How to Sew a Steps to the Altar Quilt Block

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Let’s learn how to sew a Steps to the Altar quilt block today!

This is the last block for a quilt I’ve been working on for a couple of years – Yeah!! I got the pattern from Kim Diehl’s Evening Star Quilt pattern. It is a Steps to the Altar quilt block with a color placement variation. It is a great block to use up your medium and dark scraps and creates a nice secondary pattern when put together in a quilt. Of course you could use light and medium fabric colors and get a whole different feel to the finished quilt. You can see more of Kim Diehl’s patterns and fabric on her Facebook page

This block finishes at 12.5″ square and here are the cutting directions:

Fabric Requirements:

  • Black Print – 6 – 2.5″ squares
  • Medium/Dark 1 – 6 – 2.5″ squares, and 3 – 5″ squares
  • Medium/Dark 2 – 3 – 5″ squares

Sewing Directions:

We’ve already gone over the two patches that make up this block – the Four Patch and the Half-Square Triangle.

Step 1:

Four Patch Units:

Using the 2.5" Black Print squares and the 2.5" Medium/Dark 1 squares, make 3 Four Patch units. You can read the tutorial for the Four Patch block here: 

Step 2:

Half-Square Triangle Units:

Using the 5" Medium/Dark 1 squares and the 5" Medium/Dark 2 squares, make 6 Half-Square Triangle units. You can find my Half-Square Triangle tutorial here:

Steps to the Altar 1

Step 3:

The sewing construction goes together just like a Basic Nine-Patch block (

Layout the Four-Patch and Half-Square Triangle units as shown above and sew into 3 rows. Press the seam allowances in the top and bottom rows toward the outside of the block and the middle row toward the inside of the block.

steps to the altar 2

Here you can see the direction for pressing the seam allowances.

steps to the altar 3

Step 4:

Then you sew the 3 rows together and you’re done!

steps to the altar 4

Step 5:

Press the seam allowances toward the center of the block. Here is a picture of the back of the finished block showing the direction of the seam allowances.

steps to the altar 5


To make the quilt, the blocks are put together with every other one being rotated. The way we have pressed the seam allowances makes the seams nest together so you get a nice intersection.

steps to the altar 6

Here is my layout for 1/4 of my quilt top. The blocks make a wonderful secondary design of X’s and diamonds. My design wall is only 4′ wide so it only holds 1/4 of a queen-size quilt. But that’s big enough for most projects. If I need to lay out the whole quilt at once, I just use my bed or the floor.

steps to the altar 7

When I was laying out the units to take a picture, I accidentally did it wrong – no, not wrong, just different. So this layout would work too and would give a totally different look to the finished quilt.

steps to the altar 8

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial for a Steps to the Altar quilt block. When I get my quilt quilted, I'll post a picture of it.

Happy Quilting!


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