All Articles
All Patterns
All Quilts
Free Quilt Patterns
Quilting Tips
Block of the Month
On the Road
In the Studio
In the News
Quilt Exhibits
Fun Extras
Shoo Fly posted: 3/1/2004
by Ila McCallum Printable Page
Category: Pieced Level: Easy Series: 9 Patch Sampler
<-- Go to Pattern Listing

The Shoo Fly block, which is a 9-patch block, has three rows of three squares each. The corner patches are made from half square triangles.

Finished Size: 12" x 12"

Fabric Requirements For Block:

If you are making the entire Block of the Month series, just cut the patches as shown below from the fabrics for the series. The fabric requirements for the series is in the Introduction to the Block of the Month.

If you are making a sample block or just one block, use these fabric measurements and then cut the patches as shown below. The measurements are generous.

NOTE: If you are using a one way fabric, such as the background fabric in the block with the light blue and mottled orange patches below, you may need a little more fabric.

TIP: Mark which fabrics you are planning to use for each portion of the quilt. For example, it is easy to forget that a certain fabric is planned for the sashing. However, be open to changing your mind. You may find that a different fabric makes an outstanding sashing and the one you had planned to use just does not work.

  • 6" X 10" Background fabric
    NOTE: For this quilt, the background fabric is shown as the mottled green and yellow in the picture of the finished quilt above. This fabric will be used in every block in the Block of the Month series and the wide border.
  • 6" X 10" Contrasting fabric No. 1
  • 6" X 20" Background fabric
  • 6" X 6" Contrasting fabric No. 2
Cutting Instructions
Piece Shape # Fabric Instructions  
A  4  Background Cut two 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" squares; cut them in half diagonally
B  4 Contrast 1 Cut two 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" squares; cut them in half diagonally

*TIP: I find it easier to cut my squares 5 inches rather than 4 7/8 inches. After the pieces are sewn together, I use a square quilting ruler (putting the 45 degree mark on the seam) and trim the square to exactly 4 ½ inches. I call this "super sizing".
C  4 Background Cut four 4 ½" x 4 ½" squares
D  1 Contrast 2 Cut one 4 ½" x 4 ½" square

*TIP: Be careful to cut accurately. If you are using a quilter's ruler and rotary cutter, look at the marks on the ruler from above when placing the ruler on the fabric. Be sure the 4 ½" mark is on the edge of the fabric before you cut. Hold the ruler firmly with your hand but out of the way of the rotary cutter! We don’t want any cut fingers.

Assembly (1/4" seam allowance throughout):
Instruction Diagram
Step 1: Cut all pieces and lay them out in the same positions as in the finished block. Use the diagram to help you lay out the pieces.
Step 2: Sew the triangles together. Place the background and Contrast 1 fabrics right sides together. Pin at right angles to the seam line which is the long side. Sew a ¼ inch seam (see note below). Do not sew over the pins but pull them out before the needle reaches them. Press the seam towards the dark fabric and square up to an exact 4 ½ inch square.

NOTE: This seam is on the bias (diagonal) of the fabric which is very stretchy. Be very careful not to stretch the seam as you sew.
Step 3: Sew the three patches in Row 1 together.

Place the two patches you are sewing with right sides together and edges matching. Be careful to sew the patches in the order shown on the diagram with the diagonal seam line in the corner patches in the correct position. Pin at right angles to the seam line. Do not sew over the pins but pull them out before the needle reaches them.

TIP: Start sewing on a small scrap. Sew from the small scrap directly onto the patches you are sewing together, leaving one or two stitches between. When you have finished sewing the seam, sew back onto a scrap. Clip the threads between the patches and the scraps. The ends of your seams will be more even. This is called chain stitching and can be used between patches that you are seaming.
Step 4: Sew the three patches in Row 2 together.  
Step 5: Sew the three patches in Row 3 together.  
Step 6: Press the seams in the direction of the arrows in the drawing.

NOTE: The seams between the patches are generally pressed toward the darker fabric so that the seam shows less from the right side. If your background fabric (Patches A) is lighter than the contrasting fabric (Patches B), press your seams toward the contrasting fabric. The reason for pressing the seams in the directions shown is so that they "nest" against each other and match correctly to sew the rows together.
Step 7: Sew Row 1 to Row 2. Match the seams very carefully and pin on both sides of the matched seam. This will hold the seamlines from shifting and keep the fabric in the seam allowances from folding. Remember not to sew over the pins but rather remove them as you come to them.
Step 8: Sew Row 3 to Row 2.
Step 9: Press the seams. The direction you press them is not as important here. I would suggest pressing them toward the row that has the two darker fabric patches.
Step 10: NOTE: Your block will measure 12 ½" x 12 ½". When all of the seams are sewn around the block in the finished quilt, the block will measure 12" x 12".

It is important that your block measures 12 ½" x 12 ½" so that all of the blocks will fit correctly when you put the entire quilt together. If your block does not measure the correct size, you can "block" it just as you would block a sweater. Draw the correct size on a piece of paper and pin the edges of the block so that it is on the line. Spray the fabric with water or a light spray starch and press it dry. Be very careful not to stretch the fabric by moving the iron back and forth. Instead press the fabric by pressing and lifting the iron.
Color Options

Fabrics for this colorway
courtesy of Classic Cottons.
Fabric line: Moonlit Florals, Navy.

©2004 Ila McCallum

<-- Go to Pattern Listing
Similar Patterns
Category: Pieced

Author: Ila McCallum
Level: Easy

 Contact Us