Tutorial: Zig Zag Quilt Block

Posted in: Block Party, Tutorials — By on August 4, 2011 7:40 AM

The next quilt block in our “Block Party” tutorial series is a very cool one indeed: the zig zag quilt block.  This is an easy block to make, and you’ll end up with a really eye-catching quilt.

This tutorial will show you how to make a block that is 8″ square.  You can make your block larger or smaller by changing the size of your triangles accordingly. For this tutorial, all seams are 1/4″ which is standard for quilting.

A note about choosing your fabrics: You may decide to have one background colour/pattern for your quilt, and then have the zig zag stripes in one or more contrasting colours so there will be a stripe of your background fabric in between each zig zag.  Or, you could choose to have each stripe as a different colour.  Whichever colour scheme you decide, you should do a quick sketch of your quilt showing the colour of each stripe so that you can keep track of what goes where!

To make this block, you will need:

  • Two 5″ squares of your background fabric
  • Two 5″ squares of your stripe fabric

This trick will save you some cutting: Pin a square of the background fabric to a square of the contrasting fabric, right sides together.  Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner, and stitch 1/4″ from the line on either side.

Cut along the line that you drew so you have two triangles.

When you open up the triangles, you’ll see that you have half of the block.

Repeat with the other two fabric squares, and stitch the four quadrants of your block in place.


That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now make 40 more! (…or however many more blocks you need for your quilt!)

This square is the building block for a pretty neat quilt.  When you put a bunch of these together, you get a bold zig zag pattern.

When planning your quilt, you can put the blocks right together or space them out with a band of your background fabric in between the stripes to make the quilt seem less busy…

The best way to tackle this quilt is to stitch blocks together to form each stripe, and then sew your stripes together so that everything lines up.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan out this quilt so you can keep track of what you’re sewing when.  As long as you take the time to plan and stay organized, this is a great quilt for beginners since it is a basic pattern with lots of visual impact.  Give it a try!


Are there any quilt blocks that you’d like to see in our “Block Party!” tutorial series? Leave us a note in the comments section!


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  1. Amanda says:

    Hi! I’m new to quilting and stumbled upon this tutorial. It explains really well. I’m just wondering if the 8″ is the finished size of the block? For example, I need to make a quilt top 48″x56″ so I figured I would need 6-8″blocks across and 7-8″ blocks down. I just want to make sure this makes sense. Please contact me at djensen@mymts.net to confirm. Thank you so much!

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi Amanda – Yep, that sounds right! The block shown in the first picture is what your 8″ block will look like.
    Good luck with your quilt! :)

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