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Sew an Outstanding Shoo Fly Block With Only Squares & HSTs

Does it ever amaze you just how many traditional quilt blocks you can make with a simple nine-patch construction? You can add the shoo fly quilt block to the list! This classic block uses simple squares and half-square triangles to create a useful, versatile block.

Shoofly Block

This block looks great with two starkly contrasting fabrics, with a light fabric used for the background or a dark fabric used for the background.

How to sew a shoo fly quilt block

This tutorial shows you how to make 12″ finished block. 

What you need:

  • Two contrasting fabrics (two 10″ squares of each or one fat quarter of each)
  • 45-degree ruler
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • Regular quilting supplies

Using a 45-degree ruler to make half-square triangles saves time, saves fabric (because no trimming is needed) and creates more accurate finished triangle squares. If you don’t have one of these rulers, you can still make HSTs with another method; however, I recommend investing in one of these rulers!

I used Boundless Flower Shoppe pre-cuts for this tutorial.

Cutting instructions

First, cut two 4½” x 10″ strips from each of the two fabrics.

cut 2 strips

The quickest way to do this is to layer two contrasting 10″ squares right sides together, then cut at 4½” and trim the excess.

cut triangles

Then, cut a 4½” wide triangle cut a triangle from one end of each strip. Rotate the ruler and cut another triangle as shown, from each strip.

From the remaining fabric, cut four 4½” squares of light fabric, and one 4½” square of dark fabric.

Sewing the half-square triangles

arrange the units

Sew two contrasting triangles together along the long edge of the triangle, using a ¼” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance toward the dark fabric. Do this for all four triangle fabric pairs.

Sewing the block

finished churn dash

Arrange the triangle units and the 4½” squares as shown above.

Sew the triangle units and squares together into three rows. Press the seams away from the triangle units for the top and bottom rows. Press the seams away from the center block for the center row.

Sew the three rows together, nesting the seam allowances at the intersections. Pin if necessary.
Press the seams toward the center row. 

Size and color options for the shoo fly quilt block

churn dash four patch
  • Use 2½” strips and squares to make a 6” block. Perfect for jelly roll strips!
  • Alternate light and dark fabrics for the background to get a checkerboard effect as shown above (made with Lily & Loom Daisy Delights fabric).
  • Using the triangle ruler, make the block from any size strips you have on hand.

One Comment

Jill S

I think there’s an error in the fabric requirements. Wouldn’t you need just one 10″ square of each, rather than two 10″ squares of each, to make one block?

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