Swirly Pinwheel Tutorial

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Many times you need a special ruler or template for a quilt block, this Swirly Pinwheel Tutorial is done using a piece of cardboard for the template.

Easy Swirly Pinwheel mini quilt tutorial

This is actually the way blocks were made years ago. I also added a small appliqued flower to the center of my mini wall hanging using a Sizzix die.

Swirly Pinwheel Tutorial

12″ x 12″

When I took part in the Think Christmas blog hop, I showed you this little 12-inch wall hanging that is hanging from an Ackfeld wire quilt frame and today I’ll give you a Swirly Pinwheel tutorial of how I made the blocks.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard

Start out with a charm pack of your favorite quilt fabric. I used a charm pack of Jovial by BasicGrey for Moda. The cardboard backing from any charm pack is perfect to make a template out of.

Just mark a 2½” x 2½” square and cut it out using old scissors or an old blade on your rotary cutter. I have several and I have marked “old” on one rotary cutter and use that for paper and batting.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard

Mark a line diagonally across the template. Next, mark a dot 5/8 inch up from the bottom corner on the left side.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard mark a dot

Use a ruler to draw a straight line from this dot to the upper right corner.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard mark a dot and cut

This photo shows what you have just drawn, cut on that line.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard cutting line

Cut on that line and discard the top section. You now have your template for the quilt blocks.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard cutting template

Cut your 5-inch charm squares into four – 2 1/2-inch squares.
Then place one white square on each red square with right sides facing each other (always place the white fabric on top).

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard cutting squares of fabric

For this tutorial, I am just using 2 colors of fabric. Note: you could always use scraps from your stash too, just make sure you always put the background fabric on top.

Follow the diagram, lay your template on top of the square, mark a line and then stitch on the line.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions to cut the template from charm square cardboard cutting template stitching on line

Press your block and trim. Be sure and press all of the blocks with the white (background fabric) to the top.

Now lift the top white layer, turn to the wrong side and trim the two bottom layers. You now have one section of the block.

Cut off the corner – trim about ¼ inch from the stitched line as shown in the following diagram.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions press and trim

Layout the blocks – sewing four sections together as shown. You could also use different fabrics as I did in the wall hanging and mix the sections.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial directions press and trim one fourth inch
Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial finished block

Always press so your Pinwheel fabric is on the bottom and your Background fabric gets pressed away from it.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial block sections

Depending on how you sew your blocks together, you can get a completely different look. This is also why it is important to have all of the blocks pressed in the same direction. Look at the example below.

The mini Swirly Pinwheel quilt is made from eight pinwheel blocks and an additional 4½” square is added to the center of the block. I used a fat quarter of a cream fabric cut into 2½” squares for all of the light-colored squares.

Swirly pinwheel quilt tutorial finished block

If you would like to add an applique to the center, you could use any applique flower template you have or download the one I have provided. The Sizzix die I used is called Tattered Florals by Tim Holtz but I believe that die is now retired. You can find other Sizzix floral dies.

appliqued flower

I have included a flower template that you can use in the center of your Swirly Pinwheel wall hanging. I did a free-motion wiggle stitch around my applique flower, you can do any type of applique you like.

Swirly Pinwheel mini wall hanging tutorial

I then quilted my wall hanging and used 2 strips of 2 1/2-inch fabric for the binding.

Swirly Pinwheel wall hanging by the rocks

Download a pdf of this tutorial, get the free flower template, and sign up for my newsletter and free resource library.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I can see all kinds of different possibilities for this block. This block size is 12 inches, I forgot to mention that. Do you like tutorials with lots of photos?


Swirly Pinwheel Tutorial is fun and easy to make!

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Tutorial for the Swirly Pinwheel quilt block
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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  1. super tutorial! I do like all your photos. sometimes a picture is like a little lightswitch to start my understanding. thank you!

  2. Dropping by from the Sew Darn Crafty link party.

    What a pretty block! Thanks for sharing and yes, I like lots of photos in tutorials.

  3. Love the pinwheel!! And, yes, I really like it when tuts have lots of pics! Thank you!

  4. ritainalaska says:

    great tute! yes, i like lots of pix … easier to work from.

  5. pinsandneedles says:

    Thanks for sharing the tutorial! Another added to the to do list!

  6. Kimberly Cassie says:

    I LOVE tutorials with lots of pictures. Thanks for sharing your "insider secrets" with us. Congrats on being chosen as one of the "Blocks of the Day!"

  7. Scrapbook-ChickADoodle says:

    Thanks for the great tut!

  8. Scrapbook-ChickADoodle says:

    Thanks for the great tut!

  9. This is lovely. Thanks for the great tutorial
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  10. Oh, meant to say, Yes I do like tutorials with lots of photots 😉 Thank you again, Elly

  11. Super tutorial Connie 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to share with us all 🙂 Elly

  12. Great tutorial and I like lots of pictures. Thank you.

  13. Oh I forgot to mention I do like the pictures they are very helpful.

  14. Thank you so much for the promised tutorial. This is definitely something that I would love to make.

  15. ~ Julie ~ says:

    This is so cute!!! This is going on my bucket list for sure! Your tutorial was really well written and I LOVE pictures! 🙂

  16. Awesome tutorial Connie! Thank you and yes, pictures definitely help me to understand a tutorial easier. You've done a fabulous job with this one.

  17. Thanks so much Connie, What a nice tutorial. Will try it! Thanks for including the flower. I don't have one of those fancy cutters. You are the best!

  18. Betty Lou says:

    Great tutorial Connie, will put it on my ever growing "to do" list.

  19. Melissa Corry says:

    Your tutorials are just so great!!! Thanks for linking up 🙂

  20. Farm Quilter says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial!! I love tutorials with lots of pictures – especially those that show me the wrong way as well as the right way! Awesome!!! Bookmarking this page for easy reference!!!!

  21. HalfDozen says:

    love this! I am wondering the finished size too.

  22. sew.darn.quilt says:

    This was worth the wait, thank you for this tutorial. =)

  23. Connie — thanks for the great tutorial !

    Just love the wall hanging. What does it finish out to ? Size wise ?

    Thanks again !


  24. Missy Shay says:

    What a fun pattern! I'm going to pin this!

  25. Very cute. I think I have a charm pack that I can try this with. THanks for the tutorial.

  26. Apple Avenue Quilts says:

    Great tutorial! I going to try this block. It looks like fun.

  27. Wonderful post!! Love this and thanks for the tutorial!

  28. great tutorial! I love how you turned the charm pack cardboard into a template – talk about making the most of EVERYTHING! Love it!

  29. Great tutorial…excellent pictures and instructions!

  30. Great tutorial Connie…and, yes, love lots of photos with tutorials! I have that Tim Holtz die…what a fun way to use it!!! TFS

  31. Thanks so much for sharing your great tutorial and design!!