Well, hello there! Today I have a free quilt block pattern for you – it’s called the Alex quilt block and it’s a good one for your scraps.
I’m not really sure how you’d describe this quilt block. It’s some sort of cross/log cabin/stitch-and-flip hybrid. If it reminds you of anything be sure to let me know.
In the meantime, let’s start sewing!
Each block needs 3 fabrics for the design, plus a background fabric. Have some fun rifling through your scrap pile and F8 stash to find some colours that work well together.
Try to choose non-directional fabrics so you don’t have to worry about which way is up when you’re sewing. You can see the cutting requirements below, from C1 on the left (inner part of the block) out to C3 (the outer triangle).
Sew the Quilt Block Components
Let’s start sewing! We’ll complete the three colour areas in turn, and then sew the whole shebang together at the end.
In my illustrations you’ll see little arrows alongside the sewn units – these are pressing recommendations. In this block I am pressing all the seams outward, but you’re free to do as you please (there aren’t any nesting seams within the block). However, if you’re sewing a bunch of these together without sashing then I recommend pressing each block alternately (one block inward, one block outward). That way the seams along the outer edges of the blocks will nest when you sew the blocks together.
First up, let sew the long arm of the central cross. Sew the small background pieces to either end of the long cross strip:
Next, we’ll prepare the short arms of the central cross. Sew the background and cross rectangles together as shown below and then cut in half to give the two smaller cross arms:
OK, that’s C1 done and dusted. Let’s move on to C2. Sew some more strips together and then cut apart to give the log and short ‘logs’ for the log cabin section of the quilt block:
And now we’ll finish with C3 – the easy stitch-and-flip blocks. If you like you can sew an extra seam past the first one to save the offcuts as a HST.
Nice work – that’s all our small components sewn up. Here comes the fun part.
Let’s Sew This Quilt Block Pattern Together!
First up let’s sew the four corner units for the quilt block. For each corner unit you’ll need a C3 triangle unit and one SHORT and one LONG C2 component. Make sure you get one SHORT and one LONG, otherwise you’ll have a lopsided block!
Again, I’m pressing my seams outward but if you’re making a non-sashed quilt remember to press half of your blocks inward as well.
Now we have our four corner units we can sew together the half-blocks. Sew a corner unit either side of each of the short cross (C1) pieces. Make 2 of these half-blocks.
And finally, sew the two quilt block halves either side of the long C1 cross unit. Ta-da, you’ve just finished your Alex Quilt Block!
The Alex Quilt Block is 12½” unfinished and 12″ finished (sewn to its neighbours).
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this free quilt block pattern and that you have the opportunity to use it to reduce your scrap pile.
One of my favourite parts of making this block is deciding which colour goes where. For my second block I planned to use this blue-white-lime combination (all beautiful Carolyn Friedlander fabrics).
I recommend deciding on a background colour first and then get into the nitty gritty of the colours inside the block. Here are the ways I could have arranged my navy, white and lime fabrics:
And that’s just on one (light blue) background. Once you change the background you can generate that many block options again.
For something different I decided to remove the lime and try a 2 tone block, just blue and white. Here are the arragements I played with:
And here’s the block I sewed up:
I find when using prints (rather than solids) the pattern’s lines look a little softer, which can be a nice design change.
Hmm, this would be fun on point as well.
If you liked this tutorial then you’ll also like my Adori Quilt Block tutorial.
The Adori and Alex Blocks are cousins, sharing some design DNA. The Adori Block also measures 12½” unfinished so you can mix and match them easily. I think they would look great together as alternate blocks in a quilt. You can easily keep track of pressing your seams with the two blocks – press the Alex inwards, the Adori outwards, etc.
(Those with sharp eyes will notice I made an error with the Alex Block seen below. I accidentally cut my C3 squares at 3″ instead of 3½”. D’oh!)