It’s week 4 of the Riley Block classic quilt block challenge. This week we’re making Economy Blocks – which are definitely among my top favorite quilt blocks. In fact, I’ve already been on an Economy block quilt-making kick this year, with two finishes since January. Plus I’ve got lots of Economy Block Quilt inspiration for you. See below for pictures!
This is such a great block for playing with fabric, making a scrappy quilt, and the centers are perfect for featuring fussy-cut prints. It’s a really simple, no-waste block (hence the Economy name).
As with the blocks from previous weeks, the other Riley Blake Designers and I are sharing instructions for two sizes: 6″ x 6″ and 12″ x 12″ finished blocks.
6″ x 6″ Economy Quilt Block tutorial:
- Center Squares – 3 ½″ x 3 ½″ square
- 2 Squares 3 ¼″ x 3 ¼″ – cut both squares on the diagonal to get a total of 4 triangles
- 2 squares 4 ¼″ x 4 ¼″ – cut both squares on the diagonal to get a total of 4 triangles
Center the long edge of two of the smaller triangles on opposite sides of the center square and sew in place using a ¼″ seam. (This is one of the very rare times I don’t recommend a scant ¼″ because it can make your block slightly too big. Use an exact ¼″ seam allowance.) Triangle tips will overhang the outside edges of the square.
Helpful tip: to make sure the that your triangles are centered, fold the long edge in half and make a little crease with your finger nails at the center. Do the same on all four sides of the center square. Match up crease marks to easily center the triangle.
Press seams toward the outside triangles. Trim dog-ears overhanging the square. Repeat the process with the remaining 2 triangles, pressing seams toward the outside.
Find the center and carefully square up the block to 4 ¾″ x 4 ¾″ by trimming equally on all four sides. (Be careful to leave a ¼″ for seam allowance at each point.)
This next step could seam unnecessary, but I promise you that taking this extra step will ensure the accurate sizes of your quilt blocks, which will make a huge difference when you go to piece your blocks together.
Repeat the same process with the final 4 triangles, sewing two sides, pressing toward the outside, sew remaining 2 triangles, press.
Square up pressed block to 6 ½″ x 6 ½″.
TIP: if you prefer extra fabric for squaring up, cut squares for middle triangles at 3 ½″ x 3 ½″ and squares for outside triangles at 4 ½″ x 4 ½″.
And there you have a perfect 6″ x 6″ finished (6 ½″ x 6 ½″ unfinished) Economy Quilt Block.
12″ x 12″ Economy Quilt Block Tutorial
- Center Squares – 6 ½″ x 6 ½″ square
- 2 Squares 5 ½″ x 5 ½″- cut both squares on the diagonal to get a total of 4 triangles
- 2 squares 7 ¼″ x 7 ¼″ – cut both squares on the diagonal to get a total of 4 triangles
This is clever because you can either cut a 6 ½″ x 6 ½″ fabric square for your center OR you could use a 6 ½″ x 6 ½″ unfinished quilt block. Like the ones we just made above. How great is that?? 🙂
Repeat the process as before, adding 4 triangles to the sides of the existing block
and then square-up sides. Square up first addition for 12″ block to 9″ x 9″.
Add final set of triangles to all four sides.
Square up final block to 12 ½″ x 12 ½″.
And there you have it! Economy blocks are so much fun to make – they’re a great way to show off a fabric collection that you love, but can’t decide what to do with it. Like this quilt:
As I mentioned, Economy block quilts are perfect for fussy cutting novelty fabrics for the center block. Here’s an example where I used Jill Howarth’s Dorothy’s Journey, a Wizard of Oz-themed collection from Riley Blake.
And lest you think Economy blocks look too traditional, here’s an Economy block variation mini quilt using only solids that gives the block a modern vibe.
And here is a mini 4″ x 4″ Economy block that I made into pin cushions. To help these little guys stay accurately pieced, I foundation paper-pieced them using this template I found on Pinterest. I copied the diagram and resized it to the size I wanted (in this case 4″ x 4″).
Another favorite source of Economy block inspiration is Rita from Red Pepper Quilts. She’s made may beauties and her fabric choices are always amazing.
So there you go! Economy Quilt Block inspiration galore!
And here are the 4 blocks thus far of the Riley Blake quilt challenge. I’m using fabrics from my Sugarhouse Park collection, with a few pieces of Gretel thrown in. 🙂
You can find all of the classic quilt block tutorials linked below.
If you’re sewing along with us make sure to use the hashtag #RBDBlockChallenge! You can see the blocks here.