Cats and Mice Free Quilt Block Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's work on a Cats and Mice quilt block as published in the Ladies Art Company publication. This traditional quilt block was originally done with only a light and a dark fabric but, you know me, I had to add in a medium. It's an easy block that goes together quick, so let's get started!

cats and mice quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Cats and Mice Quilt Block:

  • Light/Gray: 4 - 4.5" squares, and 20 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium/Calico: 4 - 4.5" squares
  • Dark/Navy: 1 - 4.5" square, and 8 - 2.5" squares

cats and mice fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square in a Square Units:

Step 1:

I didn't know what to call this unit so Half Square in a Square will have to do! Using the four Light/Gray 4.5" squares and the eight Dark/Navy 2.5" squares sew together four Half Square in a Square units as shown in the picture below. You can find my tutorial for making a Square in a Square block at This unit is also like a Flying Geese block only using a square instead of a rectangle for the base.

cats and mice 1

Center Unit:

Step 2:

Using the Dark/Navy 4.5" square and four of the Light/Gray 2.5" squares sew together a true Square in a Square unit as shown in the picture below.

cats and mice 2

Corner Units:

Step 3:

Hate to repeat myself but now you can sew together four more Square in a Square units as shown below. This time use the four Medium/Calico 4.5" squares and 16 of the Light/Gray 2.5" squares. Easy peasy!

cats and mice 3

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Putting It All Together:

Step 4:

Lay out all the units you have made as shown in the picture below.

cats and mice 4

Step 5:

From here on out, the Cats and Mice block goes together just like a typical Nine Patch block. First you sew the units into three rows as shown below,

cats and mice 5

Step 6:

And press the seam allowances away from the Square in a Square units as shown in the picture below.

cats and mice 6

Step 7:

Now you can sew the three rows together,

cats and mice 7

Step 8:

And press the seam allowances. Here you can see that I've pressed my seam allowances toward the center because that was how the block wanted to lay but you can press however you would like. You're done! Told you it was quick!

cats and mice 8

Layout Ideas:

Here is the basic 4 x 4 layout. My favorite - I like the diagonal lines that the blocks create.

quilt 1

And here it is with sashing and cornerstones.

quilt 2

For this example, I've set the block on-point with the background fabric used in the setting triangles.

quilt 3

In this on-point layout sashing and cornerstones were added but in the dark blue color. Striking!

quilt 4


The Cats and Mice quilt block really was quick and easy to sew. You could easily put a third color in for the center unit if you wanted to. The Corner units will form a secondary block of four Square in a Square units when you sew multiple blocks together. All in all I was pleased with how this turned out.

I hope you like the Cats and Mice quilt block. 

Happy Quilting!


P.S. If you liked this post and want to see more quilting tutorials like this, simply click here to sign up for my newsletter and also receive a free PDF quilt pattern called Chained Weathervane.


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