Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks Tutorial

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks

 This same type of quilt is exactly what brought me to quilting 12 years ago.  Simple, modern looking patchwork like this will always be my first love.  

I wrote a tutorial for these type of “Stack and Whack” blocks way back when…so this is an update to that tutorial with some variations for you to try.  There are pros and cons to this type of block construction, but overall this is a great method for beginners, or if you want to make an easy quilt without having to think too much.  Which is me…always.  It’s also a perfect way to dip your toes into improv piecing.  

To start:  Figure out what size of blocks you want to make.  My starting squares in my quilt are 8 1/2″.  That’s my favorite size because you can cut 4 squares out of a fat quarter or 1/4 yard.  Your finished blocks will be 1 1/2″ smaller than your starting squares.  Here’s a simple chart if it gets confusing: 

Stack, Cut, and Sew block sizes

  1.  Layout 2 of the squares to make two blocks.  I used a white and a print square, but you can use two prints or any combination.  Place them on top of each other right sides up, matching up all of the edges.  
  2.  Cut a horizontal straight line along the top, in my example I cut 2″ down from the top edge. Repeat on the bottom edge, again my example I cut 2″ up from the bottom edge. 
  3. Cut a vertical line on the center portion, in from the right edge, and repeat with the left.  I cut 2″ in from the right edge, and 2″ in from the left edge.  This will create a square, or rectangle in the center depending on how wide or narrow you cut your edge strips.  
  4. Layout the pieces from the two cut squares as shown. 
  5. Sew the side pieces to the new center square, right sides together, press seams out. 
  6. Sew the top and bottom pieces to the center units, right sides together, press seams out.  Don’t worry about the overhang, or matching up the edges, you’ll trim that next. 
  7. Align the block on the cutting mat, and trim off the excess top/bottom strips to straighten the sides.  
  8. The two blocks will measure 1″ smaller than your starting squares (mine are 7 1/2″).  

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks

My favorite part about making blocks using this method, is that they are easily changed and customizable without doing any tricky math.  

Below are some examples of different blocks made with the same 8 1/2″ squares by cutting the strips different sizes.  You can use these as a guide and make up your own…you don’t need any specific measurements, just eyeball how wide or narrow you want your strips and cut.  You can’t mess these up…so have fun playing with them!  

  1.  Top, bottom, and sides strips are all cut 1 1/4″ in from the edges.  
  2. Top strip is 1 1/4″, bottom strip is 3 1/2″.  The right edge strip is 1 1/4″, and the left side is 3 1/2″.  
  3.  Top, bottom, and sides strips are all cut 3″ in from the edges. 
  4. Top is 2″, bottom is 1 1/2″.  Right side is 4″, left side is 1 1/2″.  

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks

If you are making a lot of blocks, you can stack and cut four squares at a time, and make four blocks at a time to speed things up.  I kept a stack of my 8 1/2″ square on my cutting mat, and when I had a free 10 minutes or so I’d go cut 4 more squares and quickly sew up 4 blocks.  

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks

Layout the squares and rotate blocks to avoid adjacent seams if there are any, then sew the blocks into rows, and sew the rows together to make the quilt top.  

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks

Here is a handy chart if you want to make a different quilt size using the 8 1/2″ squares like I did: 

Stack, Cut, and Sew Quilt Sizes and block requirements

Keep in mind that for my quilt, I used half white squares and half print squares.  So for example the Crib size requires 48 squares, so I cut 24 print 8 1/2″ squares, and 24 white 8 1/2″ squares.  You don’t have to use white…you can do this with all prints or any background fabric as long as you start with the required number of squares. 

Remember that you can get 4 – 8 1/2″ squares from each fat quarter or 1/4 yard (maybe even 5 squares if your yardage is wide enough).  You can get 16 squares out of a yard of fabric, maybe even 20 squares if your yardage is wider than 42 1/2″.  

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks and Crib Quilt

If you’ve never made a quilt this way I highly recommend doing it at least once, and if you know someone who wants to learn how to quilt, this is a great method to start them off with. 

Happy stacking, cutting, and sewing!  


Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks Tutorial with sizes
Stack, Cut, and Sew Block Square Sizes


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Happy Pandas Quilt

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew quilt Tutorial

Oh I love this cute quilt!  I’ve been wanting to update my Stack n’ Whack block tutorial for awhile now…and last week I started making blocks and I just couldn’t stop!

The panda print is from the line Urban Zoologie from Robert Kaufman, and it goes great with a punch of pink and black.  I love using one fun novelty print in a quilt with good basics and solids…it keeps it fun but still modern and clean looking. 

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew quilt Tutorial

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew quilt Tutorial

Jane will be 2 next month and I’m not okay with it.  How did I have her TWO years ago already??!!   

Every day after the big kids get on the bus, she chooses the same twirly dress to wear, and she twirls and sings in my empty bathtub while I take a quick shower.  It’s my favorite part of the morning.  Then she usually goes through all of my drawers and empties out all of my makeup and bosses me around.  ;) 

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew quilt Tutorial

I did minimal quilting this time, as I usually do on my baby/crib quilts.  I never want the crib quilts to be too stiff, and just a little straight line quilting around each of the blocks and some of the center squares was just enough for this one.  The backing is from Wallflowers, my first line of fabric for Windham, and I’m not sure what the binding fabric is. 

I machine bound it with the method in this tutorial. 

Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew quilt Tutorial

I’ll post a tutorial for how to make this quilt in the coming days.  It’s one of my very favorite ways to make a quilt…and the best for beginners!  



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Slam Dunk Strike One

Slam Dunk Quilt Pattern

When I first wrote the Slam Dunk pattern, I made it with print/scrappy sashings in between the blocks.  I wrote the pattern, made the quilt, Kaitlyn quilted it, and then I took it to the park to photograph it….and I realized I didn’t like it!  Ugh!  

The dark blue print sashing was just too much and it drowned out the light blue prints around the basketballs.  Especially the pearl bracelets print…the print is crooked (drives me nuts!) but I didn’t really notice while I was making it. 

Slam Dunk Quilt Pattern

Long story short…I re-wrote the pattern to what it is now with the single fabric sashing strips, and it’s much easier on the eyes.  Here is my previous post on Slam Dunk, or the pattern is here.  This version with blue sashing is the exact same pattern but looks so different! 

I still love this version even though it didn’t make the cut for the pattern, and adding the extra prints can add some extra interest and variation with all the orange basketballs.   If you want to make it this way with print strips, you’d simply cut the needed sashing strips out of yardage or fat quarters instead of buying the background fabric.  You can get about 7 sashing strips from one fat quarter, so just count the number you’ll need in the layout diagram, then divide by 7 and that’s the number of fat quarters you’d need for the background.  Or just cut them from scrappy yardage.  Other than that the two patterns are identical. 

Kaitlyn did a fabulous job with the quilting, and the background is a really fun Robert Kaufman 108″ wide back. 

Slam Dunk Quilt Pattern

Since I can’t get enough of sewing basketballs (insert A LOT of sarcasm), I made one block for a pillow to give our babysitter in her team colors.  

Slam Dunk Quilt Pattern

Now I have two basketball quilts all finished just in time for baseball season!!!  

(No I am not making a baseball pattern anytime soon!)

Happy Baseball Season!  





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