Bears Paw Quilt Pattern

Black bears paw quilt

Black bears paw quilt

White bears paw quilt

White bears paw quilt

The bears paw quilt block is a big block but very easy to make.  Note that the reason that I have made this quilt twice is not because I am a glutton for punishment but because I think it makes a really good point about colours in fabrics.  I have used the same blue in both quilts.  In one the blue counts as a light fabric against the black and in the other the blue counts as a dark fabric against the white.

It is a very traditional quilt block and you may also have come across it by one of its other names:  bears foot, bear tracks or cats paw.

Cutting requirements

2.7/8″ squares:  thirty two each of black and blue

2.1/2″ squares:  sixteen black and four blue

4.1/2″ squares:  sixteen blue

2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ rectangles: sixteen black

Making the bears paw quilt block

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Use the 2.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles.  Place a blue and a black square with right sides together and mark a line along one of the diagonals.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the line and cut along the line to produce two half square triangles.  I know that I am pretty boring and always use this method, but if you want to see some different ways of making half square triangles, click here.




Bear paw quilt block layout

Bear paw quilt block layout

Lay the squares out as shown.  If they were all 2.1/2″ squares there would be seven rows of seven.  There’s a 2.1/2″ blue square in the middle with a black 2.1/2″ by 6.1/2″ rectangle on each side of it and a 4.1/2″ blue square at each corner of the central square.  All the half square triangles are placed around the edge of the bear paw quilt block – you just need to check which way the triangles are facing.  There is a black 2.1/2″ square in each corner of the bear paw quilt block.



Sew the squares in pairs

Sew the squares in pairs

Sew the half square triangles together in pairs.  The half square triangles above and below the large blue squares are sewn to each other side by side while those on the sides of the blue squares are sewn together with the ones below them.



Assemble the blocks


Sew the half square triangles to the squares

Sew the half square triangles to the squares

Sew the rows together

Sew the rows together

Add the pairs of half square triangles either to the blue squares or to the black corner squares.  You can now sew the pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  Make four of these bears paw quilt blocks.

Bear paw block with black or white background

Bear paw block with black or white background

See here what a striking difference there is between a black background and a white background.






Bears paw quilt border

Sew two strips together

Sew two strips together

I have made the same border for both the black and the white bear paw quilts.  Sew together a 2.1/2″ strip each of black and white fabric along the length and cut at 2.1/2″ intervals.  Do this with four strips each of black and white.







Make strips of black and white squares

Make strips of black and white squares

Use blue squares for cornerstones

Use blue squares for cornerstones

Sew the pairs of squares together side by side and make four strips of fourteen squares each – that’s seven pairs of black/white.  Add one strip to the top and bottom of the quilt.  Sew a 2.1/2″ blue square to the top and the bottom of the remaining two strips for cornerstones.  Sew these strips to the sides of the quilt.

That completes the bear paw quilt top which is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Many thanks to those of you who left reviews on my first ebook – much appreciated.  I am now working on the second one which will be a medallion quilt and is turning out to be quite large.

Here’s the video:

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  1. Hi Rose,
    What a lovely pattern! I see bear claws when I focus on the blue. But I see a different pattern when I focus on the black and white. Hmm…. how very interesting. Love your tutorials.

  2. Dear Rose,

    Thanks for putting things in perspective for those of us not so very gifted with vision. Seems like a heck of a lot of work, but I for one could really use it. I always look forward to your posts. Pat v.

    • You are very kind, Pat. I’m not gifted – just love quilting. I enjoy writing up the tutorials, so I’m always delighted if they are thought to be helpful.

  3. Lovely quilt Rose, I do prefer the blue and white one myself

  4. Marilyn Larkin says:

    Hello Rose,
    Once again your curious mind has created an amazing result. It’s amazing how our eyes can see things so differently according to the placement of contrast colours. I occurred to me that if I made these two tops, I would have a quilt top and a quilt back, or a reversabile quilt, just have to baste on extra scrap fabric around the border of one them so you can quilt. I know, I will need to be very careful with the basting process so it all marry’s up, but what a great “twin” quilt I would have then! Once again your tutorial has inspired me.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Marilyn. What a lovely idea. As you say, you’d have to be careful to match the back and front, but it’s a small enough quilt for that not to be to much of a problem.

  5. Colleen McKinlay says:

    Hello Rose,
    Your quilts are amazing. I am always excited when I open up my emails in the morning and see that you have once again sent me another wonderful quilt idea. Love this Bear Paw quilt….thinking of making it for my son who immigrated to Australia from British Columbia Canada. Will remind him of the bear that visited our back yard. Good luck with your gardening ….I am on the same mission today. Take care.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hello Rose

    What size does each individual paw print block come out as please?

  7. Mary Anne Anderson says:

    Dear Rose,

    You are one AMAZING Lady! I can’t thank you enough for the inspiration that you give me.
    Happy Quilting,
    Mary Anne

  8. Valerie Henry says:

    I have been thinking about what I wanted to do for my hubby’s lap quilt. It gets cold in the evenings when we go camping and he always says he needs a lap quilt to stay cozy around the fire. Well, his favorite color is blue… guess what he is getting for Christmas? Thanks Rose! Your quilt jolted me into action. The blue and black Bear Paw it is.. he will love it. Thanks again for your great tutorials.

    • Thanks for your comments, Valerie. I’m sure your husband will love it – that version in the black is a good masculine no-fuss quilt.

  9. Jenny McIntyre says:

    WOW this pattern is lovely and you make it look so so easy. Thank you so much for showing me exactly how to do these patterns. It’s so kind of you. When I eventually manage to make them, I’ll post the pictures to you

  10. Hi Rose, Thank you for the Bear Claw quilt pattern. I did this pattern
    a few months a go but I never thought of reversing the colours for my second lap quilt. Yes, you are right in saying that your two quilts look so different by using the same pattern but reverse the fabric on the second one.. I wish that I thought of this at the time when I did mine.
    Thank you so much for all your tips and help you give us each week.

    • Hi Jean. Thanks for your kind comments. I am always amazed at how much difference changing the background like that makes to the quilt. I would love to do it on more of my quilts, but there just never seems to be the time.

  11. D. Friendly (Canada) says:

    LOL – about your adjustment to the pattern because you ran out of fabric! Happens to us all at some point! My quilts seldom match the pattern because some ‘oops’ happens and I have to adjust. Part of the challenge.

  12. Kathy Rice says:

    Thank you for the wonderful Bear Claw quilt pattern. Please tell me the size of the finished quilt.
    Thank you so much for your hard work and for sharing with us.

  13. D. Friendly (Canada) says:

    Rose – Great contrast between the two quilts. Two winners this week! If only I didn’t have so many projects on the go already….

  14. Hello Rose, it’s very interesting looking at the two different versions and I think I like the blue and black better as a lap quilt and might even have made the edging blue and black not introduced the white. However I think if it was made bigger for a bed quilt I’d prefer the white version. One of my quilting friends is making table mats and the colours/fabric patterns are some I would never have picked to go together but they look stunning. You never can tell. I hope to get better at choosing colours/patterns the more I quilt. Once again thank you for the lovely easy work through.

    • Thanks for your comments, Hilary. Don’t tell anyone, but I would have stayed with blue and black only in the border if I hadn’t run out of the blue fabric. Poor planning on my part! That’s an interesting idea that the two backgrounds would suit different sized quilts. With regards to your friend’s table mats, I am constantly amazed at the wonderful colour combinations that unexpectedly go together.

  15. Avril Lees says:

    Hi Rose, I love the design of this quilt . I’m a total newbie to quilting and have found your tutorials really good. I also follow you on utube. I hope it’s nice weather for your gardening quest.

    • Thanks for your comments, Avril. Glad you like the tutorials. Yes I hope the weather holds up for my gardening – otherwise I might just have to curl up with a good book instead.

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