Free Pattern – China Doll Quilt Block

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today we’re going to sew together a China Doll quilt block! This block was designed by Judy Martin. Judy has been quilting since 1969 and published her first book of quilt patterns in 1980. Her most recent book came out in 2018 and is called “Singular Stars”. So let’s get started!

china doll quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 10" Finished China Doll Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 6 – 3″ squares, 4 – 2.5″ x 1.5″ rectangles, and 4 – 1.5″ squares
  • Medium 1/Yellow: 4 – 2.5″ squares, and 8 – 1.5″ squares
  • Medium 2/Purple: 4 – 2.5″ x 1.5″ rectangles, and 4 – 1.5″ squares
  • Dark 1/Green: 6 – 3″ squares
  • Dark 2/Black: 1 – 2.5″ square
china doll quilt block

Sewing Directions:

Half-Square Triangle Units:

Step 1:

First of all, you need to make 12 Half-Square Triangle (HST) units using the Light/White 3″ squares and the Dark 1/Green 3″ squares. You can fine my tutorial on making HST units at: Trim/square up the units to 2.5″ square.

china doll 1

Four-Patch Units:

Step 2:

So the Four-Patch unit is probably the easiest quilting unit ever but…this one has specific placement of colors and specific pressing instructions. To see my generic instructions for making a Four-Patch block, click on this link:

Lay out 1 Light/White 1.5″ square, 2 Medium 1/Yellow 1.5″ squares, and 1 Medium 2/Purple 1.5″ square as shown in the picture below.

china doll 2

Step 3:

Sew the squares into 2 columns as shown in the picture below. 

Step 4:

Press the seam allowances away from the Medium 1/Yellow squares as shown below.

china doll 3

Step 5:

Now sew the 2 columns together to complete the Four-Patch unit, and…

china doll 5

Step 6:

Press the seam allowance toward the side with the Light/White 1.5″ square as you can see in the picture below. Repeat Steps 2 through 6 so you have a total of 4 Four-Patch units.

china doll 6

Strip Set Units:

Step 7:

Now you will need to make Strip Set units using the Light/White 2.5″ x 1.5″ rectangles and the Medium 2/Purple 2.5″ x 1.5″ rectangles.

china doll 7

Step 8:

Sew the two rectangles together along a long side as shown, and…

china doll 8

Step 9:

Press seam allowance toward the Light/White rectangle as shown in the picture below. Repeat Steps 7 through 9 so you have a total of 4 Strip Set units.

china doll 9
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Putting the China Doll Quilt Block All Together:

Step 10:

Lay out the Half-Square Triangle units, the Four-Patch units, the Strip Set units, the 4 Medium 1/Yellow 2.5″ squares, and the Dark 2/Black center 2.5″ square as shown in the picture below.

china doll 10

Step 11:

Sew the patches into 5 rows, and…

china doll 11

Step 12:

Press the seam allowances in opposing directions from row to row so that seam allowances will nest nicely. I recommend pressing the seam allowances in rows 1, 3, and 5 toward the center, and rows 2 and 4 toward the outside of the block. (If you look closely, you’ll see that I messed up on pressing the last seam in each row and one of the Four-Patch units. So I guess “do what I say, not what I do” is appropriate here!)

china doll 12

Step 13:

Almost done! Sew the rows together to complete the block!

china doll 15

Step 14:

All that’s left is to press the seam allowances! I recommend pressing seams 1 and 4 toward the outside of the block and seams 2 and 3 toward the center of the block. But you can press however you would like.

china doll 14

In Conclusion:

All in all, this China Doll quilt block is pretty easy to sew. There are some small units but they are easy units. I wish I had used a different fabric in place of the yellow print. This shows the importance of trying out one block before cutting all  your fabric for a quilt! 

Variation Ideas:

This would be really pretty in one color way – 4 prints of varying intensities plus a background color – now why didn’t I do that for this example? The Medium 1/Yellow 2.5″ squares wouldn’t have to be the same fabric as the Medium 1/Yellow 1.5″ squares either. 

I hope you enjoyed this block! You can find a list of all of Judy Martin’s books at this link: I think I’ll have to try out her latest book “Singular Stars”.

If you like this tutorial and want to see more, just click HERE to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free PDF quilt pattern called "Chained Weathervane".

Happy Quilting!


P.S. In case you missed it, check out my roundup post of easy quilt blocks at

P.P.S. Check out my patterns I have for sale on Etsy at


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