how to make a broken fence block

I always forget all the little short cuts that can make patchwork go more smoothly.

I think about strip sets only after I’ve individually stitched an entire postage stamp style quilt.

So, when it came to making a non-traditional rail fence block I put extra thought into what I could do to make the piecing part go a little more smoothly.

Here’s how I make the blocks for my broken fence quilt.

I cut 12 1/2″ squares of fabric.  (a total of 36 for my lap quilt)

I want 5 bars in each block so I work with 5 pieces of fabric at a time.

I stack the five pieces on top of each other and make 4 random cuts with my rotary cutter.

Then divide the pieces so that each block had a slice from each fabric.

I stitch the pieces together with a 1/4″ seam and press.

After pressing, I trim each block to 10 1/4 ” square.

This method gives you 5 blocks at a time, but my quilt is made of 36 blocks.  For the last block you can just make one block with individually cut strips, you can make an extra set of five (use extras on back or in another project), or you can do one set of six.  I will warn you (because I didn’t think this all way through when I chose this option) if you do six cuts, your block will be shorter than 10 1/4″ .  I simply add an extra strip on those blocks.

For this quilt I cut the bluish blocks vertically and the reddish blocks horizontally.

happy piecing

8 thoughts on “how to make a broken fence block

  1. mybricole says:

    Jen – with a block like this you decide how it should look so you can’t make a mistake so it’s great for beginners.

  2. jen says:

    did you measure how you cut them or just cut. And how big like what are your dimensions? And did you do the top stitch on a regualar machine or on a quilting machine? I know I have a lot of questions but I really just love this and want to make it. It would be a lap quilt. Not sure what those dimensions would be. I have been looking at your quilts and they are just absolutely AMAZING. I want to give it a try just not sure where to start. I would love any help. I also want to do the back too that you did. Again any help would be great.

  3. mybricole says:

    I started with blocks that were 12 1/2″ square. I chose this size because that is the size of my biggest square omnigrid ruler. Stitching the strips together reduced the block to 10 1/4″ squares. The finished quilt is around 56″ square so it’s a great lap quilt. I machine quilted mine with chocolate brown thread with circles that rippled, but you could do any pattern. The back is one length of fabric with the selvage edges cut off and then extra broken fence blocks alternating with 12 1/2″ block of fabric. Feel free to email me with any questions you have.

  4. jen says:

    this may be a very silly question but what do you mean they started as 12 1/2″ squares to only 10 1/4″. Do you end up throwing out two?? Or do you mean your squares were 12 1/2 by 12 1/ 2? And did you just randomly make the strips when cutting or was there a process to how you cut it? Once you made the cuts you then sewed them together? Sorry to ask so many questions

  5. mybricole says:

    I cut each print 12 1/2″ for a block with 5 strips you need to use 5 different colored fabrics. This post explains how I cut them. The seaming of the strips reduces the block size. So once they are sewn into blocks I trim them down to 10 1/4″ so I have each block the same size. If you do a block with more strips it would be smaller because each 1/4″ seam takes 1/2″ from the size of your strip.

  6. Jen says:

    I have just a few more questions (I think lol) how much of each fabric did you use for each print on the front and the one panel on the back? And also what was your final measurement of the quilt when you were all done? Again thank you again for all your help.

  7. mybricole says:

    The finished quilt is about 56″ square. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure how much I used of each fabric because I just pulled from my stash. The length of yardage on the back must have been about 2 yards (??) Sorry again, but I didn’t write anything down when I made it. Hope this helps!

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