How to Piece the Traditional Quilt Block called Pinwheels and Sawtooth

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's sew together the Pinwheels and Sawtooth quilt block! With only Half Square Triangles, it goes together quick and easy. Traditionally, this block is only made with two colors and a light background, but as usual I had to be a bit different. I think the extra color adds more interest to the block. Let's get started!

pinwheels and sawtooth quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Pinwheels and Sawtooth Quilt Block:

  • Light/Cream: 8 - 3" squares
  • Medium/Green: 2 - 5" squares, and 2 - 3" squares
  • Medium/Pink: 8 - 3" squares
  • Dark/Brown: 2 - 5" squares, and 2 - 3" squares

pinwheels and sawtooth fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square Triangles:

Step 1:

Using the Medium/Green and Dark/Brown 5" squares, sew together four large Half Square Triangle units. For a detailed tutorial on making Half Square Triangles, check out this blog post: Trim the units to 4.5" square.

pinwheels and sawtooth 1

Step 2:

Repeat Step 1 only use the Medium/Green and Dark/Brown 3" squares instead. Trim these units to 2.5" square.

pinwheels and sawtooth 2

Step 3:

Again, you can repeat Step 1 only using the Light/Cream and Medium/Pink 3" squares. You can find a tutorial for making eight Half Square Triangles at a time at Trim these units to 2.5" square.

pinwheels and sawtooth 3

Two Patch Units:

Step 4:

Match up two of the Step 3 Half Square Triangles as shown in the picture below and stitch them together. Press the seam allowance toward the Medium/Pink fabric.

pinwheels and sawtooth 4

Step 5:

Repeat Step 4 for a total of eight Two-Patch units.

pinwheels and sawtooth 5

Corner Units:

Step 6:

This is not the only way to sew the block together, but I think it is the easiest. Lay out a large Green/Brown Half Square Triangle, a small Green/Brown Half Square Triangle, and two Two-Patch units as shown in the picture below.

pinwheels and sawtooth

Step 7:

Sew the units together into two rows and press the seam allowances toward the Green/Brown Half Square Triangles as shown in the picture below.

pinwheels and sawtooth 6

Step 8:

Next, you can sew the two rows together and press the seam allowance. You can see in the picture below that I used the tweek/twirl/furl method of pressing but you can press however you wish. Repeat for a total of four Corner units.

pinwheels and sawtooth 8

newsletter signup

Putting It All Together:

Step 9:

Lay out the four Corner units as shown in the picture below.

pinwheels and sawtooth 9

Step 10:

Sew the units together in two rows as shown below. This is just like putting a basic Four Patch block together.

pinwheels and sawtooth 10

Step 11:

Press the seam allowances toward the Medium/Green fabric as shown in the picture below. Notice how all the seam allowances lay in the same direction as you rotate around the center of the block.

pinwheels and sawtooth 11

Step 12:

Sew the two rows together to complete the block!

pinwheels and sawtooth 12

Step 13:

All that's left is to press the seam allowance. Once again, I pressed using the tweek/twirl/furl method so that the center of the block will lay flatter.

pinwheels and sawtooth 13

Layout Options:

Here is a basic 4 x 4 layout. Lots of points to match up!

quilt 1

For this layout, I added narrow 1" sashing and cornerstones. This way, there's not so many points to match up.

quilt 2 

And here is the basic on-point layout. On-point just gives such a different feel to the block.

quilt 3

For this example, I've taken every other block and made it a plain background square. This would be great for doing some fancy quilting in the plain squares!

quilt 4

In this layout, I made an alternating block with the Pink/Cream half square triangles substituted with a plain cream strip. I like the way it looks - not so busy.

quilt 5

And in this example, I alternated with a completely different block called Thrifty. Totally changes the look! 

quilt 6


This Pinwheels and Sawtooth block went together so fast. Once you are done making the Half Square Triangles, it's a breeze!

If you're looking for other ways to use Half Square Triangles, take a look at this post:

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. Check out my PDF patterns in the Etsy shop at

P.P.S. To figure out yardage for a quilt, check out this post:

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →