These instructions will make a 12.5″x12.5″ pinwheel star block with 1/4″ seam allowances, so the finished block size will be 12″x12.”

Note: These directions make the blocks a little big and have you trim them down. This method works for any level of quilter but is especially foolproof for beginning quilters.

I’m including a guide/legend so we can refer to the colors by A, B, and C. A will be your darkest color, B medium, and C lightest. You’ll also need a background color.

Pinwheel star fabric legend
Pinwheel star fabric legend

Prepare your Fabric

Pre-wash your fabric, if needed.

Then, using a rotary cutter and rulers on a cutting mat, cut squares and triangles as follows:

  • One 6″ square in A
  • One 6″ square in C
  • Four 3.5″ squares in the background color
  • One 7.5″ square in the background color
  • Two 4″ squares in A
  • Two 4″ squares in B

Make one 6.5″ Pinwheel Block

Place the two 6″ squares right sides together.

Sew 1/4″ all the way around. It’s best if you don’t sew into the seam allowances at the corners; just sew in a square.

Pinwheel star first sew step
Don’t sew into the seam allowances in the corner

Cut the sewn square in half diagonally, then in half again. You’ll have 4 triangles.

pinwheel cut step
Cut into 4 triangles.

Press towards the darker color.

Lay out into a pinwheel shape. Can you believe how easy it was to get here?

pinwheel lay out shapes
Press to the darker color and place it into a pinwheel shape

Sew two together, then sew the other two together. Nest the two previous seams together at the corners.

pinwheel sew together
Nest the two previous seams together.

Press seams to one side.

pinwheel make two rows
Sew two together into rows

Sew the two rows together.

Press seams.

Trim to 6.5″ with the pinwheel intersection at the very center.

pinwheel sew together and trim
Trim to 6.5″

Make Flying Geese

Follow these directions to make 4 3.5″x6.5″ identical, asymmetrical, 3-color flying geese.

Assemble the Pinwheel Star Block

Lay out all the blocks and make sure it looks right: pinwheel block in the center, four 3.5″ background squares in the corners, and four flying geese at the edges.

Lay out all the smaller blocks for the pinwheel star block.
Lay out all the blocks.

Sew the top three blocks together.

Measure this row to make sure it’s 12 1/2″ wide. If it’s not, double check your seam allowance, rip out your seams, and try again. If it’s thinner than 12 1/2,” try moving the needle on your sewing machine a tad to the right to make your seam allowance smaller. You’ll want to measure the other pieces as the block comes together, but this is the best place to correct the problem (before you sew the rest of these seams).

Sew the middle three blocks together.

Sew the bottom three blocks together.

Press all three rows.

Sew each row together and press

Pin the first row to the second. Be careful to line up the seam intersections.



Pin the third row to the second. Be careful to line up the seam intersections.

Pin seam intersections.



Completed pinwheel star block

You should now have a 12.5″x12.5″ pinwheel star block!

It has raw edges now, because it has 1/4″ seam allowances all around. Once you sew it into a quilt, it will be 12″x12″ with hidden seams.