Union Jack Block Tutorial

Molli Sparkles
Union Jack Block Tutorial:
Introduction

The goal for this tutorial is to show you how to make (1) Union Jack block that is to scale, and anatomically correct, based on the image above.  The finished block size will be 7.5” x 15” (note that the unfinished block size you create will be 8” x 15.5”).
Look at the image above and note the visual components of the block.
  • (4) blue quadrants
  • (4) white/red/white (WRW) diagonal stripes going across the (4) blue quadrants, that are NOT centred.
  • (1) white/red/white (WRW) cross going across the vertical and horizontal axises

This tutorial will show you how to make the block in separate components, and then assemble those together to make the finished block.  
Some general notes:
  • Use pins where you feel necessary.
  • Use a scant 1/4” seam allowance to combine the WRW diagonal stripes with the blue quadrants. (Directions in Part Three).
  • Use a 1/4” seam allowance for the rest of the block.
  • Pressing seams to the side did not create too much bulk, but press to the dark side.
  • While I have tried to make diagrams as accurate as possible, there may be slight discrepancies between the diagrams and your creation.
  • Take your time, refer to the picture, check, and re-check, as it is easy to get sections and stripes upside down!

Molli Sparkles
Union Jack Block Tutorial:
Fabric Requirements
Notes:
  • Fabric is indicated here as white, red, and blue, but other colours can be substituted to make a more stylized version of the Union Jack.
  • The pieces indicated with a “ * ” are used to make the white/red/white (WRW) diagonal stripe combinations across the blue quadrants.  

HINT: I found it quickest to cut 32” (rather than 8”) long pieces by the respective width of each fabric used in the WRW diagonal stripe “ * ”, sew them together, and then cross cut into 8” WRW sections.  There are multiple ways to get there, so whatever works for you and your available size of fabric.
Molli Sparkles
Union Jack Block Tutorial:
Divide & Conquer – Part One

So let’s start easy with the left and right stripes of the crosses indicated by the purple boxes above.
1. Take (1) – 2” x 7.25” piece of red fabric, and (2) – 1” x 7.25” pieces of white fabric.
2. Place the red and (1) white piece right side together, along the 7.25” edge.
3. Remembering to use a 1/4” seam allowance, sew along the 7.25” length.
4. Repeat with the other white piece on the opposite side of the red piece.
5. Press seams (open or to the side, your call).
6. You’ve now created the “Left Stripe of Cross.”
7. Repeat the entire process to create the “Right Stripe of Cross.”
8. You now have (2) components that look like the image below, each measuring 3” x 7.25”.
9. Set these (2) components aside.

Molli Sparkles
Union Jack Block Tutorial:
Divide & Conquer – Part Two
Next, let’s create the white/red/white (WRW) stripe components that intersect the four blue quadrants.  Depending on how you have cut your fabric, these directions may alter slightly.  See additional note below.
1. Assemble the (4) – 1.25” x 8” white pieces, the (4) – 0.75” x 8” white pieces, and the (4) – 1” x 8” red pieces.  These pieces are indicated by a “ * ” in the list of fabric requirements.
2. Place (1) – 1.25” x 8” white piece and (1) – 1” x 8” red piece right side together, along the 8” edge.
3. Remembering to use a 1/4” seam allowance, sew along the 8” length.
4. Press seam.
5. Repeat with the 0.75” x 8” white piece on the opposite side of the red piece.
6. Press seam.
7. You’ve now created a WRW stripe component.
8. Repeat the entire process to create (3) more WRW stripe components.
9. You should now have (4) components that look like the image below, each measuring 2” x 8”.
10. Set these (4) components aside.
Note: As mentioned in the fabric requirements section, you can assemble these WRW stripe components by sewing 32” long pieces of WRW fabric together first, and then cut into 8” sections.
Molli Sparkles
Union Jack Block Tutorial:
Divide & Conquer – Part Three
Now, let’s start on the quadrants!
1. Assemble the (4) – 3” x 5.25” blue rectangles.
2. Cut (2) in half exactly on the diagonal from top left to bottom right (use for Quadrant One and Quadrant One Flipped), 
3. Cut (2) in half exactly on the diagonal from bottom left to top right (use for Quadrant Two and Quadrant Two Flipped).  
Note: These directional cuts are critical to ensure correct placement of each quadrant.

4. Place the (2) pairs of triangles to be used for Quadrant Two and Quadrant Two Flipped aside.

5. Keeping (1) pair of the newly created triangles for use in Quadrant One, place together with (1) WRW stripe component (created in Part Two) in the correct layout for Quadrant One. 
6. Position the top triangle’s longest edge along the top long edge of the WRW component, 0.25” from the right end with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.  Using pins, or marking your fabric may be useful here.
7. Remembering to use a scant 1/4” seam allowance, sew top triangle in place.
8. Press seam.

 9. Position the bottom triangle’s longest edge along the bottom long edge of the WRW component, 0.5” from the left end with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.  Using pins, or marking your fabric may be useful here.

10. Remembering to use a scant 1/4” seam allowance, sew bottom triangle in place.
11. Press seam.

12. This unit must be cut in order to create the right size.  Use the top right corner as an anchor point to trim to 3” x 6.75”.

Note: The WRW strip component does NOT fall directly on the diagonal of Quadrant One.  Ensure you measure from the anchor point to achieve correct placement of the WRW stripe component.
13. This will now leave you with the above block unit.
14. Next, take (1) – 1” x 3” white piece and sew to the right side of the block using a 1/4” seam allowance.
15. Press seam.
16. This now completes Quadrant One, measuring 3” x 7.25”.
17. Repeat Steps 5 – 16 to create a second unit that will then be rotated 180 degrees to become Quadrant One Flipped.
Note: Ensure you use the other pair of triangles created for Quadrant One Flipped cut from the blue rectangle top left to bottom right.
Molli Sparkles
Union Jack Block Tutorial:
Divide & Conquer – Part Four
1. Assemble (1) pair of the triangles cut for use in Quadrant Two and Quadrant Two Flipped.
2. Place together with (1) WRW stripe component (created in Part Two) in the correct layout for Quadrant Two.
3. Position the top triangle’s longest edge along the top long edge of the WRW component, 0.25” from the left end with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.

4. Remembering to use a scant 1/4” seam allowance, sew top triangle in place.
5. Press seam.

6. Position the bottom triangle’s longest edge along the bottom long edge of the WRW component, 0.5” from the right end with the right sides of the fabric facing each other (See image below).
7. Remembering to use a scant 1/4” seam allowance, sew bottom triangle in place.
8. Press seam.
9. This unit must be cut in order to create the right size.  Use the top left corner as an anchor point to cut to 3” x 6.75”.

Note: The WRW strip component does NOT fall directly on the diagonal of Quadrant One.  Ensure you measure from the anchor point to achieve correct placement of the WRW stripe component.
10. This will now leave you with the above block unit.
11. Next, take (1) – 1” x 3” white piece and sew to the left side of the block using a 1/4” seam allowance.
12. Press seam.

13. This now completes Quadrant Two, measuring 3” x 7.25”.
14. Repeat Steps 1 – 13 to create a second unit that will then be rotated 180 degrees to become Quadrant Two Flipped.
Molli Sparkles
Union Jack Block Tutorial
Assembly
 1. Combine “Quadrant One,” “Left Stripe of Cross,” and “Quadrant Two Flipped” as pictured below.

2. Combine “Quadrant Two,” “Right Stripe of Cross,” and “Quadrant One Flipped” as pictured below.

3. Depending on how much your fabric has stretched you may find it necessary to trim each side to 7.25” wide by 8” high.
4. Combine the left side unit with the “Centre Stripe of Cross,” which is the remaining (1) – 2” x 8.5” piece of red fabric. 
5. This piece is intentionally, slightly longer to account for any discrepancy in the height of the block. 
6. Once combined with the left side unit, trim any excess from the “Centre Stripe of Cross,” so that edges are aligned.
7. Combine with the right side unit.

8. Trim edges where necessary.

 9. Smile, because your block is now complete!

I’d love to see what you make using this tutorial! Send me photos and I’ll drop them into a blog post for the world to see how fabulous you are! But they already knew that, right?

20 Responses

  1. I think I would have had a heart attack if I lost such a thorough tute! Thanks for calmly bringing this back to life!

  2. Auntie Pami says:

    Is it avail as a PDF ? It would be easier to sew by please

  3. Katy Cameron says:

    I always knew that cleaning was bad for you… (and aren't you glad I'm all caught up now and you won't have my name filling your inbox any more? ;o) )

  4. Jewells says:

    OMG! I went to print it out (just in case you deleted it again in another tidy up) and realised I couldn't…so like "Auntie Pami" said, could I please have it in a PDF?..Thanks!

  5. Suze says:

    The timing could not be more perfect. I'm leaving Friday for the UK. My paternal grandfather was from England and I'm going with a quilt tour. I thought to ever visit England was just a pipe dream. I'ts actually happening. I knew tutorials exist and now I will have this one bookmarked. I'm thinking of making a quilt for my brother of blocks. It may be a wall hanging, yet a quilt. I might have to make two so there's not a family fight someday – he has two sons. On second thought, I have two children, two. So maybe mug rugs. I'll have to see. Maybe that's a pipe dream, too. My grandfather came to the US when he was 17 by himself. So, I've always felt a connection to Britain. Thank you for the tutorial. It's on my short list. I have a to-do list, not a bucket list.

  6. charlotte says:

    I'm with Katy. Cleaning can be hazardous!

  7. One Wee Bird says:

    So glad I'm not the only person who does spazzy things like deleting posts ….at least you saved it I had a freak out and had to copy and paste from google cache aaaagggh

  8. Sophia1 says:

    What a wonderful and detailed tutorial!

  9. FabConfetti says:

    What a great tutorial! I'm also in on the hash tag blocks.

  10. Sue Niven says:

    Thank you so much for your tutorial.I will save it and give it a go as part of the Aussie Hero quilts charity that I make quilts for.

  11. Sue Niven says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I will be giving it a go as part of a block for Australian flag. I make quilts for charity.

  12. Junia says:

    Best and most accurate tutorial I've seen for the Union Jack… those diagonal stripes are not centered, people! LOL Thank you SO much for this!

  13. Junia says:

    By the way I've made my own PDF from this, you just have to select the tutorial with your mouse, right-click and click "print", but instead of printing you save as a pdf instead. Super easy!

  14. Kathy says:

    does anyone know what the finished size of this quilt is?

  15. Cherie says:

    I just finished the sashing between the union jack quilt blocks. I measured the entire piece, and found that I only need a total of 7 inches of fabric for the top and bottom combined, but I need 24 inches for the sides combined. Its not really enough to do another row of Union Jacks (and I really don’t want to make 9 more blocks). Any ideas? How do I make it look…well, great? This is my first real quilt…ever. I have tied fabrics together before, and used scrap denim to make a denim blanket…but this is my first organized, pieced quilt. Help please.

  16. Indianna says:

    Thanks for the tutorial.. I was a bit worried when I cut the 3×6.5 pieces that the diagonals didn’t look like your diagram, but once it was finished it looks exactly like your pieced one. It’s the perfect pattern for a bee quilt based on Peter Blake art.

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