Broken Dishes Quilt Block

The Broken Dishes quilt block is a beloved classic in the world of quilting, cherished for its simplicity and striking design.

In this post I’ll take you through the step-by-step process of creating your own stunning Broken Dishes quilt block.

Whether you’re a seasoned quilter or just starting out, this timeless pattern offers endless possibilities for creativity and inspiration.

Join me as we dive into the art of quilting and explore the beauty of the Broken Dishes block!

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The Broken Dishes quilt block got its name from the visual illusion it creates when multiple blocks are pieced together in a quilt.

When you arrange several Broken Dishes blocks together, the contrasting triangles formed by the half-square triangles (HSTs) create a pattern that resembles a scattered arrangement of broken dishes or shattered tiles, hence the name.

The block’s design features triangles that alternate in color, giving the impression of a broken or shattered surface when viewed from a distance.

This name reflects the quilt block’s geometric pattern and the creative interpretation of its visual appearance.

Materials Needed to Make the Broken Dishes Quilt Block

Alright, quilting pals, gather ’round!

Before we dive headfirst into the wonderful world of Broken Dishes quilt blocks, let’s make sure we’ve got all our quilting essentials at the ready.

First up, you’ll need some fabric, of course!

Think about two contrasting colors that’ll really make your Broken Dishes pop – maybe a bold blue and a crisp white, or perhaps a vibrant yellow and a rich burgundy.

Or one of my classic color combinations, black and light pink!  These colors remind me of Paris!!

You could even make a scrappy broken dishes quilt block!

Don’t forget your trusty sewing machine, ready to bring your vision to life with each carefully stitched seam.

And hey, where would we be without our iron and ironing board, smoothing out those pesky wrinkles and giving our blocks that polished finish?

I love using a wool pressing mat like this one to get crisp blocks.

Of course, let’s not overlook the importance of our rotary cutter, cutting mat, and quilting ruler – the dynamic trio that ensures our fabric squares are cut with precision and accuracy.

And a good fabric scissors!

Oh, and thread, pins, and a seam ripper are absolute must-haves too, because let’s face it, even the most seasoned quilters make a stitch or two (or three!) that need a little finessing.

So, grab your supplies, get cozy at your sewing station, and let’s get ready to quilt up some Broken Dishes magic!

Making the Broken Dishes Quilt Block

Follow these easy directions to make an 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ Broken Dishes quilt block.

Cutting Fabric

From Color A fabric, cut two 4 1/2″ squares.

From Color B fabric, cut two 4 1/2″ squares.

Creating Half-Square Triangles (HSTs)

Take one square from Color A and one square from Color B.

Place them right sides together, ensuring they align perfectly.

Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the wrong side of one of the squares.

Sew a 1/4″ seam on both sides of the drawn line.

Cut along the drawn line to create two HSTs.

Press the seams open or towards the darker fabric.

Repeat this process with the remaining squares, resulting in a total of four HSTs.

Trim the HST to measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ square.

To learn more about making and trimming HST, check out this tutorial!

Assembling the Block

Lay out the eight HSTs in a pattern that forms the Broken Dishes design. You’ll want to arrange them so that Color A and Color B alternate diagonally.

Once you’re satisfied with the layout, sew the HSTs together into two rows of two, ensuring that the colors are positioned correctly to maintain the pattern.

Press the seam allowances open or towards the darker fabric.

Sew the rows together, matching seams carefully and pinning as needed.

Press the final seams open or towards the darker fabric.


Trim the block to 6 1/2″ square to remove any uneven edges, ensuring the block is perfectly square.

Your Broken Dishes quilt block is now complete!

Remember to be precise with your measurements and seam allowances to ensure that your quilt block turns out accurately.

Tips to Make a Broken Dishes Quilt Block

As you make your quilt block, follow these tips to make sure your blocks come out accurately every time!

Accurate Cutting

Precision is key when cutting your fabric squares. Use a sharp rotary cutter, a reliable quilting ruler, and a stable cutting mat to ensure your squares are cut accurately to size.

Consistent Seam Allowances

Maintain a consistent 1/4-inch seam allowance throughout the piecing process. Consistency in seam allowances will help ensure that your HSTs are uniform in size and that your block pieces align correctly when sewn together.

Pressing Seams

Press your seams carefully after each step to set them properly and reduce bulk. Pressing the seams open or towards the darker fabric can help reduce bulk and create a flatter quilt top.

Nesting Seams

When joining rows or sewing pieces together, “nest” the seam allowances by pressing them in opposite directions. This technique helps to match seams more accurately and reduces bulk at the seam intersections.

Square up HSTs

After sewing and pressing your HSTs, square them up to the correct size. This ensures that your blocks will be consistent and your quilt assembly will be easier.

Layout Planning

Take your time to plan the layout of your Broken Dishes blocks before sewing them together. Arrange them on a design wall or flat surface to experiment with different arrangements and color combinations.


Use pins to hold your pieces together when sewing to prevent shifting and ensure accurate alignment, especially at seam intersections.

Test Seam Ripper

Keep a seam ripper handy for any mistakes, but try to avoid using it by double-checking measurements and seams as you go.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re new to quilting or this block pattern, consider making a practice block using scrap fabric before cutting into your main fabrics. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the process and perfect your technique.

By following these tips and taking your time, you’ll be able to create beautiful Broken Dishes quilt blocks with precision and ease.

Happy quilting!

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