Creating the Marvelous Aircraft Quilt Block

Hey there, fellow quilting enthusiasts! Today, I’ve got an exciting quilting project to share with you—a captivating and marvelous Aircraft Quilt Block! But before we dive into the world of quilting, let me share a little story with you. Once upon a time, in a charming little town, lived a passionate quilter named Sarah.


Sarah had a fascination for all things aviation-related and adored the sight of airplanes soaring through the sky. This fascination inspired her to create a tutorial for the Aircraft Quilt Block, which resembles the beautiful wings of an aircraft soaring high above the clouds.

The Aircraft Quilt Block is a mesmerizing two-fabric patchwork design that includes one half-square triangle (HST) and three repeats of a combination unit made of HSTs in two different sizes. The foundation piecing technique used for this block makes it a dream to piece, with only one match point at the very center of the block.

You’ll find this versatile combination unit in several other quilt blocks, such as the Goose and Goslings, Monkey Wrench, and Joseph’s Coat designs. This tutorial provides piecing instructions in three different sizes, along with free downloads of the paper piecing patterns.


Materials Needed:

Before we get started, let’s gather all the materials needed for this project:

  1. Fabric D: 2 squares (for the HST and patch #1).
  2. Fabric L: 5 squares (for patches #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6).
  3. Sewing machine and thread.
  4. Pins.
  5. Ruler and rotary cutter.
  6. Paper piecing patterns (download links provided in the tutorial).
  7. Iron (optional, for pressing).

Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Step 1: Download and Print Paper Piecing Patterns

To begin, download and print the paper piecing patterns needed for this project. Make sure you have the most current version of Adobe installed on your computer for accurate results. Adjust the ‘Custom Scale’ to 100% in the Adobe Print Menu before printing.

After printing, use the 1″ square graphic on the pages to ensure they are printed accurately. You can choose from three finished sizes: 4″, 5″, or 6″. The sample in this tutorial uses the 6″ version. Print one copy for each block you plan to make.

Step 2: Cutting the Aircraft Patches

The Aircraft quilt block has a finished size of 6″ square. The patches are cut generously to ensure easy alignment with the pattern and to avoid ripping.

Refer to the cutting chart below for the patch dimensions:

Cutting Chart for an Aircraft Quilt Block: (Patch – Fabric – Quantity – Finished Block Size)

  • Patch 1: Fabric D – 2 squares – 1 7/8″ x 1 7/8″, 2 1/8″ x 2 1/8″, 2 3/8″ x 2 3/8″
  • Patches 2, 3, 4: Fabric L – 5 squares – 2 3/8″ x 2 3/8″, 2 5/8″ x 2 5/8″, 2 7/8″ x 2 7/8″
  • Patch 5: Fabric D – 2 squares – 3 3/8″ x 3 3/8″, 3 7/8″ x 3 7/8″, 4 3/8″ x 4 3/8″
  • Patch 6: Fabric L – 1 square – 3 3/8″ x 3 3/8″, 3 7/8″ x 3 7/8″, 4 3/8″ x 4 3/8″

Step 3: Create the Units

HST Unit:

  1. With right sides together, align the bias edges of one dark (#5) and one light (#6) large triangle.
  2. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam and press with the seam allowance to the dark fabric.
  3. Use the chart provided to trim your HST to the correct size.

Foundation Pieced Units: Follow these general sewing machine setup tips for paper piecing:

  • Reduce your stitch length to 16-20 stitches per inch (1.3-1.6 mm) to perforate the paper.
  • Slow down when stitching to stay on the lines.
  • Use an open toe appliqué foot for better visibility.
  • Use a larger needle (90/14) for easy paper removal.
  • Avoid using steam to prevent curling of the pattern.

Now, let’s assemble the Birds in the Air units:

  1. Cut the paper pattern into blocks and cover the area of Patch #1 with a small dark triangle, aligning it with the dotted lines. Use a dab of glue stick to hold it in place.
  2. With right sides together, match the long cut side of a light #2 triangle with Patch #1.
  3. Stitch starting before and ending after the printed solid line. Future lines of stitching secure the ends.
  4. Press and repeat the process for patches #3 and #4.
  5. Trim the seam allowances, flip the unit with the paper side facing up, and trim the SA for Patch #5.
  6. Align the edge of Patch #5 with the trimmed edge, stitch, and press.
  7. Trim each unit to size and remove the paper.

Step 4: Assemble the Aircraft Quilt Block

Arrange the trimmed units into rows and stitch each pair together. Press with the seam allowance in the top row towards the large dark fabric and in the bottom row towards the large light triangle.

The seams will nest when you put the block together, making it easier to match. Stitch the rows together to complete the block.

And there you have it—the magnificent Aircraft Quilt Block!

Full Pattern: Click Here

Congratulations on crafting the captivating Aircraft Quilt Block! This block, resembling the wings of a soaring aircraft, is a testament to the wonder of aviation.

By following the foundation piecing technique and assembling the combination units, you’ve created a marvelous block that will be a wonderful addition to any quilt project.

Now that you’ve mastered the Aircraft block, let your imagination take flight and experiment with different colors and arrangements. Quilting is a journey of creativity and expression, and this block is just the beginning of your quilting adventure.

Enjoy the process, and happy quilting!

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