How to Make the Cups and Saucers Quilt Block - a Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

The Cups and Saucers quilt block is a quick one to sew and makes a stunning quilt. I've chosen to make a scrappy version but it looks great as a two-color block too.

The block was contributed by Mrs. Edward Hendreds to the Kansas City Star in 1936 and was a "revived" pattern meaning it had been around a long time! A true classic! With only half square triangles, flying geese, and squares, it goes together quickly. Let's get sewing!

cups and saucers quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Cups and Saucers Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 2 - 5" squares, and 8 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
  • Assorted Prints: 2 - 5" squares, 1 - 4.5" square, and 16 - 2.5" squares

cups and saucers fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square Triangle Units:

Step 1:

Using a Light/White 5" square and an Assorted Print 5" square, sew together a Half Square Triangle unit.

  • Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of one of the Light/White squares and sew 1/4" (or a little less) on each side of the line.
  • Cut along the diagonal line.  You will have 2 half-square triangle patches.

cups and saucers 1

Step 2:

  • Open up the patch and press the seam allowance toward the Assorted Print fabric.
  • Trim the unit to 4.5" square.

For a detailed tutorial check out my blog post at

cups and saucers 2

Step 3:

Repeat for a total of four Half Square Triangle units like the ones shown below. If I were making multiple blocks, I would have made more colorings of the these units to get a truly scrappy look.

cups and saucers 3

Flying Geese Units:

Step 4:

Using the Light/White 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles and Assorted Prints 2.5" squares, make a Flying Geese unit. You can find my detailed tutorial using my no-trim method for making perfect Flying Geese at the picture below you can see the first four steps.

cups and saucers 4

Step 5:

And here you can see the last four steps.

cups and saucers 5

Step 6:

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for a total of eight Flying Geese units as shown below.

cups and saucers 6

Middle Units:

Step 7:

Sew together two Step 6 Flying Geese units and press the seam allowance as shown in the picture below (away from the point).

cups and saucers 7

Step 8:

Repeat Step 7 for a total of four Middle units as shown below.

cups and saucers 8

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Putting It All Together:

Step 9:

Lay out the Half Square Triangle units, the Middle units, and the Assorted Prints 4.5" square as shown below. From here the block goes together like a basic Nine Patch block.

cups and saucers 9

Step 10:

Just sew the units into three rows.

cups and saucers 10

Step 11:

And press the seam allowances away from the Middle units as you can see in the picture below.

cups and saucers 11

Step 12:

All that left is to sew the three rows together and...

cups and saucers 12

Step 13:

Press the seam allowances toward the center of block as shown. That's it!

cups and saucers 13

Layout Ideas:

Here's a typical 4 x 4 layout with the scrappy block:

quilt 1 

This is the same layout but using a two-color block.

quilt 2

In this example I've used the two-color block and added in narrow sashing and cornerstones.

quilt 3

In this layout it is on-point and scrappy.

quilt 4

And this one is also on-point but with the light fabric used in the setting triangles.

quilt 5

For this on-point example I added in dark sashings and light cornerstones for a different effect.

quilt 6

Here's what reversing the colors looks like. This block is called Illinois.

quilt 7 

And for this one I alternated the Cups and Saucers block with the Illinois block. I really like this layout.

quilt 8


The Cups and Saucers block was fun to play with and went together quickly. I really enjoyed it! It always amazes me all the different designs you can get just using a couple of basic units in a block. 

If you liked this post and want to see more quilting tutorials, simply click HERE to sign up for my newsletter and also receive a free PDF downloadable pattern called "Chained Weathervane".

Happy Quilting!


P.S. For more scrappy quilt blocks, click on this link:

P.P.S. Need a quilt pattern in a hurry? Check out my easy downloadable PDF patterns at


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