Tulip Block Short Cuts

Do you remember our tulip quilt?

It was in the  American Patchwork and Quilting. It would be the April 2022 issue and the cover looks like this…

Well, some time ago I told you that I would give you some cutting tips and shortcuts that might help you in making the block.

In the past, I’ve told you that the magazine companies who buy the quilt rights from us write their own directions.  We give them a rough copy and they tweak the directions to their liking.

When American Patchwork and Quilting Published our tulip quilt, they decided to offer templates for the construction.  I’ll be honest, I’m not a template girl unless there is absolutely no other choice…kind of like a double wedding ring quilt.

So when I originally saw this block in an old 1980s quilt magazine, I was intrigued but then turned off because I thought it would need templates.  The magazine didn’t show any construction to the block and not a quilt pattern…just an outline of the block.

In the original post when I told you about this quilt, I told you I had designed it long ago but didn’t know how to construct it but then got EQ (Electric Quilt the quilt designing program) and that made a word of difference.  EQ helped me realize I wouldn’t need templates.  I was all excited about that!!

You can go back and read the full story about the quilt HERE.

So…how did I do it without templates?  Follow along…
Here is a picture of the first test block I made for this.  I am not a person who typically makes a test block…but this quilt, I made one for.

This isn’t hard but it’s way more challenging than a nine-patch block.  This quilt adds a little bit of difficulty simply because some pieces have to be made using reverse, or mirror image, pieces.

I’m starting out with directions for cutting the unit where my fingers are.  You can see it’s a large triangle BUT, the tip of the triangle has the little green triangle attached to it.

You can see it below in the diagram as well.

This is going to sound a little crazy or like it won’t work but I promise it will.  Start out by cutting a 2 1/2″ strip of background fabric.

Next, get an Easy Angle Ruler.  HERE is a link if you don’t have one.

Take a piece of tape and put it on the 1 1/4″ line just as I did in the photo below.

You will need mirror-image pieces of this so fold your strip in half with the right side together.  Lay the 2 1/2″ strip onto your cutting mat.  You will be cutting two pieces at once.

Cut a straight line on the left to square up the piece of fabric.  Line up the bottom line of the tape with the top of the strip as shown.  Cut on the diagonal.

Flip your ruler.  Now line it up the tape line with the bottom of the stip.  Cut.

Continue flipping the ruler and cutting if you are making several blocks.

For the green triangle at the tip, cut a 1 7/8″ square.  Cut that square in half on the diagonal.

Now at the sewing machine…

Remember this is the piece we are sewing.

Two of these units are needed but one MUST be in mirror image.

To prevent me from sewing them the wrong way, I lay them out as shown.

At the machine only sew a SCANT 1/4″.

Here they are at the ironing board.  I pressed the seams to the green.

Wasn’t that MUCH easier than templates??

Now we are back at the cutting table.  We are making the leaf section now.

It consists of three different pieces.  Again we are going to have to be careful with mirror-image pieces.

First, we are cutting the stem.  Cut a strip that is 1 3/4″ wide.

Subcut pieces into 10″ lengths.

From background fabric but a 5 7/8″ square.

Cut it in half on the diagonal.

Cut a 5 3/8″ square.

Cut it in half on the diagonal.

Now back at the machine…Here is a reminder of the unit we will be making.  The leaf unit.

It consists of three pieces.  The triangle cut from the 5 7/8″ square to the bottom left…the 5 3/8″ square to the top right.

Fold the stem in half.  Make the center with a pin.

Fold the 5 7/8″ triangle in half along the diagonal and pin.

Match the two pins and repin with one pin.


Find the center of the stem again.

Fold the 5 3/8″ triangle in half.  Mark with a pin.

Layer the stem unit and the triangle at pins and sew.

It should look like this…

Iron the seams to the stem.

Now at the cutting table, we need to square up the block.

When you are done it should look like this.

Note that the corners will look like this.  They will not be square.  There will be a wider amount of leaf fabric to the side with the 5 3/8″ triangle.  It’s totally okay.  It needs to look like this.

You will need to make another unit like this only in a mirror image.  To do that refer back to your pattern diagram and lay out the pieces.  Use the same method I outlined above to get the reverse image.

That’s about as much as I can share with you today.  I can’t give the other measurements as I sold the rights to the quilt when I allowed them to write the pattern and publish it.  I can give you tips and tricks and that’s what I did with you today.

If you’re looking for a copy of the magazine, you can find that HERE.

If you have questions feel free to ask them in the comment section.  I’ll try to help.

12 thoughts on “Tulip Block Short Cuts”

  1. Thanks Jo for this tutorial. I have soooo many reds I’m going to use for this quilt. I’m setting this aside until I get 3 other quilts finished. But it’s on my short list.

  2. Wonderful tips and tricks for making this block. I will print these out and put with my magazine, I hope to make a table runner with this block.

  3. Very helpful – like you, I try to find the easiest way to make a block and templates are often not the easiest way!! :)

  4. Thank you so much, Jo! I would never make this with templates. I too will print and put with the magazine. You are so clever to figure these directions out!

  5. You are a genius!!! I did purchase the magazine for your quilt. Now I know how to make the quilt.
    Thank you!!!!!

  6. For the first example you showed with the tiny green triangle, would it work to attach a narrow stipe of green to the wider strip of white and use the triangle ruler to cut out the correct size? Just a thought. Thanks for your blog, I read it all the time.

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