How to Make the Traditional Four Squares Quilt Block - a Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Let's take a look at this classic quilt block called Four Squares. It is fairly easy with just squares, rectangles and flying geese components and creates a secondary star design when multiple blocks are sewn together. I always like blocks that make secondary designs!

four squares 1

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Four Squares Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 1 - 4.5" square, 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, and 12 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium/Green: 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
  • Medium/Blue: 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, and 12 - 2.5" squares
  • To make four blocks, you will need approximately 1/2 yard each of the white and blue, and 1/4 yard of the green

four squares fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Corner Units:

Step 1:

Sew a Light/White 2.5" square and a Medium/Blue 2.5" square together and press the seam allowance away from the Light/White square as shown in the picture below.

four squares 1

Step 2:

Using the picture below as a reference, sew a Medium/Blue 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle to the Step 1 unit. Press the seam allowance toward the Medium/Blue rectangle.

four squares 2

Step 3:

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for a total of four Corner units. Easy peasy!

four squares 3

Flying Geese Units:

Step 4:

Using a Light/White 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle and two Medium/Blue 2.5" squares, make a Flying Geese patch. For a detailed step-by-step tutorial for making a basic Flying Geese block using my no-trim method, check out the blog post at  In the picture below you can see the first four steps.

four squares 4

Step 5:

And here is a picture showing the last steps to complete the Flying Geese patch.

four squares 5

Step 6:

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for a total of four White/Blue Flying Geese patches as shown in the picture below.

four squares 6

Step 7:

Repeat Steps 4 through 6 using the Medium/Green 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles and Light/White 2.5" squares. 

four squares 7

Step 8:

Here you can see all eight of the Flying Geese patches.

four squares 8

Step 9:

Match up a White/Blue Flying Geese patch with a White/Green Flying Geese patch as shown in the picture below. Stitch the patches together and press the seam allowance toward the White/Green Flying Geese patch.

four squares 9

Step 10:

Repeat Step 9 for a total four Flying Geese units like the ones shown below.

four squares 10

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Putting It All Together:

Step 11:

Layout the Corner units, the Flying Geese units, and the Light/White 4.5" square as shown in the picture below. From here the block goes together like a basic Nine Patch block.

four squares 11 

Step 12:

Sew the units together into three rows as shown below.

four squares 12

Step 13:

Press the seam allowances away from the Flying Geese units as shown in the picture below.

four squares 13

Step 14:

Complete the Four Square block by sewing the three rows together.

four squares 14

Step 15:

Press the seam allowance toward the center of the block. All done!

four square 15

Layout Options:

Here's the basic 4 x 4 layout with just a light and a dark fabric (the traditional block only used two fabrics).

quilt 1 

And here it is with three colors similar to the sample block I made. I think this makes the star more prominent.

quilt 2

And here is the same layout but with a narrow 1" sashing and cornerstones added. 

quilt 3

Here's a typical on-point layout. I love how things change when put on point!

quilt 4

For this on-point layout, the setting triangles are the light-colored fabric and a narrow sashing and cornerstones were added.

quilt 5

I added in more colors with this example. Kind of creates a three-dimensional look. I think this is my favorite!

quilt 6


It took me awhile to figure out where the "four squares" comes from but then I saw that the design is basically a square in a square in a square in a square. The block below shows that off well. The center light blue square, the medium blue diamond, the light purple square, and then the entire block is the fourth square.

block 2

I can see myself making a quilt with this block. I would probably use the five-color version of the block because I like the three-dimensional look it gives. (And I could use some of those light colored prints in my stash!)

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you like it 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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