The Traditional Quilt Block Broken Window - a Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's sew together this traditional quilt block called Broken Window. Usually only two colors are used (a dark and a light) to create this block but I had to do my own thing and use five! Of course, other traditional blocks are called Broken Window - in fact, I have a tutorial for one of them at Let's get started on this one!

broken window quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Broken Window Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 1 - 4.5" square (I've substituted a light print for this center square), 8 - 3" squares, and 16 - 2.5" squares
  • Light/Pink: 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, and 2 - 3" squares
  • Medium/Green: 4 - 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
  • Dark/Green: 6 - 3" squares

broken window fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Flying Geese Units:

Step 1:

Using eight of the Light/White 2.5" squares and the four Medium/Green 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, sew together four Flying Geese patches as shown in the picture below. You can find the tutorial for piecing the basic Flying Geese block at

broken window 1

Step 2:

Now you can repeat Step 1 with the remaining Light/White 2.5" squares and the four Light/Pink 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles as shown below.

broken window 2

Step 3:

Match up one Step 1 and one Step 2 units and sew together as shown in the picture below. Press the seam allowance toward the Light/Pink fabric.

broken window 3

Corner Units:

Step 4:

Using two of the Light/White 3" squares and the Light/Pink 3" squares, piece together four Half Square Triangles as shown in the picture below. You can find my tutorial for sewing a basic Half Square Triangle at Press the seam allowances away from the Light/White fabric. Trim/square up the unit to 2.5" square.

broken window 4

Step 5:

Next you will repeat Step 4 only using the remaining six Light/White 3" squares and the six Dark/Green 3" squares to create 12 Half Square Triangle units as shown below.

broken window 5

Step 6:

Using the picture below for a reference, layout one Step 4 unit and three Step 5 units. Then sew the units into two rows and press the seam allowances as shown. This is the same construction as a simple Four Patch block.

broken window 6

Step 7:

Next you need to sew the two rows together and press the seam allowance toward the Light/Pink Half Square Triangle as shown below. 

broken window 7

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Putting It All Together:

Step 8:

Lay out the Flying Geese units, the Corner units, and the center Light/White 4.5" square as shown below.

broken window 8-1

In my block I changed out the center square for a light print.

broken window 8-2

Step 9:

From here the Broken Window block goes together like a basic Nine Patch

block. First you sew the units into three rows as shown in the picture below.

broken window 9

Step 10:

Then you can press the seam allowances away from the Flying Geese units as shown in the picture below.

broken window 10

Step 11:

All that's left is to sew the three rows together, and

broken window 11

Step 12:

Press the seam toward the center of the block as shown in the picture below. You're done!

broken window 12


I had fun sewing this Broken Window quilt block together! I know I say that about almost all the blocks but this one was fun. 

While 12" finished quilt blocks seem to be the most common size, this pattern could easily be made 9" or 15". Because it's based on a Nine Patch block, any size that can easily be divided by three will work. A 6" block would have pretty small pieces in it though!

Layout Options:

I had to do a few layouts for this block. This one is like the block I made in the tutorial. I love how it creates what looks like another block where multiple blocks meet.

quilt 1 

In this example, I created the quilt with just a light and a dark like a classic block would have been done. It's still pretty but I like the one I put together better. 

quilt 2

Here we have the block alternating with a simple four patch chain block and sashing with cornerstones.

quilt 3

Look what happens when you put it on point! It always amazes me how different blocks look when you put them on point.

quilt 4

Here's another on point quilt layout. This one has the alternating four patch chain and sashing with cornerstones layout. I would rework the construction of the setting triangles but you can see the overall look. Very pretty!

quilt 5

Hmmm, I bet a scrappy quilt would look good too! What do you think?

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial for this Broken Window quilt blockIf 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.

Happy Quilting!


P.S. I have a pattern available that uses this block. Check it out at

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