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Cathedral Window Blocks

Cathedral Window blocks

Cathedral window blocks are not so much a ‘block’ in the traditional sense but they are a technique formed from groups of prepared squares to form a ‘window’ for a contrasting piece of fabric.

Cathedral window quilt block


We made our base squares to finsh at 5 inches so you will need for each square:

Square of base fabric cut to 10.5 inches – make sure these are perfectly square

Centre ‘window’ squares cut to 3 inches

You can use the same ‘base’ fabric for each square or you can change it as we have to show the effect. 

Use a 1/4 inch seam for the construction.

I have used fabrics designed by Fiona and printed by Prinfab on their cotton poplin fabric. Prinfab is a British fabric printing company which offers many different types of fabric for you to print your designs on.

Cathedral window technique

To make cathedral window blocks start by folding your square in half with right sides facing and stitch down each edge with a 1/4 inch seam. Clip the two corners to reduce bulk.

Folding fabric for cathedral window

Bring the two seams together and match them in the centre. Pin along this edge and stitch from each end leaving a small gap in the centre. Clip the corners again.

Cathedral window squares

Turn the fabric through to the right side and press well. Poke the corners out carefully with a knitting needle or similar. Don’t worry about the centre hole as this will be covered up later.


Easy quilt blocks

Fold two opposite corners into the centre and press well. Repeat with the other two corners. Your base square should now measure 5 inches. Make a few more base squares so you can then make the Cathedral Windows.


Making a base for cathedral window

Lay two of your base squares next to each other and then open up the right flap on the left hand square and the left flap on the right hand square as shown. Stitch on the crease between the flaps as shown. You can now repeat this until you have a line of base squares.


How to sew cathedral windows

Decide where you want to place your ‘windows’ – for demonstration I have placed this one on the first square but you may want to leave the first square clear. See ideas of how to use your finished squares below.

I secured my window square in place with a little spray adhesive to stop it moving as I sewed. 


Sewing patchwork blocks

Carefully fold in the edges of the flaps over your window fabric and pin, then stitch in place close to the edge. I set my machine stitch length to 1.5 for this. You can also stitch the flaps in place using hand stitching. 


Sew cathedral windows

Ideas for using Cathedral Window blocks

What can I use cathedral window squares for?

By just using two base squares, you can form a centre panel for a cushion or quilt that could then be appliqued onto a base fabric. Add the window squares in the same way as shown on each corner.

Cushion by Warm in the North

By using a 9 square grid, Warm in the North have a tutorial for a cushion cover using similar techniques.

Have fun making your own Cathedral Window blocks!

For other quilt block tutorials visit our techniques section and click the quilt blocks tag at the top of the page.