{Classic Quilt Blocks} Churn Dash - A Tutorial

Last week I introduced you to the first block in my Classic Quilt Blocks series - the Churn Dash. I gave a brief outline of the blocks history, some antique quilt inspiration, a look at colour values plus a quick maths lesson to help you draft your own block.

Today I'm sharing my quick and easy method for sewing a Churn Dash block including a chart of cutting requirements for six different sizes - you'll be able to use this gorgeous classic block in all of your future projects.
I've taken lots of step by step photos to make sewing your Churn Dash block quick and easy, and we'll be piecing our block using strip piecing and all four HST units will be sewn at once.

The measurements in this tutorial will yield a 6" finished block but I've included a chart at the end of the tutorial giving measurements for six different block sizes.

A 6" finished block requires nine units measuring 2 1/2" square (unfinished). Unit sizes will vary with different block sizes and I've also included those on the chart to help you out.
OK, lets go:

For the HST units you will need -
  • 1 x 4 1/4" background square (A)
  • 1 x 4 1/4" print square (A)

For the rail fence units you will need -
  • 1 x 1 1/2" x 11" background strip (B)
  • 1 x 1 1/2" x 11" print strip (B) 

For the centre square unit you will need -
  • 1 x 2 1/2" background square (C)

  • To make the HST units, lay the print (A) square on top of the background (A) square, right sides together and pin to keep the squares aligned. Sew around all four raw edges 1/4" from the edge.

  • Cut the square diagonally twice to yield four triangles.

  • Set each seam with your iron and then open each triangle and carefully finger press each seam towards the print fabric. Press the seams with your iron, being careful to press not glide over the seams as they have been sewn on the bias and could distort.

  • Carefully trim each HST unit to 2 1/2" square - a Bloc Loc ruler makes trimming easy but if you're using a normal cutting square be careful not to cut off your points.

  • To make the rail fence units, lay the print (B) strip on top of the background (B) strip, right sides together and sew along one long raw edge 1/4" from the edge.

  • Set the sewn seam with your iron and then carefully finger press the seam towards the print fabric before pressing the seam with your iron.

  • Trim and square up one short end of the strip and then cross cut four rail fence units at 2 1/2" intervals, lining up the centre seam with the markings on your ruler to ensure units are cut accurately and square.

  • Arrange the four HST units, the four rail fence units and the background (C) square into three rows of three units as shown in the photo above, and ensure the correct orientation of each unit.

  • Sew the units together into the three rows, pressing the seams in alternate directions.

  • Carefully matching all seams, sew the three rows together along the long sides, pressing seams open to yield your Churn Dash block which should measure 6 1/2" square when complete. 

Tada! How fun was that? One gorgeous Churn Dash block ready for your next project!

The following chart gives you all the cutting measurements for six sizes - 3", 6", 9", 12", 15" and 18" square. Each block size is constructed in the same manner, but you will need to use the chart to determine cutting requirements for each block.

You can download and print my free Churn Dash chart HERE or right click on the photo and save it to your computer as a reference.

To use the chart simply chose the finished size block you require and cut all pieces (A-C) as required. The unit size for each block is included so when you're trimming your HST's and cross cutting the strips for your rail fence units you can adjust your cut accordingly.

I hope you enjoy sewing your own Churn Dash block. Next week I'm sharing some gorgeous patterns from Australian designers using this Classic Quilt Block - you're going to absolutley love these Churn Dash projects!

Happy quilting :)
email signature


  1. Thank you for this fabulously easy to understand tutorial. x

    1. You're welcome Kay. I hope you find it a useful tool ☺

  2. I agree with Kay! Great tutorial! (and thank you!!!)

  3. All your fabric combinations are so lovely, crisp and pure. Thanks for the chart. I usually make 9", sometimes 12", and my tall churns from 2011 are about 8 x 10, I think. This is a great pattern for everyone!

    1. I've had these fabrics in the back of my drawer for years. I can't remember what they are but they sure are pretty :)


I hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog. I love hearing from you so thank you for taking the time to leave me a message. 😊