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Rainbow Pinwheel Mini Quilt Project

How to sew a rainbow mini quilt

This tutorial makes an eye catching mini quilt, or a cushion cover.  It’s colourful and a great way of using scraps or charm squares. The instructions below are for the quilt but if you can turn it into a cushion by quilting it onto wadding and then follow the instructions for constructing one of the cushions in our projects section.  Or of course you could size it up to make a full size quilt, you could use layer cake squares which are 10 x 10 inches.


Selection of rainbow fabric – I used a Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids Charm pack by FreeSpirit using 64 charm squares (enough to make 2 minis).   You could use a selection of scraps or a fat quarter bundle of Kona Solids. 

17 inch squared of backing fabric.

2 metres of bias binding

17 inch square of wadding – I used Hobbs 80/20

Thread for quilting – I used Gutermann Variegated Threads


Picking your fabrics. I used a solids charm pack for ease of cutting and colour matching.  I knew I’d have lots of great colour combos available.  I’d suggest spreading your fabrics out and then sorting them into piles, 1 pile for each pinwheel (16 total).  I opted to have 4 shades of colour in each pinwheel, if you don’t have such a big selection of colours available you could use 2 colours per pinwheel.

Charm pack mini quilt project


You will be making 16 pinwheels, each comprising of 8 x 2.5inch half square triangles.  I used my Big Shot to cut 4 triangles per 5 inch charm square, only half went into this quilt. I’ve kept the rest to make a pinwheel cushion cover in the future.   You need to cut 128 x 2.5 inch half square triangles. 

How to make a pinwheel quilt block

Piecing the pinwheels

Start by laying out your triangles into the pinwheel pattern to make sure you are happy with how it will look when finished. If you want to change any of the colour combinations now is the best time to do it.

Join each pair of triangles by placing them right side together and sewing along the longest edge to join the.   Once they have all been sewn press the seam towards the darkest fabric.  Then sew each pair of triangles to the pair of triangles which will go next to it making a rectangle (half a pinwheel) as per the photo below

Patchwork piecing

Press the seams again, don’t skip the pressing even though it takes a while, it’ll look much better if you do it.   Join the 2 rectangles (each half of the pinwheel) to complete the pinwheels.

Mini quilts you can make with charm squares

Lay your pinwheels out and decide on your layout.  I decided to go with diagonal rows of similar colours.  Once you have your layout confirmed sew together the 4 pinwheels of each row.  Press your seams again and then join the rows together to make your quilt top.

TIP – Try photographing your quilt to see if the layout looks right. Changing the picture to black and white can help you spot anomalies. 

Quilting with Gutermann variegated thread

Cut your wadding and backing fabric a little larger than the quilt top and pin the layers together.  Decide how you are going to quilt your mini, if you need to draw on your quilting design.  I decided to go with curves along the diagonals as a contrast with all the straight lines in the quilt.

EAsy half square triangle mini quilt pattern - free

Choose your thread and quilt your mini.  I choose matching variegated thread for each row.

Beginner's patchwork projects

Trim of any excess wadding and backing fabric and stitch around the edge just a few millimetres from the edge to hold all the layers together when you bind. If you are making a cushion cover instead of a mini quilt you now have the front panel of your cushion.  Use one of our cushion projects to get instructions for sewing the back. 

Adding binding to a mini quilt

Choose your binding and sew it around the edge of your mini quilt. I used black binding to make the colours pop.  If you aren’t sure how to bind a quilt we have a great binding tutorial.

Tada!  Your mini quilt or quilted cushion is now finished. 


How to make a rainbow pinwheel mini quilt