Fast and Easy Pinwheels!!!


Hi, it’s Jenny, from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. We have another fun tutorial for you today! There was a gal and she came into our shop and she wanted to make a baby quilt, and she wanted to do pinwheels. And I was watching her, and all of a sudden that light went on! Usually it goes on in the middle of the night, but it went on in the daytime
today! So, that’s a good thing.

Anyway, it’s an easy way to make pinwheels. And Moda, wonderful Moda, is making these fabulous solid colored Charm Packs. So, here’s
how we’re going to make pinwheels fast and easy! You’re just not going to believe this.

So, you take a Charm Pack and you take your pinwheels and you’re going to put them right sides together. Now normally, when we make a pinwheel it’s made with half-square triangles. What you do is you draw a line and you sew on either side. We are not going to do that. Don’t pay any attention to that. What we’re going to do is go over to the sewing machine and sew ¼” all around the outside edge. So, let’s go do that right now.

OK, so here we are at the machine, and we’re going to sew 1/4” all the way around these two squares. They’ve been placed right sides together, and we’re going to sew ¼” all the way around the edge. So, here we go.

Here’s one side, I know this is going to crack you up when we do it! It’s so easy! So much fun! There’s the second side. And I generally stop just about ¼” and pivot. Lift up my foot, leave the needle down, and pivot.

So there, I just turn it and I go. That was fast and quick and now I’m going to show you how we’re going to have all the pieces ready for our pinwheel, just like that!

So, follow me over to the cutting table. OK, so here we have our piece that’s sewn together, and we’re going to take our ruler and we’re going to line it up diagonally, side to side. And we’re just going to go ahead and cut that and we’re going to leave these together.

OK, there we go, take our ruler turn it the other way, and cut it the other direction. There we go. Now what we get is look at this. You get all your half-square triangles are perfect, and then, we’ll just put it together as a pinwheel. Let’s go press these open so they stay down and you can see what I’m doing a little better.

OK, so what we’re going to do on these is we’re going to set these seams. Hold our iron down on our pieces. We’re just going to set those seams and then we’re going to lift up. When we lift up this corner, this will put the seam to the dark side. Which is what we want, and we want them all to be the same. So we’re just going to press on those.

Alright, now let’s put these together so they make a pinwheel. All your centers are going to meet. You put opposite colors next to. This way so here we go. See, how cute that is? Now let’s go sew that together.

When you sew a pinwheel together it’s kind of best to leave it sitting where you are, so that you can see it because it’s real easy to get confused on a pinwheel. And so you want to make sure that all your triangles are going in the right direction, and then we’re just
going to take this because it’s sitting right here. We’re going to fold this over, we’re going to start at this top corner and stitch ¼” down, and then we’re going to do that with the bottom side as well I like to start from this side of the fabric where there’s no seams that you’re dealing with. Make sure your two diagonal seams nest together. Then we have these two pieces we kind of chain-pieced. We’re going to open them up. You can
see how that leaves you enough edge there so that you won’t lose your point. We’re going to put these together. We’ll match up our middle seams.

Nest them together, fold one of your seams to one side and one to the other. Then we’re going to sew right down that seam. Now when you finish these it makes about a 5 ½” or 6” depending upon the size of your foot square. And so that’s kind of a nice size for a pinwheel. There we have it! We’ll go press that open and head back to the table.

I’ve been having some fun with this Charm Pack. This “Love” Charm Pack by Amy Butler. It’s got such fun colors in it and I just keep making pinwheels and making pinwheels. So, you can see how quick and easy this is and how fun.

What a fun little quilt this is going to make. Literally, this gal put her baby quilt together in one evening. It was just so quick this way, where you just sew that ¼” around the outside, and if you have any concern about it being cut on the bias. I heard a little tip that if you spray with this “Best Press” and iron it on, that it doesn’t stretch at all. I don’t seem to have any trouble, but some people might, and they might be worried about it, but we hope you enjoy this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

posted: All, Basic Skills & Techniques, Beginner Quilting Tutorials, Charm Packs, Quilts and Quilt Blocks, Tips and Tricks | tagged: , ,
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  • Liesbeth

     This is just such a great tutorial-website!  As a beginner, I found everything I needed to know to begin quilting.  Thank you so much!
    – Liesbeth from Belgium

    • Sarah

      Thank you so much Liesbeth!  Good luck making your first quilt!  Have fun!

  • Aross4324

    I love this!

  • Mary

    After reading many other tutorials on Pinwheels I found yours to work the best for me.  Thanks so much for the step by step.  I have been trying to teach myself to quilt by reading books since most of our quilt shops have closed near me.  I learn much faster and better by watching.

    • Sarah

      Aren’t these pinwheels the best?  SO glad you are loving them!

  • Cathy

    I was wondering what the finished size of the pinwheel is.  I have to make 6-inch blocks using a pinwheel. I was wondering, do I start out with a 6 1/2 inch square to make a six-inch finished pinwheel?

    • Anonymous

      — Please reply above this line —

      ## Jenny Doan replied, on May 2 @ 11:39am (UTC):

      When I make a  pinwheel using 5 inch blocks a get a finished block about 5 3/4 so I would try the 6 with some scrap and see if it works. If you want the formula for figuring it out, you can go to the
      blog and there is a search on the right hand side.  You search for pinwheels and we have a chart there that a glorious math angel made for us!
      Have a great day!
      Jenny Doan

      (888) 571-1122

      ## Conversation started by Disqus, on Apr 26 @ 1:30pm (UTC):


  • Cathy Junga

    I LOVE your tutorials, especially this pinwheel shortcut.  I”ve been quilting for almost 20 years and never would have thought to do this.  Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Cathy!  Have fun, sewing more and more pinwheels faster!!  🙂  Have a great day!

  • This looks easy, I’m thinking I could use a layer cake instead of the charm pack, and make a queen size, not sure how many layer cakes I woud need though, just a thought.

    • Anonymous

      — Please reply above this line —

      ## Jenny Doan replied, on Jun 14 @ 3:28pm (UTC):

      If you are going to make a Queen you will need at least 2…That will make a small queen and you can then border it out.
      Have a great day!
      Jenny Doan

      (888) 571-1122

      ## Conversation started by Disqus, on Jun 9 @ 11:51am (UTC):


  • T_monzo

      Is there a formula I can use  to determine what size square I need to start with to end up with a particular size 1/2 square triangle?

    • Anonymous

      — Please reply above this line —

      ## Jenny Doan replied, on Jun 21 @ 9:19pm (UTC):

      There is! On our blog there is a search bar on the right and if you search pinwheels, a chart will come up! A math angel took pity on me and created one for all of us! Good luck!
      Have a great day!
      Jenny Doan

      (888) 571-1122

      ## Conversation started by Disqus, on Jun 18 @ 9:09pm (UTC):


  • Melissa

    Hello again from Hawaii! How many charm packs would i need to make a full or queen sized quilt? I love those pinwheels!!!!

  • Pat

    do you have a chart for a specific pinwheel block size… what size block do I start with

    • Diana

      There really are too many, you need to do the math for each pinwheel size you need. If you want to start with basic pre-cut square sizes, assuming perfect scant 1/4″ seams: 5″ cut=5.75″ pinwheel=5.25″ finished. 6″ cut=7.25″ pinwheel=6.75″ finished. 10″ cut=12 7/8″ pinwheel=12 3/8″ finished. Also, 4″ cut=4.25″ pinwheel=3.75″ finished in your quilt. If your seam allowances aren’t perfect (whose are?), make a pinwheel with squares cut a bit larger than you need, and then “square it up” into the exact size you want.

      • JenniferMSQC

        Much delayed thank you, Diana, for helping out a fellow quilter! We appreciate you!

  • Debbie Fay Johnson

    i,ll be doing this quilt. thanks

    • JenM

      Have you had a chance to start this one? Hope you have fun with it.

  • Ann Wilson

    I tried this technique exchanging one of the fabric squares for a four patch. It gave me an alternating double pinwheel! So cool looking, and so much time saved! I am going to try it with a nine patch next and see what happens.

    • JenM

      Sounds cool, Ann! Love to hear of improvising. Let us know how you like it with a nine-patch.

  • Sue B

    Hi Jenny,
    I’ve looked through all your patterns and can’t find the pattern for the lovely quilt behind you with the lovely stars and squares. My son has chosen this pattern as one he would like and I simply cannot find the pattern anywhere. I also love the fabrics you have used and wondered if it was possible that you could let me know which packs you’ve used for the quilt please.

    Many thanks – Sue