Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block: A Free Tutorial

The Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt block is an old design that originated in the very late 1800s.

It creates a distinctive and lively block that can enhance most quilts.

In this tutorial we show you the easiest way to make this traditional quilt block.

Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block History

First a bit of history. The Dutchman’s puzzle quilt block was first seen in early magazines in the late 1800s, where it was sometimes also called the Dutchman’s wheel.

The Dutchman’s puzzle quilt block is also frequently referred to as a Windmill block because the spiral of triangles is reminiscent of the famous Dutch windmills.

If you reverse all of the geese the block is called Mosaic. If you only reverse the top and bottom left geese, you get Return of the Swallows.

The so-called flying geese units consist of a larger triangle (the goose) surrounded by two smaller triangles (the sky). Pay attention to color in making flying geese units.

If the goose fabric is dark, the sky should be lighter; on the other hand, if the the goose fabric is light, the sky should be darker.

Dutchman’s Puzzle Video Tutorial (written instructions below)


  • Paper and pencil
  • 6 ½” acrylic square ruler
  • Four- 7” squares of light color cut into quarters on the diagonals
  • One- 8” x 8” square of color A cut into quarters on the diagonals
  • One 8” x 8” square of color B cut into quarters on the diagonals
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Sewing machine with ¼” stitch setting
  • Thread
  • Iron and pressing surface

Simple instructions to make a Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block

Step 1: Drafting the pattern

On the paper, draw a 6 square.  Add ¼” on all sides and draw lines to make the pattern piece 6 ½”. Divide the 6” square into two 3” rectangles.  At the top of each rectangle, make a tiny mark at the center.  Draw a diagonal line from the center mark to the bottom edge of each rectangle

Step 2: Folding the Drawn Lines

Fold all the drawn lines. This is what it will look like after you fold on all the lines.

Step 3 Creating the Flying Geese Units

Place your first triangle of color A  under the triangle at the bottom half of the drawn pattern. The fabric should exceed the lines of the drawn pattern all the way around.  You should have ¼” above the top of this first triangle. Use 1 dab of washable glue to hold this piece in place on your paper pattern.

Step 4: First Fold

Fold the pattern paper down on the first line.

Step 5: Trim the Excess

Use your ruler to trim excess fabric along the fold line.

Step 6: Add the White

Use your ruler to trim excess fabric along the fold line.

Place your first white fabric triangle right sides together with the main piece, matching the edges.

Step 7: Trim the Block

Fold your paper along line #2, trim the excess  fabric, and attach the next  triangle in the same manner as before.

Step 8: One Completed Flying Geese Block

You will have completed one flying geese unit. 

Step 9: Trim Again

There will be excess fabric above the point of your main color triangle. Trim this down to ¼” above the point. This will become the seam allowance.

Step 10: Add the Color B

Place the long edge of the color B triangle on the ¼” line you just cut, with right sides together. Stitch this seam.   Flip the fabric up and press. 

Step 11

Add a white triangle piece on one side of this colored triangle, using the same method as before. 

Step 12

Add the other triangle on the other side. 

Step 13

Press well, then trim the unit to 6 ½”. 

Step 14

Make three more units just like this. 

Step 15: Join the Flying Geese Blocks

Join the four to make the block. Trim the block to 12.5” square.
Sew the next piece in place right sides together matching cut edges.  There should be at least ¼” of excess fabric above the top drawn line of your pattern. Open and press. Fold along line 5.  Trim away excess fabric.  Sew the last piece in place right sides together, matching cut edges.  Open and press. You now have a completed unit.  Trim piece to 6 ½” square, being sure to leave ¼” above top triangle point for seam allowance.  

Final Step

Create 4 identical units like this.  Arrange them into a pinwheel formation to create the Dutchman’s puzzle block.