Rail Fence quilt pattern

A rail fence quilt pattern. Or is it a fence rail quilt pattern? I’ve seen it both ways and I’m confused!

I had another finish this week – this time a lap-sized (60″ x 66″) quilt. I’m calling it Off the Rails as it uses the rail fence quilt block, but in random placement/orientation in the final quilt.

Off the Rails - a free quilt pattern from Bonjour Quilts


I’ve used a light and a dark neutral teamed with a small amount of a ‘wow’ fabric – in this case a super-bright yellow. This produces quite a modern looking rail fence quilt pattern.

Off the Rails - a free quilt pattern from Bonjour Quilts

What I really like about this rail fence quilt pattern is:

1. It’s really quick and simple to sew but still makes a big impact.

2. It’s a great way to take a small amount of an expensive (Liberty) or scarce (hoarded for 5 years) fabric and stretch it to make a quilt where it remains the star. (I’ve been dreaming of replacing the yellow with this scarlet Liberty print:)

scarlet Libery of London fabric seen at Bonjour Quilts

3. It’s cheap to sew up if you use all solids. (For instance, quilt top and binding fabric will be US$30 if you use Kona cottons.)

I backed it with an Ikea print that I’ve had stashed since our France days. It was *just* wide enough to use without piecing, but it meant I had to forget my plan to quilt diagonally (any shifting across the backing and I would have been in trouble). There was plenty of fabric to spare in the other direction though, so that’s how I ended up wavy-line quilting along the length of the quilt.

Off the Rails - a free quilt pattern from Bonjour Quilts

I initially used my block seams as guides to meander from side-to-side along the length of the quilt. I kept my curves shallow and gentle; kind of ‘a long drive down a country road’ pattern.

Off the Rails - a free quilt pattern from Bonjour Quilts

Then I went back and used my hera marker to draw in some lines within the blocks. For some of these guide lines I followed a more ‘drunk, one-legged man walking home at 3am’ pattern, to give the curves a bit of oomph.

Off the Rails - a free quilt pattern from Bonjour Quilts

I added in a few extra lines here and there, wherever gaps had opened up due to adjacent lines curving away from each other in the same spot. I also liked the look of the lines intersecting in a few places.

You’ll receive my Off the Rails PDF pattern for free when you sign up for my newsletter.

    I hope you’ve all had a great weekend and managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing. Maybe even a Rail Fence quilt?

    Until next time,


    Off the Rails - a free quilt pattern from Bonjour Quilts

    (Obligatory quilt-in-a-tree shot)


    Share or Pin for later:

    16 thoughts on “Rail Fence quilt pattern”

    1. Wow I love that pop of yellow! It makes it look different and unique from other rails I’ve seen. Love that pattern! Great job!

        • That ‘ s a very lovely and fresh and easy looking quilt . I love the Yellow as fresh “spots” in the quilt and speciallly the curvy lines . I have got no experience in fmq yet, Bit that is surely a pattern to start with
          Thanks a lot for the explanations and Happy quilting,

    2. Wow! Love your quilt! The colors are great, you made a plain old rail pattern pop. You have inspired me to try it with teal blue.

    3. You have done a spectacular job of making a simple block into a dynamic quilt! The colors and layout are fantastic, and I would love to see the version using print accents.

    4. As I have already said on Flick’r I love this simple yet striking design! I am definitely going to make this one! The idea of using Liberty is perfect! I think there were more than a couple of drunk men meandering over your quilt- they even bumped into one another!! :-))

    5. Goodness me that’s a nice quilt Kirsty. Perfect for a quick ‘gee it’d be great if you could make my friend whose having a baby a quilt’ quilt! Best be organising a sewing soirée soon so I can take a look at it in real life :)

    6. Fabulous quilt! I want to hurry and make it for my grandson’s high school graduation on May 16. He is 6’6″ so I plan on making the quilt longer.
      I have so loved following you and your sharing all those incredible pictures from France. You are quite the artist with camera, words, and fabric!

    7. Fantastic and fun pattern Kirsty! I know one could use any fabric, but your colors are really great in this version! Very contemporary but I love the energy punch that the yellow brings! You are fabulous as always!!! :-)


    Leave a comment

    You'll be the first to know ;)

    Quilting tutorials. Behind-the-scenes fun. Great deals on patterns. Join 14,000+ subscribers & stay in touch.

    "*" indicates required fields

    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Bonjour Quilts logo nameplate