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 Free Pattern : A Milky Way Block

Milky Way is a very easy-to-piece block consisting of squares and right triangles.

A rather large block, Milky Way works up fairly quickly, and is a great choice for adding some drama when placed against solid blocks. As there is a considerable amount of activity in this design, choose your prints accordingly.

Milky Way block

How big is it?

This is a 15-inch block.

Constructions instructions

You will need three fabrics to work up this block. Traditionally, white fabric along with a gold and a blue print are used to create an attractive stellar design sprinkled with diagonally falling squares. Any color prints may be used in their place, simply look for equal tones to ensure your block has a balanced feel to it.

  • Cut two squares from a 3.5-inch strip of fabric A.
  • Cut two squares from a 3.5-inch strip of fabric B.
  • Cut eighteen squares from a 2-inch strip of fabric A.
  • Cut eighteen squares from a 2-inch strip of fabric C.
  • Cut twelve right triangles from a 3 7/8-inch strip of fabric A.
  • Cut twelve right triangles from a 3 7/8-inch strip of fabric B.
  • fabric cutting diagram

Piecing Milky Way is a fairly simple matter, it's the positioning that requires concentration. It's five rows are comprised of checkerboard square units, triangle-pair squares and full squares. There is variation from row to row in how these units are oriented, so be sure to refer to this pattern as you work up the block.

The first step is to assemble all units, and then piece the rows. Use a quarter inch allowance for all seams.

  • Assembling the checkerboard units :
    • Place a fabric A square over a fabric C square, right sides together. Stitch and press seams.
    • Repeat until all fabric A squares have been sewn to a fabric C square to form nine oblongs.
    • Gather two oblongs, turn one over 180 ° so that it mirrors the first.
    • Place the second oblong over the first, with right sides together. Match seams and stitch.
    • Repeat until nine checkerboard units are created.
    checkerboard unit
  • Assembling the triangle-pair squares units :
    • Place one fabric A triangle over a fabric B triangle. Stitch and press seams.
    • Repeat until twelve triangle-pair squares are created.
    triangle pair square
  • Piecing the rows (NOTE - Frequently compare your work against the graphics to ensure correct positioning.)
    • Rows 1 and 5 : Gather three checkerboard units and two triangle-pair squares. Follow the graphic below to correctly piece this row. Repeat this pattern to form a second row.
      row 1 assembly
    • Row 2 : Gather three triangle-pair squares one fabric B square and one fabric A square. Follow the graphic below to correctly piece this row.
      row 2 assembly
    • Row 3 : Gather three checkerboard units and two triangle-pair squares. Follow the graphic below to correctly piece this row.
      row 3 assembly
    • Row 4 : Gather three triangle-pair squares one fabric B square and one fabric A square. Follow the graphic below to correctly piece this row.
      row 4 assembly

  • Assembling the block
    • Line up your seams and stitch rows 1 and 2 together. Press seams.
    • Line up your seams and stitch rows 3 in place. Press seams.
    • Line up your seams and stitch rows 4 in place. Press seams.
    • Line up your seams and stitch rows 5 in place. Press seams.
Now that I have it, what do I do with it?

Milky Way has a great deal of visual activity, so it works well when set next to solid fabric. In this example, basic white sashing is used to set off the blocks.

Milky Way Blocks with sashing

More for us to think about!

There are a number of whimsical celestial quilting motifs available that compliment Milky Way's heavenly theme. In this layout, solid blocks are quilted with a simple starburst motif. A basic motif works better than more intricate designs next to Milky Way blocks.

alternating with solid blocks

Milky Way blocks form an intricate border surrounding a wide open center area of solid fabric. This layout works well to showcase a spread of fine quilting.

Milky Way block frame surrounding a solid center

Related : More Free Block Patterns

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