Rainbow Rail Fence Quilt Block Tutorial

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Today I have another quilt block tutorial to share with you which is the rail fence quilt block. Rail Fence quilt patterns are always fun to make and a great beginner quilt block.

This easy block uses four rail fence sections for a completely different look with a small square in the center. I’ll show you how to sew the rail fence blocks to the center, it isn’t as hard as it looks.

Finished Rainbow Rail Fence Quilt Block

Rainbow Rail Fence quilt block tutorial

16″ x 16″

Several years ago I made a Rainbow Rail Fence baby quilt and I thought it would be fun to remake the block. There is a tutorial for the baby quilt but I think you’ll be able to see how the block goes together better in this post.

Purchase an adfree PDF of the Rainbow Rail Fence quilt block and quilt.


I’ve been moving things around again in my quilt room and my fabrics are a jumbled mess. I pulled all of my batiks out of my baskets and just stuffed them on the shelves. Time to do some folding and organizing!

Batik fabric stash

I decided to pull out some batiks for a pink rainbow rail fence block. Normally you could cut strips the width of your fabric but I was using scraps so I just cut the individual pieces.

Cutting for one quilt block

Each block uses the following pieces:

  • White or cream – 1 – 4½” x 4½” square
  • Light Pink – 4 – 2½” x 10½” pieces
  • Medium Pink – 4 – 2½” x 10½” pieces
  • Dark Pink – 4 – 2½” x 10½” pieces

If you have Jelly Roll strips or 2½” x WOF strips, you can cut all four pieces from one strip.

When I made the baby quilt the bundle had 2 of each color and I was able to make two blocks of each color.

Rainbow Rail Fence fabric cuts

Use a ¼” seam allowance for your stitching

Sew the strips together, and make sure to have the medium pink in the center. Press your seams toward the darker fabric. Sew all four sections like this.

Sew the rainbow rail fence strips together

Add the center square

No set-in seams!

It is a lot easier to sew this block together than you might think.

  • Place the 4½” square on top of your pink strips
  • You will be sewing it to the light pink strip
  • Stitch about halfway down the square
  • Stop and then back-stitch
  • Press toward the light pink strip
Sew the center block to strips

Add the next section with the light pink strip placed on top of the strip set and block that you just stitched.

Adding the sections to the Rainbow Rail Fence block

Continue adding the sections to the block, always press toward the darker fabric.

Continue adding the sections to the Rainbow Rail Fence block

Add the fourth and final section to the center square.

Rainbow Rail Quilt Block final steps

Final seam in the block

Now it is time for the final seam of your block.

  • Place the section with the center square on the bottom
  • Line up the sections as shown below
  • Match the bottom dark pink to the top light pink piece
  • Carefully stitch making sure the seams on the bottom piece go to the dark pieces
Adding the final row \

Do a little back-stitching to finish sewing this section.

Final stitching of Rainbow Rail Block on vintage 15-91 Singer

You don’t need an expensive sewing machine when you are learning to quilt, I’m using my vintage 15-91 Singer which I have had for years. A simple sewing machine like the EverSewn Sparrow 15 would be good to start with.

Your unfinished Rainbow Rail Fence block will measure 16½” x 16½”. I hope you enjoy the Rainbow Rail Fence Quilt Block Tutorial and please share any photos of your blocks with me!

Rainbow Rail Fence easy block tutorial

Using a 2½-inch Rainbow strip set would make it fast to make the blocks! Would you like to see what the baby quilt looks like? Take a look at my Rainbow Rail Baby Quilt tutorial.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that is optimized for printing

Get an ad-free version of the Rainbow Rail Fence quilt block and quilt.

I have several other Rail Fence tutorials that you might enjoy.

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Connie with her dogs

About Connie

Hi, I’m Connie Kresin Campbell, the quilter, writer, and photographer behind Freemotion By the River. I enjoy inspiring others with my quilt tutorials and patterns. You’ll also see my sweet adopted dogs from time to time.

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Rainbow Rail Fence Baby Quilt

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  1. I missed this one and so glad I found it now! Sadie – you little doll! Take it one box at a time, and leave the rest. Looking forward to seeing the new place. later, and thanks, Joan

  2. Hello Connie. I absolutely love love love your large rail fence block and quilt. The rail fence is my all-time favorite quilt pattern. I never tire of its many arrangements. Thank you for this treasure Connie.
    I haven’t quilted for almost a year now, but I’m happily starting to get the fever.
    Believe it or not I’m still in garden mode. So far, only had 2 frosts here on our hill. I still have tomatoes, chard, carrots, beets, jalapeños and red peppers to pick, and some over grown cukes. I know I’m pushing my luck.
    Winter coming soon.
    Connie I look forward to all your winter emails. Reading your stories adds fun to my winter here in Nova Scotia.
    Thanks again for the big RF block pattern Connie. Take care.

  3. Robyn Lidstone says:

    Another lovely quilt block idea – thanks Connie.
    This would go well in a range of colour combinations for a large or smaller quilt.

  4. tobi abbott says:

    it’s beautiful, love the color selection

  5. I really like the finished look of this block, but any chance of seeing the back side so I have a ‘Visual’ of that finished look, too? Thanks!

  6. Connie, you have come up with another very cool block! I have been thinking of joining the RSC (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) this year to put a dent into my scrap piles and this may be the block I use! I would make it a smaller block and that is easy enough to do, even with my scanty math skills. Thank you!

  7. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    Cool block and I’m excited that I actually figured out how you attached the rails to the square before I read your tutorial!! Makes me think I may be developing quilter’s brain and that makes me happy!! This is a great block and could certainly be changed to different sizes. Thank you!!