Tutorial: Buzz Saw Quilt Block

Posted in: Block Party, Tutorials — By on September 24, 2011 1:27 PM

The next block in our “Block Party” tutorial series is the buzz saw quilt block. It’s an easy one to sew but makes a somewhat complicated pattern, so you’ll need a bit of patience with this one!

This tutorial will show you how to make a block that is 9.5″ 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: Because of the complicated pattern for a buzz saw quilt, take your time planning your quilt before going to the fabric store so you’ll know exactly how much of each you’ll need. And, it never hurts to buy extra in case there are some hiccups along the way!

To make this block, you will need:

  • Two 10″ squares of contrasting fabrics
  • One 2.5″ x 9.5″ rectangle of one of those fabrics

This trick will save you some time: Pin your fabric squares together, with right sides facing in. 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 you drew so you have two triangles.  If you open them up, you’ll have a square with both of your fabrics.

Put one of the squares aside — you can use it for another block.

Press open the seam on the back of your square. It’s a bit fiddley, but pressing always keeps things looking nice and neat (…especially if you aren’t a *perfect* quilter!)

Lay your square on your cutting mat. Using a rotary cutter, cut the square into four equal strips.

Note: To save yourself a lot of aggravation, make sure that for each quilt block you make, the fabrics are in the same position before you cut the strips.  So, if the bottom fabric here is blue, I will always make sure that the blue is on the bottom when I cut the rest of my blocks. This will ensure that when it comes time to sew your blocks together, they will form a nice pattern!

Next you want to reverse the order of your strips, and add your 2.5″ x 9.5″ strip on the end — can you see buzz saw pattern?

Stitch the strips together and voila! You may want to square up your quilt block at this point to make sure they are all the same size.

To see how the pattern comes together, you need to sew a few more of these.  Once you have four finished, you can stitch them together and you get a buzz saw shape!

You can see that each of the corners can form more buzz saws (…I told you the pattern for this one was a bit tricky!)


To recap….

One buzz saw block:

Four blocks:

24 blocks:

My suggestion for planning your quilt is to work backwards.  First figure out how big your quilt will be.  Then divide it up into an even number of squares.  Then, divide your squares into groups of 4 — each group of four will have a buzz saw in the middle, with parts of other buzz saws in the corners. From here, you can figure out your colour scheme.  Do you want each buzz saw to be a different colour, or do you want to use the same two or four colours throughout the whole quilt?  Then figure out which fabrics will be used in each individual square, and how much fabric you’ll need to buy.

Required Reading:

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  1. Edith C says:

    My friend suggested I look at this site; I’m always on the lookout for shortcuts for quilt blocks and I’m excited already.

  2. melissa says:

    Love this pattern.

  3. Angela O Connor says:

    What a really clearly laid out tutorial, a pleasure to read and my fingers are itching to get started. Very happy to have come across this site……Excellent.

  4. Many thanks for a very well written and illustrated tutorial. This beautiful block is at the top of my to do list.

  5. JO says:

    not sure where I went wrong but when I used a layer cake 10″ square and made half triangle squares they did not measure up so I could cut 4 2.5″ strips…The half triangle square are 9.5″….so what did I miss?!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Jo,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m in the middle of one of these buzz saw quilts myself and you’re right, if you start with a 10″ inch square, your half triangle square will end up being closer to 9.5″. Rather than cutting 4 2.5″ strips, cut into 4 strips of equal width. At the end, you can square up your quilt blocks so they are the same size – approximately 9.5″ square.
      I’ll update the post so it is less misleading.
      Thanks again and happy quilting!

  6. Linda Hammons says:

    Love this pattern. Picked out my fabric yesterday. Can’t wait to get started.

  7. Lydia Gott says:

    This pattern is super I have made two and working on one more! Fun and easy !

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