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 Free Pattern : A Shoo Fly Block

Shoo Fly is one of the simplest traditional patterns.

Like the Nine Patch, this block was often chosen for first projects because cutting and piecing was a straight forward process, and the block lends itself well to making use of scrap fabrics.

shoo fly block

Although Shoo Fly is a basic pattern, its versatility provides quilters with some wonderful opportunities for creative use of colors, fabrics and stitching.

What size do I make it?

Shoo Fly may be adapted to a variety of sizes. Blocks often measure 9 x 9, but variations such as 10 x 10 and 12 x 12 may also be used.

Instructions - Creating the quilt block

Shoo Fly consists of two basic shapes, squares and right triangles. It is most often made from a light and dark fabric, as a noticeable contrast best sets off the pattern.

To construct it, one square and four right triangles of fabric A, and four squares and four triangles of fabric B are needed.

shoo fly pieces

Either templates or rotary cutting may be used. Whichever method is selected, and whatever size block is chosen, remember to include a quarter inch seam allowance for best results.

For demonstration purposes, we'll work up a 9-inch block. First cut a square from a 3 1/2 inch strip of fabric A, and four squares from a 3 1/2 inch strip of fabric B. Next, using 3-7/8 inch fabric strips, cut four right triangles from fabric A and repeat the same using fabric B.

rotary cutting graphic triangle rotary cutting graphic

To piece the block, it is easiest to break it down into rows. The upper and lower rows consist of the fabric B square surrounded by fabric A and B triangle pairs. The middle row is constructed of alternating fabric squares, as shown in this diagram.

shoo fly strips

First, stitch one fabric A triangle to one fabric B triangle. Repeat for all triangles to create four squares and press seam allowances.

triangle blocks triangle blocks triangle blocks triangle blocks

Next, piece together two strips using two of these blocks with one square of fabric B and press seam allowances. Although this step is quite simple, check the positioning of your triangle blocks before basting. To avoid unnecessary rework, make certain your blocks are positioned so that a fabric A triangle is placed alongside the fabric B square.

top bottom striptop bottom strip

The next step is to construct the middle strip. This is done by piecing a fabric B square, fabric A square and another fabric B square together. Once again, press seam allowances when the strip is complete.

middle strip

Finally, piece the strips together, matching seams prior to sewing, to construct a finished block. Press all seam allowances flat for best results.

Various ways to use it

Shoo Fly may be used as is, without sashing or alternating blocks, to create an interesting visual effect. The triangular pieces meld together to form diamond framed by rectangles and squares.

basic shoo fly quilt

Another attractive possibility for Shoo Fly is to alternate variations of the block. In the example below, light and dark fabrics are swapped in half of the blocks. Positioning these alternating blocks side-by-side creates an effect quite distinct from using standard blocks alone. The play of light and dark fabrics draws the eye in.

alternating shoo fly quilt

Use your creativity

Because Shoo Fly is one of the more basic blocks, it can be used with sashing and borders to showcase some of your finest hand or machine quilting.

shoo fly quilt w/ sashing

Placed alongside blocks of plain fabric, Shoo Fly creates a lattice-like effect. The plain fabric blocks can feature attractive quilting, such as a Feather Circle motif.

shoo fly quilt w/ solid blocks

Related : More Free Block Patterns

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