Quilting Tutorials

How to Make a Churn Dash Quilt Block: Essential Building Blocks of Quilting

Churn Dash Quilt Block

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The churn dash is a time-honored quilt block, steeped in tradition. It stands as a testament to the enduring art of quilting. This easy pattern unfolds as an ideal starting point for beginner quilters. With the instructions found in this post, you’ll create a simple churn dash quilt block.

In my opinion, this block is one of the prettiest nine-patch variations there is, plus it’s easy enough for beginners!  You can take it to the next level with some variations, but today we’ll focus on the simplicity.



Supplies for the Churn Dash Quilt Block

Naturally, we’re going to start with choosing our fabrics.  You’ll want to pick two colours that have a good contrast, which will allow the pattern to really shine.  We are making a block that is 10 ½” when finished, and the cutting instructions are below.  You can easily make a block using fat quarters.  For some gorgeous fabric selections, be sure to visit the Fat Quarter Shop!

Here is a list of basic quilting supplies that you’ll need for this project:



Depending on how you use your quilt block, you may also want batting.  I chose to turn my test block into a pillow, so I used a fusible batting on the block, plus I added borders, an envelope closure backing and binding.  The measurements below only account for the block itself, not any extras.


Want to see just how easy this block is to make?  Be sure to watch to the end, as I’m giving you TWO ways to make these blocks!  Check out my YouTube tutorial here:



And remember to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss any of my upcoming projects!

Continue reading below for the full instructions.


Churn Dash Quilt Block – Step-by-Step Tutorial

In my YouTube video above, I show you how to piece together your Churn Dash block using the following method.  This is the most time-consuming method, but I have used it so you can see each individual piece.  Below, I will share some tips on how to save time when making multiple Churn Dash blocks.

Cutting Your Fabric

As noted above, our block today will be 10 ½” finished.  Cut your two fabrics as shown below on the diagram:


Churn Dash Quilt Block


Your centre square for this block is 4 inches unfinished, which is 3 ½” finished.  This is the only square you will cut at 4″ to start.  All other squares will be trimmed down to 4″.

To make four HSTs at one time, start with two (2) 7-inch squares of your two fabrics – one light, one dark.  With right sides together, stitch a scant ¼” seam on all four sides.  Once sewn, cut your square on each diagonal, like an X.  This will give you your four HSTs.  Press and trim as shown in the video.

To make eight HSTs at one time, start with two (2) 10-inch squares – one light and one dark fabric.  Mark an X on the diagonal and stitch a ¼” seam on each side of each line.  This will be four seams in total.  Press your squares after stitching and before cutting.  Once pressed, cut along each diagonal line, and cut through the centre horizontally and vertically.  You will make four cuts in total.  For more explanation on this, be sure to read my Half Square Triangle tutorial.


churn dash quilt blocks


Similarly, you can save time by stitching longer strips of your two fabrics and then cutting them to size.  Start with 2 ½” strips of each fabric.  If you are using fat quarters, you can cut your strips lengthwise and get all four squares that you need for one block.  Simply stitch one light and one dark fabric strip together with a scant ¼” seams, press open and trim to 4-inch squares.  Strips from fat quarters that are 18″ x 22″ will allow you to make five squares.

Using these methods will allow you to get at least two Churn Dash blocks from two coordinating fat quarters!


Arranging and Stitching Your Block

Using the image below as a template, lay out your block.  This block is a simple variation of the Nine-Patch Block and we will be putting it together in that manner.


churn dash quilt blocks


Start by placing your strip squares (Square C) on each side of your centre Square A.  The opposite fabric should be adjacent to the centre, meaning if you’ve used your lighter fabric for Square A, the darker fabric should be touching the edges of the centre.

Next, place your HSTs (Square B) in the corners, as shown above.  Be sure to have the fabric that matched the centre towards the outer edge, to ensure that you get the right layout!

Stitch your squares together into three rows and then stitch all three rows to create your block.  I like to press the top and bottom rows to the right and the middle row to the left so that they will nest when I’m attaching them to each other.  Give your block one final press and you are done!

Now you’ve mastered the Churn Dash block.  From this point, you can turn your block into a pillow, a table topper or placemat or make a bunch of them and create a quilt!

This is a very versatile and striking block, and it’s one that you’ll want to add to your repertoire, for sure.  Keep an eye out next week, as I’ll have a pattern based on this block in my shop!



For more tutorials on the Essential Building Blocks of Quilting, check out these posts:



Want to remember this?  Save “How to Make a Churn Dash Quilt Block: Essential Building Blocks of Quilting” to your favourite Pinterest boards!


Churn Dash Quilt Block


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