Update on the Easy Pinwheels

Update on the Easy Pinwheels

If you haven’t seen the super easy pinwheel check it out –

But there are some questions that arise when you are doing more than the standard charm pack. So we went to our users and they came up with some great info to work with. Try the following –

Here is what have discovered…Cut your squares of fabric:

3 3/8” = 4” Block

4 1/2” = 5” block

5 1/8” = 6” block

5 7/8” = 7” block

6 5/8” = 8” block

7 2/8” = 9” block

8” = 10” block

8 5/8” = 11” block

9 3/8” = 12” block

Now here is the formula, it blew my mind but thank goodness for calculators!

Finished block size x 1.41 = finished diagonal

Divide the answer, the finished diagonal, by 2. Add 0.875″ and round up to the nearest 1/8″ to find your parent block size.

There, aren’t you glad I just gave you the measurements?

Pretty cool eh’!! Just to be sure, I did make the 4”, 5”, 6” and 7” blocks with those measurements and they were spot on. I hope this helps you all! Let me know how it works for you.

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  • Cathy

    Hi hsl, if you know your finished block size (meaning block-sewn-into-the-quilt-totally-finished width) take the diagonal measurement of the finished block, divide that by 2 and add an inch and a quarter. That will be your starting square size.
    For example: You want a finished 4 1/2″ block?
    4.5 x 1.4142 = 6.3639 (your finished diagonal measurement)
    6.3639 divided in half = 3.18195.
    Now add 1 1/4″ for seams and you get 4.43195 (roughly 4 7/16)
    So you would need to start with 2 squares that are about 4 7/16″.
    Since most people don’t like to deal with sixteenths, you could round up to 4 3/4″ starting square size and trim a smidge off sides when your pinwheel is done.

    If you want to start with your cut square size, you reverse all the steps above. So you would SUBTRACT 1 1/4″, then MULTIPLY by 2, and finally DIVIDE by 1.4142 and that will be your finished block size. That means finished and sewn into your quilt!
    For example: 5″ charm pack squares
    5 – 1 1/4 = 3 3/4 (x 2=7.5). 7 1/2 divided by 1.4142 = 5.30 so your finished blocks will be about 5 5/16″ or a bit bigger than 5 1/4″.

    The math on the blog chart is not entirely correct. You don’t add 7/8″ for seams. You add 1 1/4″ for seams. 7/8 is what you would add for half square triangles, but these are essentially quarter square triangles so they get 1 1/4″ added to turn out right.

  • Mary

    Me too. TMI for beginners!!

  • P Hoppe

    I’m still confused. Are the finished block sizes after the blocks are sewn together in the quilt? Are your finished 4″ actually 3.5″ after sewing them into the quilt or are they 4.5″ pinwheel blocks that end up 4″ after sewn into the quilt? I guess I just need to make one and find out. I need each pinwheel section to measure 2.5″ so I can make a 6″ finished Churn Dash.

  • sharon owens

    can you make pinwheels with the mini charm packs?

  • Janice Jacobson

    I have tried many sizes last one was 11″ beginning square it was very close to a 12″ finished square will try again to recheck

  • Carolyn Burrell

    Just got my MSQ BLOCK magazine. Best ever quilting magazine, thank you, Jenny Doan. No ads, instructions are so easy even for dyslexic me. I have watched the tutorials and can now have my BLOCK to take with me wherever I go…

  • Amy

    Thank you! Even though I am a math major I was getting trip up on figuring out this formula!

  • ifangoch

    Thanks for that – I was so confused wondering how a square less than 6″ would give a 6″ block. I totally forgot that there were 2 squares. Doh!

  • Sheila Murrey

    I cheated even more and bought the EZ half square triangle template. If you need a 5″ square, cut a 5″ strip across the width and then just use the template, so easy. I have just cut and made 90 10″ blocks for a king size bedspread in next to no time. Brill!

  • For some reason I remember 1.414…Is that Pi?

  • nermalsmom

    No, pi is 3.14. 😉

  • Yikes…well, it has been more than 50 years since high school math.

  • Nancy Cerreta

    I am just starting a baby quilt and have my 5″ squares cut out, now instead of a plain block quilt, I’ll be making these fancy pinwheel blocks! So excited to try this easy method. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • buckingtrout

    Love this method…never watched video until today, but have made 5 charity destined lap size quilts (using my scrap box of 5″ charms). I tried this system from your great magazine article. I usually put together with alternate solid squares and although a 5″ square charm done this way is bigger than a 5″ charm square…It doesn’t take much time to square up and cut down using a standard 6″ square ruler. Just remember to trim on all 4 sides and not just 2. I just love being able to share quilts that look like I spent tons of time making them, but in reality it was quick & easy. Everyone who’s received one just loves it.

  • JenniferMSQC

    We love quick and easy! Thanks so much for watching! We’d love to see some pics, too.

  • Sharleen

    ok enough is enough! Just tell be what size squares I need to start with to get a 6 1/2″ unfinished block

  • Laura-Jean Siggens

    you can make pinwheels with any size squares. any size. have fun with those mini charms. these are one of my favorite pre cuts. 🙂

  • Pat Semeraro

    Regarding the block sizes listed in our chart above – are those “finished” 8 inch or are they 8 1/2 to be 8 when finished in the quilt? Thanks so much.

  • Ga redhead

    So, let’s say I am reading a pattern created by some unelightened person who insists I make hst the old-fashioned way by cutting on the diagonal and then sewing to itty bitty triangles together. Can I use this math to determine what size block I should start with to get the right size block? If so, kisses and deep gratitude to you!!!

  • Marlo

    Used your method to make pinwheel blocks. Took 10inch squares or layer cakes. Made the pinwheelscame out between 12 1/2 and 12 5/8 inch blocks. Squared blocks to 12 inches and cut them according to your tutorial of disapearing pinwheel #3 and #4.Working on the Friendship Star one now. Put the blocks away for the Whirly one later. When done I’ll post a picture. Thanks so much for your great tutorials.

  • MissouriQuiltCo

    We would love to see a picture, Marlo!

  • Connie

    I took some old junky fabric and cut squares that were different sizes : 3″ , 3.5″, 4″ , 4.5″ ect… Then I made my pinwheels using Jenny’s fabulous technique. I marked the starting size square with a sharpie on the finished pinwheel.
    Now I have actual fabric samples to check the size I need when I want to use pinwheels in a project.

  • That’s fantastic, Connie! Such a great idea!

  • w8 w8

    5 1/2″ cut squares, yields a 6″ *finished* block, that is a 6 1/2″ unfinished.
    the math… (6.0″ / 2 = 3″ finished side of a half-square) …
    3″ multiply by (1.4142 = 4.25″ finished diagonal of a half square (*rounded up)…
    4.25″ + (plus 1.25″ seam allowances) = 5.5″ (* to the nearest 1/8″)

  • Becky Marshall

    Just checking….I am in an exchange and need to make 36 blocks that measure 8.5″ to finish at 8″. I want to add a little for error. Should I cut my blocks at 6.5″? Sorry this has been so difficult for all of us…..thank you.

  • Cecilia Bahr-Thex

    I started making a pinwheel a while ago. A friend gave me the template. Initially I kept having. Some problems. After watching this video. I AM GAME! Thank you. I am now inspired to get back to it.

  • Lynn Starkey

    so how many pinwheels rows and columns to make a crib size quilt?

  • Chris Haines

    I’m with you Faye, couldn’t measure an angle from a dangle!!

  • Cat

    Love you tutorial on the pinwheel the only problem I have it my center is bulky/thick is this normal or am I doing something wrong.

  • Jackie Goosen

    I am new to quilting and made my first pinwheel based on the video. Sew easy! Love this technique. Below are a couple of mug rugs that I have made with the pinwheel. Question…what do I do with the “knob” that forms in the middle? Is there a trick to making it less bulky?

  • Carlaine Bovio

    I am trying to get a 4″ square pinwheel using block size 5 3.75 inch blocks. I sewed all around the block 1.4 inch and than cut from corner to corner and they are huge. What am I doing wrong.

  • Mary

    This makes zero sense. Could you, I don’t know, put “Starting block” on one side and “Finished PINWHEEL” on the other? Because this is greek to me.

  • Lisa Reynolds

    Ok totally confused I want my completed block at 12 inches so…. if I take 12 ×1.414+.05= 17.018 is big I need my squares

  • That is right, Michelle! What size block you use is up to you! 🙂

  • sew quilts

    Jackie you can pull the threads outside the seam line and press to open making a small pinwheel or clip the extra fabric and press flat with a burst of steam or starch.

  • Boisenoise

    Aargh . . . I’m so confused! I cut squares that were 4 1/2″ wide as the chart specified, but ended up with blocks that were 2 3/4″ square, not 5″. I need 5″ blocks, but I can’t seem to figure out how to get them using this method. I must be misunderstanding something.

  • GetItRight

    So if I wanted a stand alone block to measure 10 1/4, I would start with 8 1/8″ squares? Just trying to check the math.
    FYI….I don’t know why my post name is “GetItRight”. So please forgive me for that. I did not pick that and don’t know where it came from.

  • Robbie LeMore

    Jenny, over the years of my quilting life I have gone to youtube many times and especially to Missouri Star Quilt Co’s videos. All in my family have my quilts so I am now making quilts for a local church to sell and support their ministries. My latest is kind of something I put together myself and needed some pinwheels only 3 1/2″ in size. Naturally, I went to your youtube but couldn’t figure it out. Then, I went to Yahoo and asked the question and up popped “The Cutting Table” featuring YOU! When I scrolled down I found the formula to use to make any size and made one up. It is perfect. Thanks so much for your help over the years! If I can manage the electronics I’ll send you a picture….Thanks again.

  • D Suibhne

    How is this an “Update?”
    This is an OLD tutorial!

  • Nancy

    I would like to make this pinwheel lap quilt – would it be 2 printed charm packs and one solid color one?