I have always loved the look of a quilt with blocks set on point. Early in my quilting days, I was a bit afraid to tackle one of my own. Now, I do them often. Here’s a few of mine that I have designed:

Aren’t they unique? Setting a block on point can make a quilt look completely different! I have a few tips to help your on point quilt go together smoothly.

**Calculating Setting Triangles**

Unlike quilts made from blocks that are set normally, on point block quilts need what are called setting triangles. Setting triangles are cut from squares. There are side triangles and end triangles.

If you purchase a pattern for an on point quilt, the designer has already done the calculations and has provided you with the size pieces you need to cut. If you are creating your own on point quilt, you will need to figure out what size squares you need to have to make your setting triangles. You calculate the size of the square needed using the *finished *size of your block. The following are the formulas:

Side Triangles – Finished size of your block x 1.414, then add 1 1/4″ to that number. For example, if your finished block is 6″, here is how the formula works:

6″ x 1.414 = 8.48″ (round this up to the nearest 1/8″ to 8.5″)

8.5″ + 1 1/4″ = 9 3/4″ square needed.

This square is then cut diagonally twice for 4 triangles. For the above quilt, there are 12 side triangles, so you will need three 9 3/4″ squares.

End Triangles – Finished size of your block/(divided by) 1.414, then add 7/8″ to that number. Example:

6/1.414 = 4.243 (round this up to the nearest 1/8″ to 4.25

4.25 + 7/8 = 5 1/8″ square needed.

This square is then cut diagonally once for 2 triangles. You need 4 end triangles, so you will need two 5 1/8″ squares.**Laying Out and Stitching Blocks**

Unlike a quilt with straight set blocks, an on point quilt is assembled in diagonal rows. First, assemble the ends, then assemble the diagonal rows and then join the rows. The following diagrams and photos will demonstrate these steps.

Here is a diagram and a photo of how rows are laid out:

I always start from top left and work my way down until all the rows are assembled. The top left and bottom right will have a unique piecing method that I will show in the following photos. I call these the “end caps” since the block is on the end and is surrounded by two side triangles and one end triangle.

Step 1: Line up the 90° angle of the left setting triangle with the corner of the block and pin in place. there will be a small “tail” of the triangle overlapping the block.

Step 2: Stitch with a 1/4″ seam. Then repeat on the opposite side of the block with the other setting triangle. Press these sides open:

Step 3: Line up the end triangle with the center of the unit assembled above. When you flip it on top to pin in place, you can use a ruler to make sure the point of the end triangle is right in the center of the block.

Pin in place, stitch and press open. Once again, there will be overlapping “tails” from the end triangle:

Here’s what the end cap looks like all stitched and pressed. You can now trim off the “tails” if you want.

Step 4: Now that the end cap is finished, it’s time to join all the blocks and triangles into the diagonal rows. Notice all the “tails”.

Step 5: Now it’s time to join those rows into the quilt top! Once again, there will be overlapping “tails” from all the triangle points. Be sure to line up the seams of the blocks when joining your rows.

Here is the finished top. All ready for borders and quilting!

See? That wasn’t too hard! Now you can take any blocks and turn them into an on point quilt. Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be happy to answer them if I can.

Happy stitching!

Deanne

ChristieB says

Great tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing. Will have to sit down and try this. HUGS… and stitches

deanne says

Thanks! Glad you found it helpful.

Lesley says

Deanne, I have a finished block of 12″ but each block has a finished 1″ sashing around each block. Do I need to figure my math on the 12″ finished block or what should I do? Hope I was clear.

deanne says

Is the sashing added to each block before setting on point? If so, then the finished size of your block will include the sashing.

Lesley says

Actually it was not but I did add the sashing as I was sewing on the triangles and it appears as though everything is okay. Thank you, Deanne.

Lesley says

Perhaps I now need to consider my finished block as 14″?

Ruth says

How do you figure the block size using sashings?

Ruth K says

How do you figure the block size using sashings?

deanne says

Hi Ruth,

I have never made an on point quilt with sashing so I don’t know that procedure well enough to give you instructions. However, this quilter’s blog has some good instructions (2nd half of the blog post) that I think explains it pretty well.

https://quiltnotes.com/learning-center/on-point-quilts/

Terry walker says

I have a lot of charm squares. I want to make a queen size on point.

Can you give me an idea of how many rows will be my starting and longest row and any other tips you have. Thanks

Karen says

Great tutorial. I am looking for how many blocks would be in my center diagonal If my blocks are 8 1/2 and I want the finished quilt to be 90 x 90? I am using the chandelier quilt pattern by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique. Het finished quilt size is 60 x 60. The center diagonal has nine blocks going corner to corner & on each side rows of 7, 5, 3 and one. The 60 x 60 quilt has a total of 41 finished 8 1/2 inch blocks. She uses to charm packs. I’m trying to decide how many would be in my center diagonal to get my quilt to be 90 x 90.

Karen says

Thank you but I figured it out.

Crystal O. says

I have the same problem..how did you figure it out? Plus how many did you end up with?

Kathy Calahan says

I really love the diagonal quality of the squares set on point. However I haven’t tried it yet.

I’m an English major. I’ve nearly completed my blocks and was uncertain regarding how to compute the triangles. This is so helpful! Bless you for making a tutorial I can understand.

From my understanding this will make a larger square that is then cut into 4 triangles for the sides. The beauty of this is the longer side of the triangle will be on the straight grain and will prevent it from stretching on the perimeter. Perfect.

Kathy Calahan says

The side triangles and corner ends are perfect! I am pressing the seams open as your tutorial showed.

However, this is the first piecing instructions I’ve encountered that doesn’t tell you to press the seam to one side or the other. Their claim is it makes it stronger. The quit top is flatter pressing seams open. Is that the reason?

deanne says

Hi Kathy,

I has always found pressing seams open make my quilt blocks and top lay flatter. I think we were advised to press them to one side or the other way back when machines didn’t make such tight stitches.

That’s why I don’t offer advice in that area because I think you should choose what works best for you. The key is to make sure your units and blocks measure correctly no matter which way seams are pressed. Also using good locking backstitching when starting and stopping helps to keep seams from coming apart no matter how they are pressed.

Hope this helps!

Kathy Calahan says

It does! My earlier quilts were made a few decades ago or more. I’ve returned to quilting the last couple years. There are are new things to learn. Thanks so much. I’m sure that the hand quilting I’m planning will be easier on opened seams.

Kathy Stermolle says

Just did a quick search for easy to follow on point setting. You tutorial is easy to understand! Thank you!