Railroad Crossing Quilt


Railroad crossing quilt

Railroad crossing quilt

The railroad crossing quilt was going to be four of these enormous quilt blocks sewn together in two pairs – great idea, except that it ended up looking a mess!  I realised that to get any kind of design I had to reverse the design on two of the blocks.  That may sound complicated, but trust me – within the quilt block there is nothing at all difficult.  By doing this, I was able to keep the trellis effect going across the quilt.  The quilt measures 52″ square and I have used 1.1/4 yards each of blue and white with 1 yard of brown fabric.

As usual, you can buy these fabrics at a discount of 10% in this week’s special offer.

Only two blocks required

Only two blocks required

Cutting requirements for the railroad crossing quilt

4.7/8″ squares:  eighteen brown, eighteen blue, thirty six white

2.1/2″ squares:  one hundred and forty four each of blue and white – cut seven 2.1/2″ strips across the width of fabric and save time with strip piecing

For the border you will need five 2.1/2″ brown strips cut across the width of fabric


Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Making the railroad crossing quilt block

Make half square triangles with the 4.7/8″ squares.  Place a white square with either a blue or a brown square with right sides together.  Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangles which are now 4.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowance towards the brown or blue and trim the corners of the squares.


Sew the blue and white strips together

Sew the blue and white strips together

Sew the 2.1/2″ blue and white strips together in pairs.  Press the seam allowance towards the blue.  Cut these panels at 2.1/2″ intervals to make rectangles which are 2.1/2″ wide by 4.1/2″ long.

Make four patch units

Make four patch units

Railroad crossing quilt block layout

Railroad crossing quilt block layout

Place two of these rectangles together so that the blue squares are diagonally opposite each other and sew together to make four patch units.

Lay the patchwork pieces out as shown.  This is an enormous quilt block – it will end up as 24″ square finished size, but the individual components are just the half square triangles and the four patch units.

Note that in the half square triangle blocks the brown triangles are placed facing inwards, touching at the middle, while the blue squares are always placed facing outwards.

The four patch units are placed together four at a time to make sixteen patch units, and they are always placed so that there is a white square top left of the block.

The block is made of three rows

The block is made of three rows

Sew together the four half square triangles and the sixteen patch blocks.  You can then form three rows which can be sewn together.  If you look at the layout of the railroad crossing quilt block now, you’ll see that it has a standard nine patch look to it:  rows one and three both have the triangle block at each end while the second row has the triangle block in the middle.

My original idea of making four railroad crossing quilt blocks the same looked messy, so I just made two of these blocks.

Alternate block - make two

Alternate block – make two

I made two alternate blocks using the same basic patchwork, but with the blocks reversed.  This meant that the first and third rows had sixteen patch units at each end and in the middle of the second row.

Sew the blocks in pairs

Sew the blocks in pairs

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

Assembling the railroad crossing quilt

Sew the blocks together in pairs.  Sew these two pairs together with the alternate blocks diagonally opposite each other.

What I have actually ended up with is a quilt made using the triangle blocks and the sixteen patch units alternating across the entire quilt – but I didn’t notice that until I stood back from the finished quilt.

Finally for the quilt border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of brown fabric.  You will need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the railroad crossing quilt.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section.

Here’s the video:

Renaissance diamond quilt pattern

Renaissance diamond quilt pattern

I have been told at different times that my quilts are too simple and that they are too difficult – if you would prefer a more complex quilt, I have written the pattern for the Fabric Freedom Renaissance quilt and you can see it here.

(As you can see, I’m firing on full energy again this week!)

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  1. Sandra Barnett says:

    Rose, love this quilt. Adding it to my collection. Way behind, catching up on your videos. We were in Flordia from Oct. 3-11. Need to just bind my Christmas quilt and it will be done.
    Love your work glad you are back with more energy.

    • Thanks, Sandra. Hope you had a great time in Florida. Sounds like you’re very organised with your Christmas quilt.

  2. Love this quilt Rose. I fact it’s my favorite so far. thankyou.

  3. Hi Rose,
    My first comment seems to have vanished (lol)
    Where do you get your ideas from?
    Congratulations on your appointment as quilt pattern designer.
    You deserve it as your tutorials are so well presented.
    Glad your energy levels are back to normal.
    Have you done any quilting with Minnie?
    Enjoy the week-end. Weather has changed dramatically.

    • Hi Mary. Apologies if the system ate your first comment. My quilt ideas most often come from seeing a quilt block that I like and then playing with it. I’m thrilled to be working with Fabric Freedom – they have such beautiful fabrics. No, I haven’t had a chance to do any quilting this week, but I have some planned for next week – if Minnie will allow!

  4. Rose,
    Just Love the RailRoad pattern. I know someone who is into railroads and would enjoy this quilt. Keep up the great work, and have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Lovely pattern – I always enjoy your patterns. Thanks Rose..

  6. Good to hear you’re feeling better. I like the railroad crossing pattern. It would look beautiful on any size bed. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hi Rose, I enjoy viewing your quilt ideas each week. I think beautiful fabrics can be shown to great advantage in a simple quilt pattern. As well, vibrant solid colours, like red, white and blue, would fit well with this week’s pattern. Your “railroad crossing” pattern reminds me of the beautiful old tile floors seen in Victorian buildings. Thanks for the time and effort you expend to give us new ideas.

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Maria. I think floor tiles are a wonderful inspiration for quilts – I’m always on the lookout when I go into churches.

  8. Beverly Allen says:

    Thank you, Rose, for the cute, many, both hard and easy quilts you share ! I will be attempting this latest one as a Christmas gift for next year, since it will have to be enlarged to 108″ for a king-size bed………wish me good thoughts as my endeavors will take quite a while. Thank goodness I own an Accuquilt die cutter machine to cut all the strips ! Then my Singer 221-1 featherweight will be humming …………..

    • Thanks, Beverly. That’s going to be quite a major project, making a 108″ quilt – good luck. You’re very wise to allow yourself plenty of time to make it.

  9. Thank You for another wonderful quilt pattern.

  10. Thank you for this beutiful quilt !

  11. This is perfect! Thanks 🙂

  12. A very attractive pattern and with only 3 fabrics! Thanks for sharing this inspiration.

    • Thanks, Kat. Having fewer fabrics sometimes gives clarity to the design – although not in the case of my first attempt at the design!