The Zig Zag Path Quilt Block - a Beginner-Friendly Traditional Block - Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Creating a stunning quilt doesn't always require complex techniques or intricate designs. The Zig Zag Path quilt block is a perfect example of simplicity meeting elegance. This block is incredibly easy and quick to assemble, using only half square triangles and squares.

Despite its straightforward construction, when pieced together in a full quilt, the Zig Zag Path block creates a unique and eye-catching pattern. Whether you're a beginner looking for a manageable project or an experienced quilter seeking a delightful new design, the Zig Zag Path quilt block offers a beautiful and efficient way to craft your next masterpiece.

zig zag path quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 9" Finished Zig Zag Path Quilt Block:

  • Light/Cream: 3 - 4" squares
  • Dark/Blue: 3 - 4" squares
  • Assorted Prints: 1 - 3.5" square, and 2 - 4" squares
  • This is the minimum needed for one block. If I were making more than one block, I would have lots of Assorted Prints.
Traditionally, this block is a three-color block - light, medium, and dark. But I had to try out a semi-scrappy design! In a quilt I would keep the Light and Dark fabrics consistent throughout the quilt and then have lots of medium toned prints for the rest.
zig zag path fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Half Square Triangles:

Step 1:

Using two of the Light/Cream 4" squares and two of the Dark/Blue 4" squares, sew together four Half Square Triangles. Press the seam allowances toward the Dark/Blue fabric. Trim/square up the units to 3.5" square.
For a detailed tutorial on making a basic Half Square Triangle block, click on this link:
zig zag path 1

Step 2:

Here's a picture of all four Half Square Triangles all squared up.
zig zag 2

Step 3:

Repeat Step 1 only using the remaining Light/Cream 4" square and one of the Assorted Prints 4" square. Press the seam allowance toward the Light/Cream fabric.
zig zag 3

Step 4:

Repeat Step 3 only using the remaining Dark/Blue 4" square and the remaining Assorted Prints 4" square. Press the seam allowance toward the Assorted Prints fabric.
zig zag 4
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Putting It All Together:

Step 5:

Lay out the Step 2, Step 3, and Step 4 Half Square Triangle units, and the Assorted Prints 3.5" square as shown in the picture below.
From here the block goes together like a typical Nine Patch block.
zig zag path 5

Step 6:

Sew the units into three rows as shown below.
zig zag 9

Step 7:

Press the seam allowances away from the Cream/Dark Blue Half Square Triangle units as shown.
zig zag 7

Step 8:

Sew the three rows together to complete the block.
zig zag 8

Step 9:

Press the seam allowances toward the center of the block. All done! Easy peasy!
zig zag 9

Layout Ideas:

Here's the basic 4 x 4 layout using a block similar in color to the one I made for this tutorial. I love the basketweave look that appears!
quilt 1
This is the same layout as above, just more Assorted Prints were used to make a scrappier version. I love the woven illusion the block creates! This is my favorite layout.
quilt 2
Here's the same layout only with sashing and cornerstones added. I think you lose the illusion of weaving in this example.
quilt 3
This example shows the traditional three-color block and every other block is rotated. Love this!
quilt 4
This is an on-point layout with three colors and the corner triangles are just the light color.
quilt 5
Another on-point layout but with narrow sashing and cornerstones added. Additionally, the setting triangles are plain light fabric.
quilt 6


The Zig Zag Path block was so quick and what a surprize in the layouts! I'm definitely going to have to make more of this block!

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. Looking for more easy blocks? Take a look at these blocks: Most of them only use squares, rectangles, and half square triangles in their construction.

P.P.S. Check out my Etsy shop at

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