Flying Square – A Block for a Scrap Quilt

By Sheila Wilkinson

Raid your scraps for this and use them up creatively. Pick a background colour and add as many colours and fabrics as you like. My quilt has a background of various white on white prints, and medium toned coloured prints, not too dark or too light.

Make a few blocks at a time and ideally find a conveniently sized container, (square biscuit tins are good), in which to store them flat.  It is very satisfying to see them mounting up and when you have enough, make that quilt! Using lots of different fabrics removes the anxiety of running out of a particular fabric and adds much interest to the final quilt. They need to contrast well with the background. I try not to repeat a fabric within one block of a scrap quilt. The fabrics are used again in other blocks, but this ensures they are distributed through the quilt.

Flying Squares Quilt

For each block you need:

  • 12 coloured print squares cut 2 ½ in.
  • 1 background square cut 2 ½ in.
  • 4 background rectangles cut 2 ½ in. x 6 ½ in.

The block will finish at 10” square.

1. Patches for a Flying Squares block

Steps to Make

Step 1

Sew the nine-patch for the centre, all seams are ¼ and pressed to one side – Sew the squares into 3 rows of 3, press the seams to one side with the top and bottom rows going one way, and the middle row the opposite way, then put the rows together, matching the seams.

Then add the third column of squares. Press the seams as described above.

When you come to sew the remaining 2 seams the matching is almost done for you, seams nesting nicely.

Then you just need to know one neat trick for avoiding set-in corners, a.k.a. Y-seams – sewing a partial seam.

Or, try this method where the seams almost match themselves.

Chain piece the 3 pairs of squares on the left side of the 9 patch without leaving a gap between one patch and the next, see picture 2. Sew the first two patches together and stop with the needle down one stitch before the end of the patch. Feed in the next pair of patches so they touch but do not overlap. Sew straight on to them. Continue on to the third pair in the same way.

Then add the third column of squares.  Press the seams as described above.

Step 2

Attach each of the remaining squares to the end of a rectangle. Do not press these seams yet, wait until the next stage when you can press them the optimum way.

A Partial Seam:

Adding one of the square + rectangle units, sew the first part of this seam only

Then, working around the block, add a square + rectangle and sew all the way along its edge.

Complete working around the block until all patches are attached and seams pressed outwards, Finally complete the partial seam.

Flying Squares Quilt

Further information

By Sheila Wilkinson