Big Dipper Quilt Pattern

Big dipper quilt

Big dipper quilt

I have made the Big Dipper quilt pattern using 5″ squares so that you could use squares from a charm pack if you chose.  The thing that really delights me about this pattern is that the big dipper quilt block is a simple one forming only one pinwheel.  However when you sew them all together you end up with two different pinwheels.  They look as though they are put together using a diagonal layout (which is a bit more complicated) but in fact they are just sewn together in horizontal rows – the simplest form of quilt layout.

The quilt measures 37″ by just under 54″.  You could very easily make it bigger just by adding extra rows and columns.  I have used six big dipper quilt blocks which are 16.1/2″ finished size.  The fabrics are chosen as two pairings of dark and light colours.  I have used black and white with grey and turquoise.   You need 1/2 yard each of black, white and grey with 1 yard of turquoise because that is also used for the border.




Cutting requirements for the big dipper quilt

5″ squares:  twenty four each in grey, black, turquoise and white

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

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Making the big dipper quilt block

The quilt is made entirely from half square triangle units.  You will need to make equal numbers of these in all the colour combinations.  That’s  black with both white and turquoise, grey with both white and turquoise.

Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units from each pair of squares that you began with.  Press the seam allowance towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where the triangle tips stick out.  These are now 4.5/8″ squares which will give 4.1/8″ squares finished size.  I know these are unusual looking sizes, but it’s because the starting point was 5″ squares – a nice easy measurement to cut out.

Big dipper quilt block layout

Big dipper quilt block layout

Lay the half square triangles out in four rows of four.  Notice that each triangle ends up next to another of the same colour, forming a larger triangle in that colour.  There is a diamond of grey and green in the middle forming one pinwheel, while the black and white triangles are all round the edge of the block.  These will later form the second set of pinwheels when the blocks are sewn together.

One way to check your placement is to see that the black and grey larger triangles all meet each other at the point.  The turquoise and white triangles all meet at the point as well.

Sew the squares across each row

Sew the squares across each row

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the big dipper quilt block.  You will need to make six of these.

Assembling the big dipper quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of two.  As the blocks are totally symmetrical, there is no wrong way to place them – they look the same if they are rotated.

Big dipper quilt border

Big dipper quilt border

For the border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of turquoise fabric.  You will need two lengths of 33.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 54″ for the sides.

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

Here’s the video:

I have had a couple of viewings on my house this week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I may get an offer.  I keep forgetting where I put things when I tidied them up, so it seems to take me ages to find anything.