Saturday, May 4, 2013

Magic Square Pinwheel and More......

Today I am going to show you how to make a pinwheel square using a four patch square and the magic square cutting method shown here.   When I discovered magic square cutting it seriously changed my life!  Check out my earlier quilt, a simple half square triangle one, constucted using magic square.
You will be amazed at how quickly this square comes together.  Start out with a stack of charms in two colors.  You will need four of each color for each finished block.  Well you actually end up with two finished blocks.  More on that later.   If you are cutting your own charms, you will cut them as 5 inch squares.  You will be repeating each step twice ( or more, depending on how many blocks you will be making).


Sew opposite color squares together, two by two,
Press seams towards the darker fabric, in this case, the red.
Now arrange the pairs to form a four patch.
Sandwich the seams and sew the long seam on the four patch.
Press towards one side.  You now have a four patch.  Actually, you should have two four patches.
Now comes the magic.  Cut two squares of fabric 9 1/2 inch square.  You can use a layer cake but just cut it down.

Layer one four patch on a 9 1/2 inch square, right sides together. 
Sew 1/4 inch seam on outer edge on all four sides.  Think of this as a pillow construction without the hole for turning.  That's right, close this guy up!  If you are having trouble understanding, view the video link at the beginning of this post.
Here is a close up of one corner.
Now that all the edges are sewn it is time make the diagonal cuts.  Using a rotary cutter and ruler, align the ruler so the stitch lines of the four patch are centered on the edge of the ruler corner to corner and in the center.
Forgive the shadow but maybe this will be easier to see.  You will be tempted to want to line the ruler to bisect the square based on seam allowances instead of the stitch lines.  NO, NO, NO.  Since the seam allowances are ironed in different directions, they create an optical illusion.  Use the stitch lines to bisect the square.
Make the second cut and you should end up with something like this.  Repeat for each additional square you have sewn.
Open up each section and iron the seam in one direction.  Because the cuts are on the bias, you will want to be careful not to stretch the square during ironing.  
Now arrange the squares to form a pinwheel.  You will now see why you needed to make at least two magic squares.  If you are confused about what I am talking about notice that some of your pinwheel blow to the right and some blow to the left.  Aha!

Sew your pinwheels together, matching seams.  Because this is bias sewing, it is so easy to force the seams to line up!
In quilting you always iron your seams to the darker fabric.  Here is one of the exceptions to the rule.  Because of the bulk that would create in the center of the pinwheel, you will iron the final seam open.  
This will allow the seam to lay flat on the finished side.
Here is the finished block.  It has taken longer for you to read this post that to actually sew this block!
Two variations using the same pieces.
Block with blue center and red edge.
Block with red center and blue edge.  This is the combination I have chosen to make the quilt.  Well, actually two quilts, each blowing a different direction.  More on that later.  You can also use the squares to make blocks other than pinwheels.  But that is another post!   Diana


  1. This is aswesome and so easy! Love this and your blog! I would love to have you come and share this at my link party that is just up and going! Come join us! We would love to have you at

  2. Thank you for sharing this tutorial! I need to save it for later :)