Drunkards Path Quilt Pattern

Drunkards path quilt

Drunkards path quilt

Obviously I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that anyone amongst us might over indulge during the festive season, but I have been meaning to show you the drunkards path quilt block for a long time and it has finally made its way to the top of my list.  Naturally I haven’t made the true drunkards path block because that involves complicated things like curved seams (in every block!) but I have made the false or faux drunkards path which is dead simple.

The quilt is 53″ by 62″ and I have used 1/2 yard each of eight different fabrics – four dark and four light – plus an additional 1/2 yard of one dark and one light fabric for the quilt border.

Cutting requirements

From each of the eight fabrics, cut one 10″ strip across the width of fabric and one 7″ strip across the width of fabric.  These measurements were chosen so that the total requirement would be just 1/2 yard of each fabric and also so that you could cut four squares from each 10″ strip of fabric.

Making the drunkards path quilt block

Cut a circle from each 7" square

Cut a circle from each 7″ square

Fold and press twice

Fold and press twice

Cut four 10″ squares from each 10″ strip of fabric and four 7″ squares from each 7″ strip of fabric.  Mark and cut a circle on each 7″ square.  I used a plate which more or less filled the square for marking.  The size of the circle isn’t crucial but they do all need to be the same size as each other.

Fold the circles and the 10″ squares in half twice and press to mark the folds.  This shows you the middle of each square (where the two folds cross each other).

Match the centres

Match the centres

Zigzag around the circle

Zigzag around the circle

Put a pin through the middle of a circle and then push it through the middle of a square so that you are placing the circle exactly in the middle of the square.  Swivel the circle to match up the folds and pin the circle in place.

Zigzag the outer edge of the circle to attach it to the square.  Use a medium zigzag – I set my stitch length to about 2 and the width to about 3.

Cut along both folds

Cut along both folds

Cut along both folds of the square to create four drunkards path quilt blocks from each square.  Repeat with all the squares and circles – you should end up with eight different coloured blocks as you will have some with a light circle and dark surround along with some that have a dark circle and a light surround.


Two layers on the drunkards path quilt block

Two layers on the drunkards path quilt block

You’ll notice that you have two layers of fabric in the corner of each block – the circle fabric and the background square fabric.  If you prefer you can trim the fabric underneath (pink in the photo) about 1/4″ from the zigzag seam.  I prefer to leave the second layer in place as it gives a bit of body to the block and I find it makes it more easy to sew the blocks together.


Assembling the drunkards path quilt

Central motif

Central motif

First four rows of the drunkards path quilt

First four rows of the drunkards path quilt

For my layout of the drunkards path quilt I have used the design on the left in the middle and repeated it above and below.  I have used a layout of twelve rows of ten blocks.

On the right you can see the first four rows.  The top row is made up of a series of semi circles – one pointing up alternating with one pointing down and I have kept this pattern all round the edge of the drunkards path quilt.

Middle four rows of the drunkards path quilt

Middle four rows of the drunkards path quilt

Final four rows

Final four rows

On the left you can see the second four rows with the final four rows on the right.  They are not quite the same as each other:  on the left the bottom row has two semi circles pointing upwards on each side with a downward pointing semi circle in the middle, while on the right the bottom row has alternating upward and downward pointing semi circles.

I began by trying to do something clever with the colour placement but then realised that I was going to have a nervous breakdown if I tried to form a pattern with the light/dark semi circles and also with the colours, so colour placement is fairly random and the design is driven by whether the circles are dark on light or light on dark.  Sew the drunkards path quilt blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Border for the drunkards path quilt

Drunkards path quilt border

Drunkards path quilt border

Trim the cornerstones

Trim the cornerstones

For the border sew together a 2.1/2″ strip of a dark fabric and a light fabric.  You will need to cut five lengths of each fabric to make up the border.  Make two lengths of 45.1/2″ for the top and bottom of the quilt.  I had eight drunkards path quilt blocks left over so I have used four of them for cornerstones.  Trim 1/4″ all the way round these blocks to make them 4.1/2″ square.  Make two lengths of 54.1/2″ of the border strips and sew one drunkards path cornerstone to the top and the bottom of both these strips.  They can now be sewn to the sides of the quilt.

The drunkards path quilt is now complete and ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these stages can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

Christmas in Ludlow

Christmas in Ludlow

Christmas lights

Christmas lights

So it just remains for me to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.  I hope you have a wonderful festive season and thank you so much for all your kind comments and support during 2013.  I’m off to Birmingham now to meet my daughter off the train and my son will be coming home on Christmas Eve.

For next Friday I have nearly finished a quillow pattern for you.


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  1. I love this one and am definitely going to make it next.

  2. Hello Rose
    Wishing you and your family a very blessed Christmas. Have a good rest. Thankyou for all the wonderful quilt patterns you are so kind to share with us all.

  3. Bobbie Bartlett says:

    This quilt looks lovely Rose. I have almost finished my goblets and tumblers quilt for my son-in-law! Thanks for all your patterns. Merry Christmas.

  4. Hi Rose
    I love this quilt, love the extra colour in it. I too would like to say how I have enjoyed all your quilts this year and learn so much from your instructions. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a happy healthy 2014. Irene

  5. D. Friendly (Canada) says:

    Hi, Rose – I’m just trying to do a ‘printer friendly’ version of the great Drunkard’s Path project and I’m getting an error message that it won’t link to your website. I’ll go to my old method of copy/paste into Word but thought I’d let you know in case there is a way to fix it for others.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Hi Debra. Sorry you’re having problems. I think that it’s my web hosting system (which I’m thinking about changing). It overloads every now and then but should be okay if you try again later.

  6. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks for all the wonderful quilts throughout the year.

  7. Merry Christmas and the best for the coming year. Thank you so very much for these tutorials–even if I am not making them right now, I love watching the videos and learning new techniques.

  8. Merry Christmas Rose! Thank you for sharing so many patterns, pictures and videos over the year!

  9. I love the pattern, have bought plastic templates for Drunkards Path, but never attempted. Will try your way first.
    My grandmother quilted, and my mother quilts, their quilts are so pretty and are used every winter.
    Merry Christmas from a Native Texas woman living in Nebraska.

    • Hi Sally. Hope you enjoy making the quilt. I have patchwork quilts for winter, quilts for summer, quilts for spring ……

  10. Thank you, Rose, for all your wonderful tips, patterns and most of all inspiration. Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year.
    PS I bet it will be warmer here in Cyprus than it is in UK!

  11. Hi Rose,
    Thank you so much for another wonderful year, I really do look forward to Friday’s. I can’t believe you have us all on tenterhooks for next week. Our youngest daughter has just informed us that she is getting married next year so busy , busy, busy. A nice wedding ring quilt would be nice!!!!!!
    Hope you and your family have the most fabulous Christmas, take care and best wishes from Liverpool xxxxxx

    • Hi Trish. Thanks for your kind comments. Congratulations to your daughter on her engagement. My niece is getting married in Zimbabwe next year so a wedding ring quilt is very high on my list. Merry Christmas to you.

  12. Dear Rose , Isn’t it the best when the family come together again…I have 1 from Brisbane and another all the way from Far North Queensland joining the “local”two offspring!
    Your “family “of quilters is enormous,form all those comments, so I join them in wishing you the best of the season from Australia. Pls ..no need to reply …you need a holiday too!

  13. MaryAnn STEFANCHIK says:

    Merry Christmas, and thank you for all the helpful tutorials. I am so pleased you take the time to help all of us. Will start a “recovery quilt” tomorrow….for those whom I know that have found a new path,

  14. Thank you Rose for sharing your lovely ideas with us throughout the year. You bring a lot of pleasure to the many who follow your wonderful newsletters. Best wishes for Christmas. Annmaree

  15. So enjoyed looking in on your quilting ideas,I’ve saved them to decide wich one to tackle later with so many different ideas and patterns it’s not going to be easy. Thank you for nice clear instructions. have a merry old Christmas look forward to following you in 2014. Pat. Birch.

  16. Sandra Barnett says:

    Dear Rose,
    Thank you again for another great idea. and so much easier than the original. you always have great ideas and tips. I always look forward to Friday to see what you have come up with.
    Have a great Merry Christmas with your family. Rest and relax and enjoy them. See you in the New Year.

  17. Marilyn Larkin says:

    Dear Rose,
    How creative you are, turning something complicated into a masterpiece. Congratulations. All year you have delighted us with your wonderous patterns, sometimes I even stay up very late on a Friday night here in Australia just to wait for your posts, (It’s a lot like Christmas Eve every week). Merry Christmas to you and your family and wishing you a happy and healthy New Year. Raising a glass in cheers to you Marilyn L.

  18. marge tarleton says:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you also ! Hope you have a wonderful time with your family over the holiday week too ! Marge

  19. Zona Bentley says:

    Good morning Rose, thanks for the pattern, I will be trying this one,as soon as I can decide on colours. Like others I love your patterns because they are so clear, so easy to understand. Have a wonderful Christmas and a really blessed New Year. God bless .Zona

  20. Thank you Rose(such a pretty name) for all your quilt patterns, I so enjoy your emails with delightful quilts which I file away for future use. Just a beginner quilter with a love of the craft. Merry Christmas and a safe a Happy 2014. Cheryl

  21. loved your ideas. Working on a quilt to commemorate the 1914 anniversary of WW.1. This is nearly finished so your drunken quilt will be a welcome diversion for a fun project

  22. Pauline Clare says:

    Lovely by the way never “too early” A happy Christmas Rose and a happy quilting year in 2014 x

  23. Thanks Rose. I have always wanted to make Drunkards Path but found it daunting. I may just make one now. I dearly appreciate your printer friendly tutorials as I have SLOOOOOW satellite internet at home and download and print patterns at my daughter’s house to peruse later. The cut and paste a page at a time method is tedious. Thanks. Have a Merry, merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to spending another year with you.

    • Thanks, Cindy. It’s definitely worth a try. I wasn’t able to offer the print friendly version with my old website, so I’m glad that it’s a feature now. Best wishes to you for Christmas.

  24. What a great quilt to finish the year with Rose.
    Beautiful colours and so uncomplicated compared to the traditional method.
    You never let us down Rose.
    Enjoy having your family around you and best wishes for the holidays.

  25. Pat Barry, AR, USA says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Rose. Thanks for all you do – may happiness follow you.

  26. Angela Owen says:

    Hello Rose, this is a really pretty pattern and I intend to have a go at this one in the New Year. Do so hope you have a really lovely family Christmas, just as we intend to here in beautiful West Wales.

  27. Eileen Burns says:

    Hello Rose

    I hope you have a very merry Christmas and a relatively relaxing one!

    Best wishes

  28. Thank you for another lovely quilt pattern and easy way to do the drunkards path. Wishing you a joyful Christmas with your family, look forward to more quilting next year.

  29. I want to thank you for all the patterns that you send throughout the year…you are such an inspiration…….wishing you a very Merry xmas and a prosperous New Year. I look forward to the many quilts, blocks etc that you send……thank you so much Rose hugs

  30. That is so so pretty Rose. The colours are lovely and I have the floral one. Fabric Freedon I think, but it may not be exactly the same. Another one to add to my ‘must doos’. You are looking very festive indoors as no doubt we all are. Have a lovely Christmas with your family and very best wishes for 2014. I look forward to the quillow pattern in anticipation. That does not sound quite right, but you know what I mean, hopefully. Jennie x

    • Thanks, Jennie. Yes, they are all Fabric Freedom fabrics. They have such lovely rich colours. Best wishes for Christmas.

  31. Anita Broadhead says:

    Thank you Rose, You have done it again – made something easy enough for an old, beginner quilter like me to follow. You are a genius.
    Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and best wishes for a happy New Year.

  32. Hi Rose ,and I think that some time in the New –middle –late –Year 2014
    I just might attempt this quilt ,why you ask ?well for a start it hasn’t any 3/8ths cutting to do YEY I just wish I didn’t get bothered by 3/8ths !!!!
    I love looking at all the quilts you send .Happy Christmas to you and your family
    friendly love and Christmas hugs
    Sheila (and Charlott )xxxxxx

    • Hi Sheila – I thought you’d be impressed by the simple measurements! I hope you get a good rest over Christmas – all the best to you and Charlott.

  33. Hi Rose, What a lovely quilt you have made up. It’s so pretty.
    I will have a go at it after Christmas, it looks straight forward to do.
    ” Happy Christmas and Happy New Year ”
    to you all. Jean x

    • Thanks, Jean. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. (Jean sent me a stunning card with the most exquisite embroidery on it!)

  34. Good morning Rose and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I woke up to snow this morning. The Drunkard Quilt is pretty, but far too busy for me. I look forward to your video every Friday morning. Bea

    • Thanks, Bea. We have snow on the hills but not here in Ludlow (yet). You would probably like the drunkards path more in just two colours – it’s quite striking.

  35. Kathy Rice says:

    Thank YOU for all you do to make my life happier and easier. You are so much fun – I love your sense of humor. Have a wonderful, Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year.
    Keep the wonderful goodies coming!
    Love ya’,

  36. Julie Woods says:

    Now that is pretty tricky, Rose. You are clever!! Thanks a bunch. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Florida USA…

  37. Thank you Rose you are a constant source of quilting inspiration. Have a great Christmas

  38. Such a clever way to make the drunkards path block! Thanks so much for your excellent teaching, and great ideas, Rose. Thanks to you I’ve become an avid quilter.

  39. Best wishes Rose and here,s to a wonderful 2014

  40. Dear Rose,
    Have a very Merry Christmas with your family, and a wonderful New Year!

  41. Sarah Burnett says:

    Brilliant, and looks a much easier method than the traditional one. I am going to try this. Thank you
    Merry Christmas

    • Thanks, Sarah. Definitely easier – I feel sure that my blocks would not match up very well if I used the traditional drunkards path method.

  42. Alison Bucklow says:

    Happy Christmas to you and your family. I look forward to your designs for 2014. I don’t know where you keep thinking up the ideas! But I do like them!

  43. Thank you so much. Anxious to try this, your tute makes it
    look easy enough for me..

  44. Ann Lundie says:

    Hello Rose
    Thank you so much for this pattern. Although always an admirer of the Drunkards Path I never imagined being able to replicate it. Seeing how you have designed the faux pattern means that I will now give it a try. Thank you for the work you put in for all of us quilters over the year. I hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family. Best wishes. Ann

    • Thanks, Ann. Like you, I’ve always admired the drunkards path quilt block – it can be made into so many different designs. Best wishes to you for Christmas.

  45. I hope you have a wonderful christmas and I look forward to more lovely quilts with you in the new year.

  46. Gail smith says:

    Merry Christmas and thanks for all your hard work in supplying us with wonderful sewing projects.

  47. Merry Christmas, Rose! How smart you are with your new way of doing the Drunkard’s Path — great! Appreciate your hard work. Enjoy time with your family.

    Denise <

  48. Carolyn McAllister says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Rose. Your lovely blog and pictures are very appreciated. While I cannot do many of the patterns because I only have a Featherweight machine, I still love reading all the hints and tips. Thankyou.
    Carolyn McAllister

    • Thanks for your comments, Carolyn. Yes, I can imagine you would prefer to stick to smaller quilts, but you could make larger quilts using quilt as you go even on a small machine.

  49. D. Friendly (Canada) says:

    Absolutely stunning and such an easy technique! It is being added to my ‘favourites to be tried’!

    Merry Christmas!

  50. Suzi Maner says:

    I wish you and your family a joyous and blessed Christmas!

    Thanks for the pattern!!!! It is great!

  51. Love it Rose so much easier than the original . Have a great Christmas .

  52. That looks so lovely Rose. Not sure if my skills are up to it but I intend to have a go. I have so many odds and ends of material that I’m sure that it will look like a jumble but I intend to try and make it an organised jumble. Thank you.
    I’d like to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and good New Year. x

    • Thanks for your comments, Janny. It would be a great way of using up scraps – just try and keep the darks and lights separate for more effect. Best wishes to you for Christmas.

  53. Merry Christmas, Rose. Sounds like you have a great Christmas coming up with your family. Enjoy!