This clear starch is a great way to stabilize the bias cut fabric.
ASSEMBLING UNIT INSTRUCTIONS WITH ROTARY CUT FABRIC PIECES
Step 1: Sew Squares and Cut Apart the Half Square Triangle Units
Grab the pinwheel fabric and one background fabric and on the wrong side of the lighter fabric, with a pencil, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.
Place the two fabric squares with rights sides together, aligning all four sides. Pin in place.
With a straight stitch, sew two seams, each 1/4" away from the marked center line. If you have a 1/4" quilter presser foot, this is very easy to do. If you don't have a 1/4" presser foot, you will need to draw the sewing lines on the fabric.
Use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut through both layers of the square on the center drawn line. Press to set the seam. Open the unit and press the seam allowance toward the darker fabric.
Step 2: Finish Sewing Units
Center one of the untrimmed half square triangle units on top of one of the 4 1/2" square background fabric pieces with right sides together. The background fabric will be slightly larger than the half square triangle unit.
With a pencil draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. Again sew two seams, each 1/4" away from the marked centerline. Cut through both layers of the squares on the marked center diagonal line.
Repeat the above process with the second half square triangle. You now have four pieces similar to the above picture. Set the seam, open the piece and press the seam open.
Trim the four units to 3 1/2" squares.
The finished rotary cut units look like this:
Now it's time to sew the units into a pinwheel block.
ASSEMBLING QUILT PINWHEEL BLOCK
These instructions for assembling the pinwheel block using the Accuquilt units and rotary cut units are exactly the same. It is best to lay out the four units into a pinwheel block right next to your sewing machine because it is so easy to get confused when sewing them together.
Grab the two units, fold them with the right sides facing each other, and sew them together.
Then, fold over the bottom two units and sew them together. Press the seams open.
Sew the two rows together, making sure the seams butt up together at the center. Press the seam open.
The Windy Pinwheel block is finished. This is how the front looks.
And this is how the Windy Pinwheel quilt block looks on the back.
The finished windy pinwheel block should measure 6 1/2" square.
The pinwheel block is a fun, versatile, simple quilt block that can be used in many projects. It can be used alone in a quilt or used in combination with lots of other blocks.
Was this tutorial helpful? If you enjoyed this project be sure to pin, bookmark and share.
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
looking for more great quilt block tutorials?