Easy Continental Quilt Block Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's give this quick and easy Continental quilt block a try! With only half square triangles, squares, and rectangles, the Continental goes together in a flash. It's a great traditional star-type block. Typically it's made with just two colors but I had to put my own spin on it. Let's get started!

continental quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 9" Finished Continental Quilt Block:

  • Light/Ivory: 6 - 3" squares, 4 - 2.5" squares, and 5 - 1.5" squares
  • Medium/Pink & Green: 4 - 1.5" x 2.5" rectangles, and 4 - 1.5" squares
  • Dark 1/Green: 2 - 3" squares
  • Dark 2/Pink: 4 - 3" squares

continental fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square Triangle Units (HSTs):

Step 1:

Using two of the Light/Ivory 3" squares and the Dark 1/Green 3" squares, sew together four Half Square Triangle units. Press the seam allowances toward the Light/Ivory fabric. Trim the units to 2.5" square as shown in the picture below. You can find the tutorial for making Half Square Triangle blocks at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-half-square-triangle-block

continental 1

Step 2:

Using the remaining four Light/Ivory 3" squares and the four Dark 2/Pink 3" squares, now you can make eight Half Square Triangle units as shown below. Press the seam allowances toward the Dark 2/Pink fabric and trim the units to 2.5" square.

continental 2

Corner Units:

Step 3:

Now you can lay out two of the Step 2 HSTs, one of the Step 1 HSTs, and one Light/Ivory 2.5" square as shown in the photo below.

continental 4

Step 4:

The patches will go together like a basic Four Patch block. Just sew the patches into 2 rows and press the seam allowances away from the Step 2 HSTs as shown in the picture below.

continental 3

Step 5:

Now sew the rows together and press the seam allowance. You can see in the picture below that I've used the tweak/twirl/furl method of pressing, but you could press the seam allowance toward the Light/Ivory 2.5" square if you wanted. Repeat Steps 3 through 5 for a total of four Corner units.

continental 5

Sashing Units:

Step 6:

Sew together a Medium/Pink & Green 1.5" x 2.5" rectangle, a Light/Ivory 1.5" square, and a Medium/Pink & Green 1.5" square as shown in the picture below. Press the seam allowance away from the Light/Ivory fabric. Repeat for a total of four Sashing units.  

continental 6

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Putting It All Together:

Step 7:

Lay out the Corner units, the Sashing units, and a Light/Ivory 1.5" square as shown in the picture below. From here the Continental block goes together like an uneven Nine Patch block.

continental 7

Step 8:

Sew the patches together into three rows as shown below. It's gets a little bulky at some of the seam intersections. Just take your time and it will turn out great.

continental 8

Step 9:

Press the seam allowances toward the Sashing units as shown in the picture below.

continental 9

Step 10:

Sew the three rows together and you're done! Except for...

continental 10

Step 11:

the pressing. Here you can see the I've pressed the seam allowances away from the center so that when sewing blocks together, the seams will nest. However, the Continental will lay flatter if those seams are pressed toward the center of the quilt block. So it's your choice on how to press. 

continental 11


This Continental quilt block is fun and quick to sew together. When multiple blocks are sewn together, the Sashing units will make a nice design of alternating 2" of colored print and 1" of light across (and up and down) the quilt top.

I think this would make a great scrappy quilt. I would make the Corner units with the same colors for each block but then make the Medium/Pink & Green rectangles and squares with a mix of colors. I know you have some scraps around to give this a go!

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial for the Continental quilt blockIf 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!


P.S. You can get a PDF pattern of this block in my Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/listing/1158044112/continental-block-pdf-quilt-block

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