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 Free Pattern : A Broken Dishes Block

Broken Dishes is an interesting four-patch layout of four-patch blocks. Constructed entirely of right triangles, this block works up quickly and makes a dramatic impression.

Broken Dishes is traditionally worked up in contrasting light and dark tones where either white and a print or two prints can be used.

Broken Dishes block

It is a great choice for making use of scrap fabrics. Just make sure to use balanced prints or complimentary colors for quilts using multiple fabrics.

What size is it?

This is a 10-inch block.

Construction instructions

Broken Dishes is a snap to assemble. Constructed from four basic four-path units, this block works up in four steps; cutting, assembling triangle-pair squares, assembling four-patches and assembling the complete block.

Cutting fabric - Broken Dishes lends itself to template-based or rotary cutting. Since only one shape is involved, rotary cutting is the least time-consuming method.

  • From a 3 5/8-inch strip of fabric A, cut 16 right triangles.
  • From a 3 5/8-inch strip of fabric B, cut 16 right triangles.
  • cutting graphic

Assembling triangle-pair squares - Use a quarter-inch seam allowance on all seams.

  • Place a fabric A triangle over a fabric B triangle and stitch in place.
  • Repeat until sixteen triangle-pair squares are formed.
  • Press all seams.
  • Broken Dishes triangle-pair unit

Assembling four-patch units - This step works up very quickly, but it is important to pay attention to the orientation of your squares to do it correctly. Compare your layout against this pattern before stitching for best results.

  • Gather four triangle-pair squares.
  • Using the diagram to the right, reproduce the positioning of each square.
  • Place on square over another, right sides together, and stitch.
  • Repeat with the remaining two squares.
  • Lining up seams, place the first square set over the second, with right sides together, and stitch.
  • Press all seams.
  • Repeat to form four four-patch units.
  • four-patch unit

Assembling the block - Strangely enough, the Broken Dishes block assembles more easily than the four-patch units. While positioning varied in the previous step, each four-patch unit is positioned in the same manner when piecing the completed block.

  • Place all four-patch units so that the positioning is uniform.
  • Place one unit over another, right sides together, and stitch to form the top row.
  • Repeat with the remaining four-patch units to form the bottom row.
  • Place the top row over the bottom row, right sides together.
  • Align seams and stitch in place.
  • Press all seams.
What can I do with it?

Although it is constructed from a single shape, Broken Dishes is a visually complex design. The play of light against dark forms eye-catching geometric patterns. In this layout, the blocks are alternated with solid white blocks to compliment, rather than compete with the design.

With solid blocks

More to think about!

There is a lot of activity in a Broken Dishes block, so it lends itself well to this medallion setting surrounded by solid fabric blocks and a thin white border. The solid fabric tones down the intense movement of the inner blocks, and the decorative stitching adds a touch of elegance.

Broken Dishes in a medallion setting

In addition to functional quilts, Broken Dishes works well as a wall hanging. In this sample layout, blocks are used to form a center motif as well as accenting corners.

Broken Dishes Wall Hanging

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