Drafting Blocks

If you have pencil, paper, ruler, and either a set square or a compass you can draft pretty much any block you can imagine.

Hopefully you have some basic geometry skills from primary school to draw the basic square. It should take you longer to find the sticky tape and join two or more pieces of paper if you want to make a block larger than about 9 inches than it does to draw the square.

4P Basics 1

With the basic square you can draw a line from corner to corner twice … that is about it!

However, divide the square into 4 smaller squares, which is now a 4 Patch, and you get a lot more options of drawing lines over the grid … like these.

4P Basics 2

The last block creates some more points of interest to me, because it shows where I can add some more lines to create a more detailed grid, a 4 Patch grid, 16 squares set 4×4.

OF course, with a more detailed grid, there are more design opportunities!

4P Basics 3

If you feel the need you can add another lot of lines to the grid to make 64 little squares or 8×8 grid, but for now, I am going to play with the 8×8 square grid, and some curved seams.


You can replace all but the pencil with graph paper even … you don’t have to have a computer and a drawing program of any sort, but if you get to enjoy drafting block designs I would recommend a quilting program. I have used Electric Quilt to do the illustrations … and no, they don’t pay me to tell you how good the program is, I tell you because I love it!

I started designing blocks with pencil and paper with ruler and compass, graduated to graph paper before trying three different computer programs. Now my first  ‘sketch’ looks like a picture in a book or magazine, and I can play, changing lines, deleting all or part of a line, and saving everything which may be of use in a quilt design later.

Below is a collection of block designs which started from the last block design above, and playing with curved seams. All the designs are based on a 16 square grid.

4P Basics 4

 That was fun!


About Virtual Quilter

I am a quilter who designs many more quilts than I will ever make, and I am sharing one quilt design every day in Virtual Quilter. I also share my completed projects in Stuff-Ups, and Christmas decorations in Christmas Everyday of the Year.
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10 Responses to Drafting Blocks

  1. Love it, and thanks for the lesson.


  2. birdnana14425 says:

    Judy…thank you so much for the lesson…I actually understood it…am going to play tomorrow .. will let you know how it goes. Just finished a quilt for Grandson and am going to take a day off from sewing so can play with the lesson instead, Thanks again! Hugs, Carol


    • Carol,

      Go for it!

      I have learnt lots, and am still learning about what can be done withing a square block, and then there is the way the block design works in a quilt, firstly by itself, then with other blocks one on one and with various assortments. And sometimes I wonder about turning some of the blocks into rectangles ……….

      Judy B

      On 1 February 2015 at 12:51, Virtual Quilter wrote:



  3. Great little drafting lesson!


  4. Marie says:

    Thank you for the lesson! You made it sound so easy. There actually is a 1/4in graph pad out there for sale, (or use to be) for those of us not having a computer program.


    • Marie,

      I still have leftover graph pads on the shelf, and occasionally even go back to them … if only to see what designs I have scribbled on them! I have seen them in some shops within the last few years, but don’t usually look for them anymore like I used to!

      Judy B

      On 1 February 2015 at 13:55, Virtual Quilter wrote:



  5. I still have some too. I often draw quick illustrations on them when teaching someone new how to quilt and especially if they need reminder of how the layout looked. Don’t necessarily use a ruler etc. but definitely easier to lay out proportion wise for a couple of blocks or rows.


    • Cindy,

      Oh, how I wish I had found a computer program to use when I started teaching patchwork, though I would have liked a little printer and a lap top before lap tops were available, so I could have given people a pretty scribble!

      Late last year a friend was having trouble with a quilt design, and while we were talking about quilting and life in general I drew up the layout she wanted to use and gave her a nice, tidy printout to take home. I did save her project in case she needed more info later, but she hasn’t been back, but I have since used the layout for some virtual play time!

      Judy B

      On 3 February 2015 at 03:17, Virtual Quilter wrote:



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