Contrary Wife Quilt Block Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's look at the Contrary Wife quilt block. Now the one I'm going to show you how to sew is not the Contrary Wife block that shows up on the first page of Google if you do a search for it. In fact, there are several quilt blocks called Contrary Wife and I'll probably be doing tutorials on them in the near future. It's a fairly easy block with only Half Square Triangles, squares, and rectangles. Let's get started!

contrary wife quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Contrary Wife Quilt Block:

  • Light/Gold: 8 - 3: squares, 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, and 4 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium/Orange: 2 - 3" squares, and 8 - 2.5" squares
  • Dark/Black: 6 - 3" squares

contrary wife fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square Triangle Units:

Step 1:

Using two Light/Gold 3" squares and two Medium/Orange 3" squares, sew together 4 Half Square Triangle units as shown in the picture below. You can find my tutorial for making Half Square Triangles at

contrary wife 1

Step 2:

Now you get to repeat Step 1 only using the remaining six Light/Gold 3" squares and the six Dark/Black 3" squares to make 12 Half Square Triangle units.

contrary wife 2 

Pinwheel Unit:

Step 3:

For the center of the block, you'll be making a Pinwheel unit using four of the Step 2 Half Square Triangle units as shown in the picture below. I pressed the seam allowances toward the Dark/Black fabric. The tutorial for making the Pinwheel can be found at

contrary wife 3

Step 4:

I pressed my Pinwheel using the twirl/tweak/furl method which you can see below. Isn't that tiny pinwheel in the center cute?

contrary wife 4

Middle Unit (for lack of a better name!):

Step 5:

Now you can lay out a Light/Gold 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle, a Light/Gold 2.5" square, and a Step 1 unit as shown in the picture below.

contrary wife 5

Step 6:

Begin by sewing the Light/Gold 2.5" square and the Step 1 unit together and pressing the seam allowance toward the Light/Gold square as shown below.

contrary wife 6

Step 7:

Now you can sew the Light/Gold rectangle to the Step 6 unit and press the seam allowance toward the Light/Gold rectangle as shown in the picture below. Repeat Steps 5 - 7 for a total of four Middle units.

contrary wife 7

Corner Unit:

Step 8:

Next you need to lay out two of the Medium/Orange 2.5" squares and two of the Step 2 Half Square Triangle units as shown in the picture below.

contrary wife 8

Step 9:

Sew the patches together into two rows just like a typical Four Patch block and press the seam allowances toward the Medium/Orange square as you can see in the photo below.

contrary wife 9

Step 10:

Now sew the two rows together to complete the Corner unit. Press the seam allowance as shown in the picture below. Repeat Steps 8 through 10 for a total of four Corner units.

contrary wife 10

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Putting It All Together:

Step 11:

Lay out the Pinwheel unit, the Middle units and the Corner units in a typical Nine Patch fashion as shown in the picture below.

contrary wife 11

Step 12:

Sew the units into two rows as shown below.

contrary wife 12

Step 13:

And press the seam allowances. Here you can see that I've pressed the seam allowances away from the Middle units but you can press however you wish.

contrary wife 13

Step 14:

Sew the rows together and you're finished!

contrary wife 14

Step 15:

Well, except for the pressing. Press the seam allowances in whatever direction you wish. You can see from the picture below that I've pressed mine toward the center of the block. This will help nest seams nicer when sewing blocks together.

contrary wife 15


So I wonder who the contrary wife was who got so many quilt blocks named after her - lol!

All in all, the Contrary Wife quilt block went together nicely. I think it will create a nice square in a square design where four blocks come together - always nice to get a secondary design to show up when putting blocks together. I like the two-color pinwheel in the center too.

I hope you've enjoyed the Contrary Wife quilt block! 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".

Happy Quilting!


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