Free Pattern - Paddle Wheel Quilt Block

Posted by Elaine Huff on

The Paddle Wheel quilt block that I'm going to show you goes together quickly because of the strip sets. It is put together using partial seam construction but not hard at all. I should mention that this isn't the same "Paddle Wheel" block that Judy Niemeyer developed with paper piecing - just has the same name! Let's get started!

Fabric Requirements for Two 12" Blocks

  • Light: 1 - 2" x width of fabric (WOF) strip
  • 4 Assorted Prints: 1 - 2" x WOF strip for EACH print
  • Dark/Black: 2 - 3.5" squares

paddle wheel fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

See the update at the end of the tutorial before deciding which way you would like to piece this block!

Step 1:

Strip Set:

Using the picture below for a reference, sew the 5 - 2" x WOF strips together, making sure that the Light strip is on one end. Press the seam allowances away from the Light strip (which you can also see in the picture below).

paddle wheel 1

Step 2:

Cut the strip set you made in Step 1 into eight 5" sections like in the picture below.

paddle wheel 2

Putting It All Together:

Step 3:

Arrange 4 of the sections you made in Step 2 and one of the Dark/Black 3.5" squares as shown in the picture below.

paddle wheel 3

Step 4:

Now you can start on the partial seam construction! Sew a partial seam with the Dark/Black 3.5" square and the lower right strip set section as shown in the picture below.

paddle wheel 4

Step 5:

Press the seam allowance away from the Dark/Black 3.5" square as you can see below. I've marked with chalk where I sewed the partial seam so you can see it better.

paddle wheel 5

Step 6:

Next you can sew the upper right strip set section to the unit you made in Step 5 as shown in the picture below.

paddle wheel 6

Step 7:

And press the seam allowance away from the Dark/Black 3.5" center square.

paddle wheel 7

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Step 8:

Using the following pictures for reference, you will continue adding the strip set sections in a counter-clockwise fashion and pressing the seam allowances away from the center of the block.

paddle wheel 8-1

paddle wheel 8-2

paddle wheel 8-3

paddle wheel 8-4

Step 9:

The last step is to finish sewing the partial seam that you began with. You're done!

paddle wheel 9

Step 10:

Except for the pressing! Repeat with the remaining strip set sections and Dark/Black 3.5" square for the second block.

paddle wheel 10

In Conclusion:

So this Paddle Wheel quilt block went together really fast! I think it would make a great scrappy quilt so long as the Light 2" strip is in the same place. There is almost no waste of fabric making this block either. For personal preference, I think I would replace the center 3.5" square with a lighter fabric - maybe even the same light used in the strip set.

I hope you enjoyed this Paddle Wheel quilt block tutorial! 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.


Thanks to Carol M. for pointing out to me that you don't have to use partial seam construction to make this Paddle Wheel quilt block! I saw those 5 strips and didn't even consider any other way to piece it together - sewing with blinders on!

So here's the update: Sew two (in this example the red and blue) WOF strips together and cut into 5" sections. Then sew the remaining three (tan, brown & light) WOF strips together and cut into 5" sections. Then you just lay them out with the center 3.5" square and piece together like a Nine-Patch block (tutorial for Nine Patch is at Easy, peasy! 

Happy Quilting!



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