When looking through vintage quilt patterns, you may come across a fairly sophisticated design that makes you question, “How did they come up with that?”
One of these patterns is the tumbling blocks quilt pattern.
Today, we’ll go into the history of this quilt design, followed by a look at 19 incredible tumbling blocks quilt patterns that you can use to make your own quilt top.
What Is a Tumbling Blocks Quilt and What Is Its History?
The tumbling block quilt pattern (also known as the baby’s block pattern) is an unusual three-dimensional design that you wouldn’t expect to be popular in the nineteenth century, but it was.
We don’t know who invented this quilt pattern, but it was originally published in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1851.
This form of design is noted for its cubic movement and 3D effect, and is sometimes referred to as “cube work.”
This motif was prevalent in various tile work and mosaics dating back to ancient Greece before it was used for a quilt.
Isn’t it fantastic? This quilt pattern is a popular choice in modern quilting, and it can be found in many books and magazines.
What Was the Message Behind the Tumbling Blocks Quilt Square?
During the 1800s, the Underground Railroad was a defiant effort to aid enslaved African Americans seeking freedom. Quilt patterns were one of the most useful tools for enslaved persons in determining when it was safe to go.
Quilts were hanged on a fence or clothesline by members of the resistance. Depending on the pattern, the evacuees would know what to do or search for. “Pack your bags and get ready to move,” the tumbling blocks pattern said. With this background, we can appreciate quilts and their historical significance even more.
How Do You Make a Tumbling Block Quilt?
Before you begin sewing a tumbling block quilt, you need decide whether or not you want to employ “Y” seams. That is going to be really important. If you want to take up the challenge of “Y” seams, you should look for a conventional design.
If you want a tumbling blocks quilt pattern that doesn’t include any “Y” seams, you should seek for it particularly before buying or downloading a pattern. Don’t worry; I’ve located a variety of both styles. To make your own tumbling block quilt, follow these steps:
- Choose between Y seams and no Y seams.
- Pick a design.
- Follow the pattern’s fabric requirements and choose fabric accordingly.
- Remove all fabric.
- To make the quilt top, sew the fabrics together.
- Make a sandwich quilt (quilt top, batting, and backing)
- As intended, quilt
- Finish the quilt and have fun!
How Much Fabric Is Needed for A Tumbling Block Quilt?
The amount of fabric you’ll need is determined by the size of the quilt and the pattern you choose. The fabric requirements for the size quilt you choose will be specified in most, if not all, patterns.
19 Eye-Catching Tumbling Block Quilt Patterns
I’ve amassed a fantastic variety of tumbling block quilt patterns, both with and without “Y” seam instructions. Free and paid patterns are available, so there should be something for everyone.
1. Tumbling Blocks Raggy Quilt
If you enjoy making rag quilts, this pattern is for you. This pattern is available as a free PDF download and is an excellent starter project. The instructions will guide you through making a baby quilt that measures 44 7/8″ x 51″.
2. Big Block Tumble Pattern
The gigantic tumbling blocks in this pattern are accented with these lovely batik fabrics. With four distinct sizes to select from, you may make different sizes and color combinations with this pattern. This pattern is available as a paid PDF download.
3. Video Tutorial: Tumbling Block with no “Y” seams
If you’re certain you won’t be using “Y” seams in your project. You will learn how to make classic sewn-together blocks. This tutorial’s developer lists all of the materials you’ll need to construct these amusing blocks.
4. ABC 3D Tumbling Blocks Book
The quilt seen above is one of many patterns included in this book about tumbling block quilts. There are 16 different items in the book that are pieced without “Y” seams. Fabric needs and instructions are provided for each of the 16 projects in this book.
5. Arcade Game
Jaybird Quilts’ Arcade Game quilt pattern was used to create this stunning quilt. This pattern is available in four distinct sizes: baby, lap, twin, and king. This pattern does not require “Y” seams, making it ideal for novices.
6. Nine Patch Tumbler
This quilt design is one of those that you look at for a long time and wonder, “How did they do that?” To create this stunning quilt, the designer had the brilliant idea of combining nine-patch blocks with tumbling pieces. This pattern comes in two sizes: toss and queen.
7. Jewel Tone Diamonds Tumbling Blocks
This free tutorial is a good option for anyone looking for a free tumbling blocks quilt pattern. This guide will show you how to piece together these stunning diamond shape blocks utilizing “Y” seams in a detailed and well-written step-by-step lesson.
8. Free Tumbling Blocks Pattern
Another wonderful free pattern that demonstrates how to make a tumbling block quilt with “Y” seams in great detail. This design includes diamond template templates as well as fabric needs and tips. This quilt will be 45 34″ x 53 34″ when finished.
9. The Cubes
With its bright colors and soothing grey background, this modern twist on the tumbling blocks quilt pattern is a breath of new air. This pattern will show you how to make a 63″x70″ quilt top without using “Y” seams. The pattern also comes with templates for cutting out the individual sections.
10. Tumbling Down
Don’t you like this pattern? The effect of some slipping away from the standard block form is distinctive and entertaining. There are two sizes available for this pattern: wall hanging (30″x39″) and lap (78″x59″).
11. Tumbling Blocks Quilt Pattern
Although this quilt resembles a conventional tumbling block quilt, it does not use “Y” seams. This makes it an excellent alternative for someone who prefers the traditional aesthetic but prefers a more straightforward build. This template will guide you through the process of making a king-size quilt.
12. Baby Blocks
Another pattern without “Y” seams, and the designer promises that you will be able to put this quilt together quickly and effortlessly. The design comes in two sizes: 36″x36″ for a little baby quilt and 26″x46″ for a table runner.
13. Day Camp Quilt
This design is ideal for those looking for a quick and simple craft. This quilt can be put together in a day if you use large diamond pieces. This pattern incorporates “Y” seams, yet the directions are easy to follow even for beginners. The quilt will be 64 12″ x 74 12″ when finished.
14. EPP Tumbling Block
This pattern demonstrates how to use English Paper Piecing to make these lovely stacked blocks. The pattern includes a well-written tutorial with numerous illustrations to assist you. 12 12″ square is the finished block size. You may incorporate this block into another pattern or use it to create a whole quilt top.
15. Foxy Blocks
If you want to make a mini quilt but don’t want to cut out a number of tiny pieces, this is a fun solution. To make the tumbling blocks design, instead of stitching pieces together, weave strips together. The pattern will show you how to build a 12″x 20″ small quilt.
16. 3D Tumbling Blocks
This fabric choice gives the pattern a stained-glass appearance. There are no “Y” seams in this double tumbling block pattern. The jelly roll-friendly pattern will guide you through the process of making a 48″ x 64″ throw quilt.
17. Rainbow Cube
This design will teach you how to make a huge 33″x 33″ square block that can be used as a quilt centerpiece or a wall hanging. This pattern uses “Y” seams and requires a special template, which may be purchased separately.
18. Colorfall Cubes
Here’s another great example of combining nine-patch and tumbling blocks to create something special. The same designer created this quilt pattern as quilt pattern #17. For this pattern, she suggests using the same special template. This pattern will yield a 34″ x 47″ finished quilt.
19. Building Blocks Quilt Pattern Booklet
Last but not least, this booklet has a variety of patterns that incorporate the tumbling bricks block and other 3D blocks. The image above is only one of the modern wonders covered in this book. The book is 64 pages long and contains numerous examples and projects that you can complete.
This unusual and somewhat complicated quilt pattern is as popular today as it was 150 years ago. It’s not only a fresh and fascinating pattern, but it also has a long history of assisting those in need. I hope these examples have piqued your interest in making your own Tumbling Blocks quilt.