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


47 Responses to Easy Stack, Cut, and Sew Blocks Tutorial

  1. CarlaJean April 20, 2018 at 3:46 am #

    Thank you for this tutorial. Looks like a fun quilt, especially for a beginner like me. I’m excited to try this! 😀

    • Carol Wingo July 10, 2018 at 11:51 am #

      I enjoy your quilt tutorials. I am a beginner and you have such helpful hints! Can’t wait to try this one.

  2. Ellen F Thompson April 20, 2018 at 4:42 am #

    You thought of everything in this tutorial!

    • Allison April 20, 2018 at 9:02 am #

      Haha…I try to think of everything someone will ask me and answer them first! ;)

  3. Pat S April 20, 2018 at 4:49 am #

    Thanks. This is very appealing and you make it easy.

  4. Colleen April 20, 2018 at 5:08 am #

    Thank – you so much !

  5. Pam April 20, 2018 at 5:14 am #

    Thanks so much for this! I love how modern/ 60s it looks and EASY ;)

  6. Candy April 20, 2018 at 5:32 am #

    Thanks for the tutorial Allison! I love your style and always love your posts! This is definitely a fun, quick quilt that I’ve added to my to do list!!

  7. Material Girl Quilts April 20, 2018 at 5:37 am #

    This is such a cute quilt and love the way you put it together. Thanks for an awesome tutorial!

  8. Janice April 20, 2018 at 5:37 am #

    Great tutorial! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much for posting!

    • Darlene September 22, 2020 at 7:37 pm #

      I love this. Your explanation was so well written. This quilt would come togather quickly. Thank you for your tutorial.

  9. Tracey April 20, 2018 at 5:42 am #

    Great quilt! I have some flannel fat quarters in my stash and I was looking for a pattern that had both bigger pieces to show off the fabrics and less seams so that I don’t build up bulk. This could easily be the pattern I’m looking for! Thanks for sharing with us and have a great weekend!!

    • Allison April 20, 2018 at 9:02 am #

      This would be fabulous in flannel!!!!

  10. Doris April 20, 2018 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you, this looks like fun to sew!

  11. happyquiltingmelissa April 20, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    This is so fun and I can’t believe I have not made a quilt like this before!! I am bookmarking it to make one with my daughter just as soon as she finishes up the patchwork quilt she is working on. I think she will really like this ;) And I have so many layer cakes, prints and white solids, so this will be perfect for those!!!

    • Allison April 21, 2018 at 10:13 am #

      This is a perfect one for sewing with your daughter!

  12. Lu April 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm #

    Allison thank so much for this tutorial. I just love this quilt and your quick posting of the tute. Blessings sweetie.

  13. Dawn york April 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

    I’ve never quilted before and I’m wanting to learn really bad because I’d love to make my girls and my mom and myself a quilt.

    • Allison April 21, 2018 at 10:14 am #

      This is a PERFECT place to start learning! You can’t go wrong with this type of block…just be patient with yourself and make some test blocks! You can do it!

  14. Rosemaryflower April 20, 2018 at 1:55 pm #

    this looks so super dee dooper adorable. I am gonna make one right away!!

  15. Pam April 20, 2018 at 4:09 pm #

    Very creative and simple. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Lesley Gilbert April 20, 2018 at 4:53 pm #

    Thank you for a very interesting and easy to follow tutorial :)

  17. Clare Baker April 21, 2018 at 12:09 am #

    I think this would look great with some sashiko fat quarters and vintage linens that have been passed down to me. Thank you!

    • Allison April 21, 2018 at 10:13 am #

      That would look great in this! This type of quilt looks good in everything…you can’t go wrong!

  18. Anorina Morris April 21, 2018 at 1:09 am #

    I absolutely love this idea. What a wonderful tutorial. Thank you.

  19. cocoya April 21, 2018 at 6:42 am #

    Thanks. This is very appealing and you make it easy.

  20. Ann April 21, 2018 at 7:06 am #

    Love this! Thanks.

  21. Diane April 21, 2018 at 7:57 pm #

    Thanks Allison, this looks like a fun quilt to make, and would be so fun with a buddy/sister/daughter!

    • Allison April 22, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      Yes! A great one for teaching kids to sew…or sewing with friends while your chatting (since you can’t mess this one up!) ;)

  22. Lynn White April 22, 2018 at 4:33 am #

    Great quilt and tutorial, thanks so much for this.

  23. Melanie C April 22, 2018 at 7:56 am #

    Thanks for the fabulous tutorial! I can’t wait to try it!

  24. susanmp14 April 22, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    Thanks, a fun quilt to do with my teenage granddaughter who has recently gotten the quilting bug!

    • Allison April 22, 2018 at 10:34 am #

      This is a perfect one for her! Quick and easy and modern looking!

  25. connie April 30, 2018 at 7:40 am #

    Pretty and interesting. Thank you for the tutorial; I might just have to give this pattern a try :)
    Happy Quilting!
    Connie :)

  26. kaholly May 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

    You are a genius! Thank you ‘Sew’ much for sharing!

  27. Rachel Hauser May 31, 2018 at 7:51 am #

    How have I never made a quilt this way! Thanks for the simple tutorial. I need to play with this =)

  28. Kris Jarchow June 11, 2018 at 6:21 am #

    I just love this tutorial. I have made a couple already and plan to do more very scrappy ones.

    • Allison June 13, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

      I’m so glad you’ve liked it!!

  29. Susan S. July 13, 2018 at 8:59 pm #

    This looks like fun…. I am not a big fan of white BUT I like the look of the white and prints in your quilt pattern. I am looking forward to trying this with seasonal prints…. looks fun. Thank you!

  30. JanC September 3, 2018 at 7:48 am #

    Looks like a fun quilt! Is there a way to make it printer friendly?

  31. Pineapple Fabrics September 25, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    Great tutorial – sharing on our Pinterest page!

  32. Kalpana Mallya March 16, 2019 at 9:33 pm #

    Wonderful tutorial for a beginner like me. Thanks a lot.

  33. Therese April 18, 2019 at 8:54 pm #

    Thank you for this tutorial. I’ve been wanting to make a quilt from my son’s old shirts. Cutting this way, the striped and print shirt blocks will line up nicely. May have to add a few of DH’s solid shirts for more contrast. And I love the idea for a flannel quilt! I have lots of odds and ends of flannel. This will be fun!

    • Allison April 24, 2019 at 11:58 am #

      What a great idea for these blocks!!

      • Allison April 24, 2019 at 11:58 am #

        No PDF, but you can right click and save it as a PDF with your printer files.

  34. Cathy Zacher December 3, 2019 at 5:15 pm #

    Thank you for such a great idea!

  35. Elizabeth Kelbaugh November 28, 2021 at 4:21 am #

    I look forward to trying this pattern. Thanks for sharing

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