TUTORIAL: Sew Small Sampler Quilt

OK, the name might not be the most exciting, but it is descriptive.  A small quilt with 12 different 3″ blocks and alternating squares.

So, here it is:


13-inches x 17-inches


1. This is a  mini-tutorial and assumes that you have a basic knowledge of block piecing and quilt construction.  If more information would be helpful, please ask.
2. All seam allowances are 1/4″.
3. When fabric A, B, C is referred to, that means either a single fabric, or a color range of fabrics.  This is a scrappy quilt and can use small pieces in many different prints and colors.
4. This quilt was inspired by the 2011 Twelve Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt posted by Temecula Quilt Company.  I have changed it up quite a bit and created new blocks, but credit goes where credit is due.


A good handful of scraps that you absolutely love.  They can be as small as 1″ x 1″, but you do need at least a few around 4″.

1 Quarter yard of background fabric–straight or fat

1 Fat quarter or large scrap for backing

batting scrap

1/8 yard for binding


1. Build your blocks.

Block 1: Four Patch

Cut 2 2″ squares of Fabric A

Cut 2 2″ squares of Fabric B.

Sew one A square to one B square.  Repeat. Lay out in 4-patch design using picture of the block as a guide. Sew the center seam together to form block.

Block 2: Square in a Square

Cut 1 2-5/8″ square from Fabric A.

Cut 2 2-1/2″ squares from Fabric B.  Cut along the diagonal.  You should have 4 triangles.  These are your corners.

Lay out according to the picture.  Sew the long side of the triangles to the center square.  Opposite sides first. Press.  Now do the other two sides. Trim/square up your block to 3-1/2″.

Block 3: Bowtie

Cut 2 2″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 2 2″ squares from Fabric B.

Cut 2 1-1/4″ squares from Fabric B.

Sew a 1-1/4″ Fabric B square to the corner of a 2″ Fabric A square along the diagonal.  Trim off the corner 1/4″ from the seam.  Press open.  Lay out pieces and sew together like a four patch using photo as a guide.

Block 4: Pinwheel 

Cut 2 2-1/2″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 2 2-1/2″ squares from Fabric B.

Draw diagonal lines on back of both squares of your lighter fabric.

Lay one each of fabrics A and B right sides together and sew 1/4″ on each side of the line. Cut on the line. Press open. Square up half square triangle units to 2″.  Yes, squaring up is no one’s favorite pasttime, but on very small blocks like this, it is worth it.

Using photo as a guide, lay out your block  and sew pinwheel together

Block 5: Double Four Patch

Cut 2 2″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 4 1-1/4″ squares from Fabric B.

Cut 4 1-1/4″ squares from Fabric C.

Sew fabrics B and C together to form small four patches.  Attach one each to a square of fabric A.  Sew the pairs together to form a larger four patch. Use photo to help determine layout.

Block 6: Cross

 Cut 2 1-5/8″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 1 1-5/8″x3-7/8″ rectangle from Fabric A.

Cut 2 1-5/8″ squares, make one diagnonal cut, from Fabric B (corners).

Cut 1 2-3/4″ square, made two diagonal cuts, from Fabric B (setting triangles).

Sew setting triangles to 1-5/8″ fabric A squares.  Sew assembly to the 1-5/8″ x 3-7/8″ rectangle.  Sew one small triangle to each corner. Use photo to help determine layout.

Block 7: Rail Fence

Cut one 1″ x 8″ strip each from fabrics A, B, C.
Sew the three strips together.
Sub cut into  four segments 2″ long.
Assemble like a 4 patch using photo for direction.

Block 8: Log Cabin

1 1″ square from Fabric A.

Six strips 1″ by up to 3-1/2″ from Fabric B.

Five strips 1″ by up to 3-1/2″ from Fabric C.

I found it easiest to trim as I went on this somewhat fiddly block.  So, start with your center square from Fabric A.  Attach a strip of Fabric C.  Press open and trim. Now, attach a strip of Fabric B.  Press open and trim.  Now, attach a second strip of Fabric B.  Then, two strips of C. Continue until your block measures at least 3-1/2″.  Trim/square up to 3-1/2″.

 Block 9: Nine Patch

 Cut 5 1-1/2″ squares of Fabric A

Cut 4 1-1/2″ squares of Fabric B

Lay out and sew together in 9-patch shape using photo as a guide.

Block 10: Churn Dash

Cut 1 1-1/2″ square from Fabric A.

Cut 2 1-7/8″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 4 1″x1-1/2″ rectangles from Fabric A.

Cut 2 1-7/8″ squares from Fabric B.

Cut 4 1″x1-1/2″ rectangles from Fabric B.

Using the 1-7/8″ squares of Fabrics A and B, create half-square triangles.  Draw a diagonal line across the lighter fabric, stitch 1/4″ away from the line on both sides, cut, press open, square up to 1-1/2″.  Again, squaring up is worth it.

Sew each rectangle of Fabric A to a rectangle of Fabric B.

Lay out using photo as a guide.  Assemble similar to a 9-patch block.

 Block 11: Friendship Star

Cut 4 1-1/2″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 2 1-7/8″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 1 1-1/2″ square from Fabric B.

Cut 2 1-7/8″  squares from Fabric B.

Using the 1-7/8″ squares of Fabrics A and B, create half-square triangles.  Draw a diagonal line across the lighter fabric, stitch 1/4″ away from the line on both sides, cut, press open, square up to 1-1/2″.  Lay out using photo as a guide.  Assemble similar to a 9-patch block.

Block 12:  Sawtooth Star

Cut 1 2″ square from Fabric A.

Cut 8 1-1/4″ squares from Fabric A.

Cut 4 1-1/4″ squares from Fabric B.

Cut 4 1-1/4″ x 2″ rectangles from Fabric B.

Attach the 1-1/4″ squares of Fabric A to two of the corners of each Rectangle of Fabric B by sewing across the diagonal.  Trim off the excess 1/4″ from the outside of the stitch line. Press open.  The photo shows several steps in this process.

Lay out the block using photo as guide and assemble similar to a 9-patch.

YAY YOU!  Your blocks are complete!

2. Background.  Cut from background fabric 6 3-1/2″ squares.  These are your alternating squares. Cut 2 3″ squares and cut once on the diagonal.  These are your corners. Cut 3 5-1/2″ squares and cut twice on the diagonal.  These are your setting triangles. You will use only 10 of the 12 pieces.

3. Lay out your blocks.  Rearrange them several times.  That is OK.  It may take a few tries to get the look you want.  I find that walking away and doing something else for a while, like the dishes, then walking suddenly back in gives me a new perspective.  Also, taking pictures.  Or asking Husband.  He always seems to notice that I have a huge blotch of one color in a corner.

4. Sew together by assembling the rows along the diagonal.  I don’t have pictures of this step but, as with all others, will be happy to answer questions.  Here, too, is a link to a nice tutorial on the subject: http://reannalilydesigns.blogspot.com/2008/09/set-on-point-tutorial.html

5. Sandwich, quilt and bind.  I did find that reducing my stitch length helped me quilt on such a small scale.  There is so much for me to learn about this process, but short stitches seemed to give me more control.

6. And, now that I am not a hypocrite when I say it, Label It!  Just a simple name-and-date is certainly better than nothing.

6. Ta-dah!  You have a great quilt.  Please, share yours when it is done.  I can’t wait to see what you create.


Lillian’s Version

Kelly’s quilt #1

Kelly’s quilt #2

Michelle’s example

Mary Ann tried her own setting…

Your quilt here!

37 responses to “TUTORIAL: Sew Small Sampler Quilt

  1. Wonderful tutoral, love the scraps!!!

  2. Yea!!! THANK YOU for the work you put into this tutorial! This is such a cute mini quilt!!! I can’t wait to get started on mine! Being a new quilter, I’m not sure what step #4 means . . . :/

  3. Thanks for the lovely tutorial. I usually don’t make anything this small, but I would love to try making this sampler.

  4. Wow, wonderfully documented tutorial for such a cute quilt. Love the fabrics in this one.

  5. This is a great tutorial – I’ve already started my blocks.

    And it’s good that you offer to answer questions. Good teacher.

  6. Beautiful!! Thank-you.

  7. Terrific tutorial! Thanks so much for taking the time to put it together!

  8. i love it and the tutorial is very easy to follow as yours always are…i do not ordinarily work with anything this small either but am going to do this one for a wall hanging..have to decide where i want to hang it so i can figure out the colors..thanks …

  9. Amazing you got them all in one tutorial! The pictures are so helpful. I’ll send this to Fran. =) And post it on quiltbom.blogspot.com, too. Love the colors in this one, but imagining it in batik – 6″ size. LOL

  10. So cute! Thanks for the details! Now, off to find a handful of scraps I absolutely love…

  11. The quilt is simply darling. You picked the perfect blocks.I think I have the perfect spot for one just like it.

  12. Cornelia Merkamp

    Hallo from Germany, love your tutorial.I have made the blocks and now I am playing to get into a summer quilt. Thanks for your inspiration.Cornelia

  13. I love this little quilt. Thanks for the tutorial for all the blocks.

  14. Thank you for taking all the time to do this. Most appreciated! Love this wee quilt. Hope to start on it shortly.

  15. How very cute that you have fashioned such a cute little quilt for your readers to sew along! I’d been admiring that idea of the 12 days of Christmas pattern and now I like your version too. Thank you very much for the directions.

  16. Pingback: Quilt Tested | Wedding Dress Blue

  17. I loved this quilt so much when I pinned it on Pinterest a few weeks ago. I just made one for a swap and have one pieced for myself as well. Hope to get mine quilted this week. I did add a border with pinwheel blocks in the corners because it didn’t meet the size requirements for the swap. Photos are on my blog here:
    Thanks for a great tutorial!! I simply love this quilt!

  18. Thank you for sharing your tutorial! I am done making all the blocks but haven’t decided if I’m going to finish it exactly like yours or do some sashing instead. Of course, now that I’m looking at yours again I think I might just want to add the extra solid blocks and set it on point, but I had an idea to use sashing instead…

    5_21_2012 006

  19. Virginia from Tx

    Thanks for sharing, I love making doll quilts for my great grand daughter Ayalanah or (Princess ) as she is called she has a dollar store doll we found when she was 6 mo and she loves her baby ( Crusty ) is the dolls name hehe.. Princess an Crusty now have about 8 quilts and want more so this one in in the making as soon as I finish the one Im working on.

  20. Hi. Well I jumped into a doll quilt swap. Just love yours thanks again for another newbie idea

  21. very pretty–very artistic

  22. Well I finished it and will send it on it’s way thanks so much i accidentally invented a new block i liked it well enough to add it Also i forgot to sign the quilt.. Any way made it a red white and blue Thanks so much

  23. will be making this one as soon as I finish the cathedral window quilt Im working on its for great grand daughters doll

  24. Pingback: Show and Tell From Michelle | Wedding Dress Blue

  25. So cute and fun to make. Can’t wait to get started. Will make a lovely quilt for my Granddaughter’s doll cradle! Thank you for writing such a fine tutorial.

  26. Thank you so much! I can not wait to make this just for ME after the Holidays are over!

  27. Your quilts are inspiring. I am a beginner and love to look at what everyone has created.

  28. take me past 9 patch quilts & I’m lost , I love them they never get old made a full size one on my hands every stitch when I was 13, making baby quilts for great grand babies & this is the way to go for me ! thank you I think yours are lovely, very nice tutorial too. thank you from, Neosho, Missouri
    Lavon Allen

  29. Sch a cute tutorial, I am making 3 of them right now, 2 more sampler blocks and the pieceing them together!

  30. Hi! I found your tutorial last week and busily applied myself. Whew! Things were going well until…well you can read about it on my blog if you want. http://pulpquilting.blogspot.com/ But thank you for the tutorial. I enjoyed it very much and think I may just make another one now that I’ve worked through the parts that gave me a rough time. I LOVE your version, btw.

  31. I love this mini quilt, however being very new to quilting, the instructions for each individual square is not as detailed as I need.

  32. Thanks so much for your tutorial. I’ve made 7 blocks and can’t wait for the next one. So easy and I can do a block or two each day. Love it!!

  33. Love your quilt tutorials. The mini sampler is perfect for quilts for small pets. I make them for a dog rescue group so they can earn money for vet bills.

  34. Fantastic tutorial. A great way to familarize myself with all aspects of making a quilt. I just fiushed mine and while not perfect it gives me joy and I hung it on my wall (using corner pockets and bamboo skewers).

  35. ️️Thankyou for a well done visual to work by😊

  36. Emma Carpenter

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Such a sweet quilt. I didn’t realize the variety of blocks until I saw them enlarged in the tutorial. I have never seen a sample like the samples in this “Sew Small” cutie. Don’t know how I missed the play on words; probably was very carried away by and so glad for the offer of a free tutorial for it. You are so good to us. I do appreciate you so much.

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