The rail fence quilt block is a great traditional quilt block for beginners, but everyone can appreciate its versatility and dynamic design.
Learn how to sew a traditional rail fence quilt block with pre-cut fabric strips.
Finishing at 12″ (12½” unfinished), this quilt block is also a great size for sampler quilts and bees!
What you need:
- Using a roll of pre-cut fabric strips: Select 3 different strips that are 2½” x width of fabric. I used Lily and Loom Modern Hand Drawn Pop Art Fabric.
- Cutting strips from fat quarters: Cut 2 strips each from three different fabrics; each strip should be 2½” x 14″.
- Cutting strips from yardage: Cut 3 strips that are 2½” x 28″ long.
Lay out the three different fabric strips side by side. Sew two strips right sides together using a ¼” seam allowance. Press the seam toward the darker fabric. Add the third strip to the strip set and sew right sides together, again with a ¼” seam allowance. Press toward the darker fabric. The entire strip should measure 6½” wide.
Note: If you’re piecing your strips from fat quarters, you’ll need to sew more than one long strip set. Just make sure to sew both strip sets in the same order (for example, white-purple-blue).
Using your ruler and a rotary cutter, cut 6½” sections of the strip set. Be careful to cut straight across, so that the cut is perpendicular with the seams. Cut a total of four blocks that are each 6½” square.
There are two different arrangements you can make with your blocks. With mine, I can choose to arrange the blue stripes radiating from the center:
Or I can turn the blocks so that the white strips touch and radiate from the center:
There’s no right or wrong here. Just pick the one you like best. I think I prefer the arrangement with the white in the middle.
Stitch together the blocks in each row.
Then press the fabrics away from the block with perpendicular seams. When you do this with both strip sets, the seams will nest together nicely in the middle of the rail fence block.
Stitch together the two rows, making sure to line up the center seam. Press this final seam to one side.
If needed, trim the block to 12½” square.
Have fun playing with different color arrangements! What happens when you put the lighter colors on the outside, or create an ombre effect? Can you make it scrappy, or use only solids?