How to Make a Churn-Dash Quilt: Part 2

Welcome to Week Two of our Churn Dash Quilt-Along with Amy Smart! This week we’ll piece our Churn Dash blocks using Amy’s short-cut techniques. 

Churn Dash Quilt

Here is a recap on the fabric requirements from Week One of our Churn Dash Quilt-Along.

Fabric Requirements:

  • 15 “light” eighth of yards (4-1/2″ x 44ʺ) or Fat Eighths (9″ x 22″)
  • 15 “dark” yards (4-1/2″ x 44″) or Fat Eighths (9″ x 22″)
  • 5/8 yard border fabric
  • 1/2 yard binding fabric
  • 3 1/2 yards backing fabric


(Twin size 70″ x 91″ option fabric requirements:

  • 24 “light” eighth of yards or (4 1/2″ x 44″) Fat Eighths (9″ x 22″)
  • 24 “dark” eighth of yards (4 1/2″ x 44″) or Fat Eighths (9″ x 22″)
  • 1 yard border fabric
  • 5/8 yard binding fabric
  • 5-1/2 yards backing fabric

cut strips

Week 2) Piece the quilt blocks.

Make the half-square triangles.

First we’ll work with the sets of two (2) matched 4-1/2″ x 21″ strips.

Take the first set of matched 4-1/2″ x 21″ strips and cut a 4” x 4” square off the end of both light and dark strips (you should have two squares, one light and one dark). Set aside.

From the remaining light and dark piece in the first set cut a 2” x 17” strip and a 2 1/2” x 17” strip. Set aside.

Take the second set of matched 4 1/2” x 21” strips and on the back of the light fabric mark four (4) 4-1/2″ squares. Draw one diagonal line through each square. (See photo.)

draw diagonal lines for HST

Sew a scant 1/4″ seam along both sides of the diagonal lines. Use a coordinating thread. (I used a dark thread to show off the seams in the photos.)

Tip: See the WeAllSew blog post on the importance of perfect quarter inch seams for stitching tips and tricks.

marked seam allowances for HST

Rotary cut on all drawn lines. This will create eight half-square-triangles (HST) blocks.

rotary cut half-square triangles

Before opening the half-square triangle blocks, press the seam to “set the seam”, then open up the block and press the seam allowances toward the dark fabric on four (4) of the HST blocks and toward the light on the other four (4) blocks.

You will need to need to square-up your blocks so that they are 4” x 4”.

square up HSTs

Make the two-block pieces.

Now take the contrasting 2” x 17” and 2 1/2” x 17” strips. Match the light 2″ x 17″ strip with the dark 2-1/2″ x 17″ strip and sew them together lengthwise. Press the seam allowances toward the dark fabric. Repeat with dark 2″ x 17″ strip and light 2-1/2″ x 17″ strip.

Churn Dash Quilt - sew strips together

Cut the  strip pieces into 4″-wide units. Line-up a line from the ruler right on the seam line to make sure the block stays square and seam is straight.

cut 4" blocks

Assemble the quilt blocks.

Start with the dark center 4” x 4” square. Place the four (4) 4″ x 4″ blocks with the skinny light strip and wider dark strip on all four sides of the center square. Place half-square-triangle (HST) blocks with the seam pressed toward the dark in the four corners, light triangle pointing toward the center. (See photo.) Sew blocks together into three rows.

churn dash block assembly layout

Sew the rows together, pressing the seam allowances on the top and bottom row toward the center block; on the middle row, press the seam allowances away from the center block. (See photo.)

Sew three rows together, making sure the seam allowances butt up against each other, and press both seam allowances toward the center row.

pressing instructions - dark block

Repeat block construction with the remaining coordinating block, this time starting with the light 4” x 4” center square. Point HST blocks with dark triangles pointing toward the center. Use remaining blocks with skinny dark strip and light wider strips on all four sides of the center square.

pressing instructions - light block

Sew rows together, pressing seam allowances on the top and bottom row away from the center block; on the middle row press seam allowances toward the center block. (See photo.)

pressing guide

Sew three rows together and press both seams away from the center row.

Following these pressing directions will make the blocks fit together when assembling them later.

Repeat process to create thirty (30) Churn-Dash quilt blocks. (If you are making the twin-size version, make forty-eight (48) blocks.)

Next week we will assemble the quilt blocks and add the borders.

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