Rail fence quilt block

In this brief tutorial, we are creating a basic rail fence block set into a spinning or pinwheel type design. This basic block is used in a range of rail fence quilt patterns.

What is a Rail Fence Quilt Pattern?

The Rail Fence quilt pattern got its name from real split rail fences like this one at the Pea Ridge National Military Park in Arkansas, United States.

Rail fence quilts are a popular choice for beginners to try as they look great and involve many of the basic skills but still involve straight lines.

You can use this tutorial to master the basics of creating a rail fence quilt block as part of a rail fence quilt pattern.

Split Rail Fence Row - Pea Ridge National Military Park, Nortwest Arkansas

Materials you will need for the rail fence block:

  • Dark fabric 12 x 7
  • Medium fabric 12 x 7
  • Light fabric 12 X 7
  • Iron and pressing surface
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • 6 ½ and 12 ½ acrylic rulers
  • Sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance marked

Rail Fence Quilt Block: Step by Step Instructions

Cutting fabric for the rail fence quilt block

From each print cut: four (4) strips measuring 2 ½ x 6 ½ inches

Arrange the strips

Layer the strips into four piles from dark to light.

Sew the Strips and Press Seams

Sew the strips together along the long side. Press seams to the darker side.

Trim each strip unit

Trim each 3 strip unit to 6 ½” square.

Arrange the units

Arrange the units as shown

Sew the Units into The Rail Fence Block

Sew the units together taking account of the seam allowance and nesting the seams for flat pressing.

Trim the Block (if necessary) and You Are Finished

Trim completed block to 12 ½” if necessary.