Machine Quilting The Basic Block-A FREE Tutorial

Machine Quilting, Basic Block

Good Morning, Quilters and Fitness Buffs!  Have you been #movingmore?

This week–challenge yourself to walk 15 minutes before you quilt each day!  Once we sit down at the sewing machine…it’s much harder!


For the next few weeks we are going to concentrate on quilting square blocks.  

Many (perhaps most?) blocks are square and are composed of a combination of triangles and squares.  Today’s motif is very versatile.  It is a basic quilt motif that will fill any square block and stabilize all the seams within the quilt.

When stitched on a pieced block, it requires very little marking– the seam-lines act as guidelines.

To practice the motif, draw a square and draw diagonals across the square.

Machine Quilting, Basic Block, Lori Kennedy

Begin in the corner of the quilt.  Stitch on the diagonal line and then stitch a small square in the center of the block.

Machine Quilting, Basic Block, Lori Kennedy

Stitch a straight line from the top center of the inner square and to the top edge of the block.  Closely echo stitch back to the center.  Stitch over a few stitches.

Machine Quilting, Basic Block, Lori Kennedy

Stitch a diagonal line to the right corner and back to the center.

Stitch a horizontal line to the right edge of the block and back to the center.

Machine Quilting, Basic Block, Lori Kennedy

Stitch around the center block and into the lower right corner.

Back to the center, then stitch a vertical line to lower edge….

Machine Quilting, Basic Block, Lori Kennedy

Continue all the way around the block to finish the motif.

Then stitch around the outer edge of the block on three sides to begin the next block.

(The final outer edge of the blocks can be stitched as a straight line once all the motifs are stitched.

Machine Quilting, Basic Block, Lori Kennedy

This motif will perfectly fill any square block. 

The center square stitching allows the quilter to avoid stitching over the intersection of many seams that often occur at the center of a block.

Machine Quilting, Basic Block, Lori Kennedy


Doodle this a few times, then try it on a quilt block.

We will be learning several fabulous motifs that are variations of the Basic Block –all designed to stabilize and fill the block well—while avoiding stitching directly through the center of the motif.

Remember–it is a Basic Block and we will be adding and varying this motif–a Building Block motif--everyone should learn!

I’d love to hear how this motif works for you!

Happy Quilting,


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

31 thoughts on “Machine Quilting The Basic Block-A FREE Tutorial

  1. Lori,I am unable to see your videos on my iPad…are they not compatible with iPad and do I need to use a computer or do you have a suggestion?

    • Dorothy, I’m not sure why you can’t see the videos–not my area of expertise…
      The video is from Bored Panda–perhaps you could copy and paste the link into your search bar…
      Or google Bored Panda Garip Ay.
      Hope that works!

  2. I know that this design could be used on any size block, but I was wondering what size you are working on here.

  3. Great tutorial that has applications for so many blocks- I can already see how this could be used to stabilize large blocks with other stitches in the triangles that have been outlined or in small pinwheel blocks that just need to be stabilized. It is very helpful to see how you connect the blocks and avoid echo stitching. I know I will be using this soon and often!

  4. I am so glad that you are delving in to quilting blocks instead of whole cloth, it seems like pieced blocks are more common with me. This quilting is great, I love the avoidance of lots of stitching overlapping in the center. If it were a pinwheel block, I wonder if it would “pouf” in the center?!!! Happy stitching!

    • It depends on how well it is basted and how big the center square us stitched. If it was a problem one could always quilt in the ditch the “X’.

  5. Just finished quilting a bed runner of called Bible Studies. It was a sampler of 6″ blocks. It “aged” for a long time till I figured out what I was going to quilt on it. I finally went with your Flower power motif in each block. I had to doodle how I was going to get out of each block but I think it turned out just great..Thank You for this set of motifs as they will come in very handy.

  6. Lori, I read your posts almost every day, but don’t often comment. I just wanted to thank you for all you share. I have learned so much from you already! This series is exactly what I need next, so thank you very, very much.

    • Hi Marjorie. I sent you a note via FB messenger this morning. Yes I’m available within a reasonable driving distance from my house.

  7. This series comes at a great time for me. I just finished a ‘plus’ quilt top so lots of squares to think about. As I don’t want to do an all-over pattern, this might be the ticket.

    Like always, thank you for your amazing blog. It is a constant source of great information for me.

  8. I’m new to free motion quilting………..scarrrrrrrry. Your step outs make it a lot easier for me to follow the design. Thanks for giving us newbies the help we need.

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  11. I am a beginner FMQ and since I found you I have learned so much. Just have to practise. Thanks so much for all that you share and I look forward to every new design

  12. Thanks Lori. I found you on here some time ago, a little later I found you in the pages of a magazine and then I even found you teaching a Craftsy class. Thanks so much for teaching others the love of quilting. You break it down to understandable words as well as steps so even a beginner can understand it. I find the most important aspect of what and how you go about demonstrating is the ability to see the designs in any size and often its like the light comes on for something I want to do but never saw the breakdown but instead could only vision the whole. Thanks for all of those who never comment and for those of us who are using yuor tips alone our journey. Jean

    • Wow, Jean-thank you so much! Thank you for taking the time to write. When you teach in the blogosphere you don’t have the immediate feedback of student’s faces-nodding that they get it, or shaking their heads with confusion. It is really helpful to me to hear exactly what is making sense and what is not. A few months ago I did a tutorial that several people wrote in to say they couldn’t follow…so I added several more steps and photos. This was very helpful to me as well. I love to hear that The Inbox Jaunt has helped you and others along the quilting path. Quilting has brought me so much happiness that I’m thrilled to share!

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