The Stair Step Block being presented today is row 5 in the Power of 3 Row Quilt. If you would like to construct the full quilt yourself you will want to complete 4 quilt blocks of each pattern presented. There are 5 block designs in total. Enjoy today’s pattern that I’ll be walking you through. 😀 Continue to the end of the tutorial to find a free printable pattern with cutting instructions for completing one Stair Step Quilt block. The cutting instructions to make 4 blocks for the quilt project are included in this blog post after the tutorial.
All The Blocks In This Series Are Constructed To Be 12″ Finished Blocks.
Tips And Tricks For Constructing The Stair Steip Quilt Block:
- First of all, you need a strong HST game since the entire block is a series of 4 half square triangles pieced together. If you need a refresher on making them, or would like to see a tutorial on them, please visit that tutorial by clicking this link.
- The block as presented is part of the Power of 3 Row Quilt, so it uses a triadic color scheme (red, yellow and blue, for example) plus a background fabric to reveal its shape.
- This block has very easy initial cutting instructions, because every square is cut (and trimmed) to the same size.
- The usual instructions for making half square triangles calls for cutting your initial squares 7/8s” over size to compensate for the seam allowance and squaring up. I find that measurement difficult….because well FRACTIONS. 🤔 So I size up a full inch to keep it easier for my brain to manage. And much easier to trim.
- Quilting always assumes a 1/4″ seam allowance. Always.
Make Your Quilting Easier By Using The Right Tools For The Job
- Rotary Cutter (affiliate link)
- Cutting mat (affiliate link)
- Square Rulers (affiliate link)
- Patriotic Fabrics (affiliate link)
- Really good iron (affiliate link)
Cutting Instructions For The Stair Step Quilt Block✂️
Color A (Blue): 4 - 3.5" Square Color B (Red): 2 - 4.5" Square Color C (Gold): 2 - 3.5" Square Color D (White): 6 - 3.5" Squares Color D (White): 2 - 4.5" Squares
Let’s Piece the block!
An alternative method for piecing the block.
While you can certainly cut all the blocks as listed in the blue box above, you can also take colors A and C, blue and gold in this example, and piece two strips cut 3.5″ x 20″ and sew them together along the long edge. 🤯
Why piece long strips?
In some quilt designs, blocks that have 4 patch units comprised of two colors, sewing a strip set, and then trimming the pressed strip set, to cut for the 4 patch unit yields a beautifully pieced 4 patch.
Stick with me.
A sewn and pressed strip set
Enjoy this closer look at the sewn and pressed strip set. In this example, the seams are pressed in one direction.
Trim your pieced set to 3.5″ across. 2 sets will be the makings for one 4 patch block. Simply turn one block 180° to make the perfect 4 patch design. The seams will auto magically nest!
Time to chain piece the next part of the block.
Place the 4.5″ red and white blocks right sides facing to set up for half square triangles. If you need a primer on making hst block then I have a thorough tutorial on doing that. For purposes of this tutorial, put color B with the background color and construct into 4 – 3.5″ hst blocks.
Also, piece the blue and yellow of colors A and C together as a four patch unit.
Finished 4 patch.
Constructing a 4 patch unit from a strip set gives a beautiful block with a perfect center join.
Trimmed vs Untrimmed
Trimming down an over sized HST gives a beautiful block that will piece into the design perfectly. I like to size mine up a full inch as opposed to the standard 7/8″ because I think it’s easier to use the full inch.
Lay out your trimmed pieces
The center 4 patch block is constructed, and the hst units are trimmed to size. Now it’s time to lay out the design. I recommend approaching the construction like we did with the Sawtooth Star.
- Sew the top and bottom rows of blocks together into one unit. Well two rows each comprising all 4 individual squares.
- Piece the two side units onto the central 4 patch unit.
- Then sew the top and bottom rows to the center wide row unit.
How a 16 patch block goes together in 3 row units.
Once the large center block unit is complete, piece the top and bottom rows on. This way the block goes together very fast.
One final tip!
This block is a bit deceptive. Though it’s easy enough to put together, it is easy to get turned around on the placement of the hst units. So before you commit to sewing things together, take a quick picture and compare the photo carefully to the pattern. Personally, I’m challenged with the shapes so I need to really take my time in this phase of piecing. The photo will immediately reveal what your eye misses. So take the photo before sewing the seam!
The completed Stair Step block all pressed and ready!
Final tips for success:
- Remember that the 1/4″ seam allowance is assumed in all quilt patterns, so do yourself a favor and get a 1/4″ presser foot or carefully mark an accurate line on your sewing machine to keep your seams straight.
- Careful cutting is important for accuracy.
- You may trim your squares any way that works for you, but I find using the square in the exact size needed is the best way to ensure accuracy.
- Spray starch adds body and stability to the fabric, so use as desired.
- Don’t stretch or pull fabric. You don’t want a warped HST unit.
Remember that in quilting, your wrong side is just as important as the front side.
Carefully press your seams to give the flattest block possible.
Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you’ll piece your own Power of 3 Row Quilt where we explore the power of using 3 strong colors to create a cohesive color story for our quilt. Here is the illustration of the Stair Step Quilt block to help you see the construction.
Clicking On The Image Will Take You To A Full Size Version You Can Download For A Reference.
Cutting Instructions For The Stair Step Quilt Block ROW✂️
Color A (Blue): 16 - 3.5" Square Color B (Red): 8 - 4.5" Square Color C (Gold): 8 - 3.5" Square Color D (White): 24 - 3.5" Squares Color D (White): 8 - 4.5" Squares
How to follow along with the Power of 3 Row quilt:
- I’ve designed this quilt around publishing a new block once a week. So you will see the instructions to construct each new block once a week. I’ll share the instructions to make one block as well as all 4 if you wish to construct a full row each week. I recommend making a full row each week and at the end of the 5th week, you have all the rows completed and joined.
- Be sure to subscribe to my youtube channel where we will be making a new block each week and I will also drop in with live check ins to see how everyone is progressing and to answer questions.
- Subscribe to my email list so you receive notification when the new block design publishes. 😀