Card Trick Quilt Block ~ Week #12 Spring Block of the Week

Learn how to sew a fun Card Trick Quilt Block during week 12 of our Spring Block of the Week!  I’ve been so excited to share how to sew this block with you!! 

I love the look of this block!  Just follow the steps below to learn how to make it!!

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Week 12 – Card Trick Quilt Block

This block looks complicated, but it’s really not!!!  I’ve waited until almost the end of the Block of the Week series to have you work on this block though, as it does take a bit more patience than some of the other blocks from Weeks 1-11, lol!!  But it’s not hard!  So don’t be scared to give it a try!!!

card trick quilt block

The Card Trick Quilt Block uses Half Square Triangle blocks, Tulip Blocks, and a Quarter Square Triangle block.  The techniques used to make each of these blocks is different than the way I taught in previous Block of the Week posts. 

We could make the Half Square Triangles (Week 2 – Shoo Fly) and Tulip Blocks (Week 7 – Variable Star) like we already learned but we’d end up with orphan blocks.  Orphan blocks are blocks that are left-over for one reason or another.  I have a whole basket of orphan blocks that maybe someday will get sewn into a wild-looking quilt, lol!!

For the Card Trick Quilt Block I don’t want to use more material than we need to, so we’re going to be frugal with our fabric and learn how to sew together blocks from triangles!!

All directions are for ¼” seams allowance. 

The finished block will measure 12 ½” x 12 ½” square.

Choose and cut the fabrics…

You’ll need 5 different fabrics for this block.  Four of the fabrics will form the “cards” and the other fabric will be the outer background fabric. 

Use this diagram to plan out your fabric arrangement.

From each of Fabrics A-D cut one 5 ½” square and one 4” square.  From Fabric E cut two 5 ½” squares and two 4” squares. 

Cut each of the fabric squares in half diagonally.  To do this just place the plastic ruler diagonally from corner to corner.  Use the rotary cutter to cut the square in half along the diagonal.  You will now have all triangles that are needed to sew the various blocks!

If you’re new to quilting or cutting squares for quilts, you can take a peek at my post on using a rotary cutter or the post on basic quilt supplies!

Making the Half Square Triangles…

These are super easy!  But because we’ll be sewing along the diagonal side of the triangles I’m going to talk about a little trick to keep your sewing machine from eating the ends of the triangles!!

Use two large triangles to make each of the half square triangle blocks.

Take a large triangle from Fabric E and a large triangle from Fabric A.  Place them right sides together and pin along the diagonal side. 

Before you start sewing on the pointed end of these triangles, sew a little scrap of fabric and don’t cut the thread.  This way when you start sewing the point of the triangle it won’t get sucked into the machine.

Sew the triangles together along the pinned side.  Remove the pins as you come up to them. 

Repeat with all of the big Fabric E triangles sewn to each of the Fabric A-D big triangles to make a total of 4 Half Square Triangles. The half square triangles get placed into each corner of the quilt block, with fabric E in the corner! 

half square triangles

Press the Half Square Triangles open, with the seam toward the dark side.  Trim them all to be 4 ½” square.

Trim the Half Square Triangle Blocks…

To trim to 4 ½” square place a 6 ½” plastic ruler like the Easy Square, Jr. on the half square triangle.  Line up the diagonal line of the ruler to the diagonal line on the half square triangle.  Find where the two 4 ½” lines of the ruler intersect.  Make sure there is fabric all around the 4 ½” “square” you’ve just located on the ruler.  Trim the two outside edges of the half square triangle. 

Then flip the square around, line up the diagonal line of the ruler and the diagonal line of the square, and the trimmed corner of the square to the 4 ½” intersecting lines on the ruler.  Trim the outside edges of the half square triangle.  Now you have a 4 ½” squared Half Square Triangle block!

Making the Tulip Square Blocks…

During Week 7 of the Spring Block of the Week when we made the Variable Square Quilt Block we learned one way to make Tulip Blocks.  For the Tulip Blocks of the Card Trick quilt block we’ll learn another way to make them!

You’ll need to make a total of four Tulip Blocks for the Card Trick Quilt Block.  Each Tulip Block will use one large triangle from Fabrics A, B, C, or D and two small triangles, one from Fabric E and one from Fabric A, B, C, or D.

Lay out all the triangles first before you sew any of them together so you get the placements correct.

Start by sewing the two smaller triangles together.

Line them up first so the Fabric E triangle is on the left and the other triangle from either Fabric A, B, C, or D is on the right. 

Place the two triangles right sides together and pin.  When you sew them together you can start sewing them from a flat edge rather than from the pointed end. 

Press open toward the darker triangle. 

Next, sew this sewn pair of small triangles to a larger triangle from either Fabric A, B, C, or D.  Follow the diagram shown at the beginning of this post to make sure you’re using the correct fabric in the correct order.

Press toward the larger triangle. 

Repeat to sew each of the four tulip blocks.

Trim the Tulip Blocks…

Use the Easy Square, Jr. or a similar ruler to trim the Tulip Blocks.

Place the diagonal of the ruler along the seam between the two small triangles.  Line up the 4 ½” mark on the long diagonal seam of the Tulip block.  Trim the outside overhanging fabric.

Then turn the ruler around and line up the diagonal line on the ruler with the short diagonal line of the Tulip block again.  Line up the trimmed corner to where the 4 ½” lines intersect.  Trim the overhanging fabric on both sides.

Making the Quarter Square Triangle Block…

The center block on the Card Trick Quilt Block is a Quarter Square Triangle block! 

You’ll use a small triangle from each of Fabrics A-D to make this block.  Lay out the triangles according to the diagram. 

Sew Fabric A triangle to Fabric B, starting the seam from the flat edge rather than the pointed edge of the triangles.  Sew Fabric C triangle to Fabric D sewing from the flat edge also. 

Press each of these open.  Press the seam of the first sewn set toward Fabric A and press the seam of the second sewn set toward Fabric C. 

Place these two sets right sides together, and stitch along the diagonal line.  Press open toward either side.

Trim the Quarter Square Triangle block…

Line up diagonal line on the ruler to either of the diagonal lines of the Quarter Square Triangle block.  Find where the 4 ½” lines intersect.  Make sure there is fabric from the block outside of all sides of the 4 ½” square on the ruler. Trim the two sides with overhanging fabric. 

Turn the ruler around and line up the point where the two 4 ½” lines intersect to the trimmed corner.  Make sure the diagonal line also lines up the diagonal seam of the block. 

Trim the overhanging fabric on both sides of the block.

Plan the block layout for the Card Trick Quilt Block…

Follow this diagram to plan the layout of the tulip squares and the other 4 ½” squares.

It might sound very simplistic, but sometimes I actually take a picture of the planned-out blocks so I don’t mess up when I start sewing them together.  Then I can refer to the picture to help me get all the blocks in the right order!! 

Chain piece the squares of each row…

Begin sewing the squares together row by row.  I like to pin the first two blocks in each row before I start sewing them.  This way I can easily “chain piece” them together. 

Starting with row one, place the first two squares right sides together.  Place a pin in the middle and on the end.

Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the two squares together.  Don’t sew over the pins, remove them as you come up to them.

Rather than cutting the thread when you get to the end, you can continue to sew the first two squares in row two together.  This is called chain piecing, and it saves a little time and thread. 

Place the first two squares of row right sides together, pin, and stitch.  Don’t snip the thread, and repeat to add the first two squares of row three on the “chain”. 

When you have the first two blocks of all three rows sewn together, then snip them apart from each other. 

Line them up in their correct row placement again. 

Place the last block right sides together to each of the middle squares and pin.  Stitch the last block onto row one.  Again, rather than snip when you get to the end, you can chain piece the last square of each row onto the middle square of that row. 

Snip them apart when you have all the rows sewn.

I like to use this chain piecing technique to sew quilt squares together.  As an alternative you can also sew each of the squares individually if you prefer!!

Pressing the seams…

Press the seams of row one to the right.  Press the seams of row two to the left.  And press the seams of row three to the right again.  This way the seams will “nest” together nicely when you sew the rows to each other!

Sewing the rows together…

With rows one and two right sides together, “nest” the seams together and place a pin in these lined up seams.  I also like to place a pin at the end of the rows, and a couple in the middle.

Sew the rows to each other, removing the pins as you come up to them.  Be careful not to let the seam from the bottom row fold over the wrong way as you come up to it!  This happens sometimes.   

Press the seams of each row all in the same direction, either toward the top or toward the bottom.  This way your block will lay nice and flat.

Nicely pressed seams look so pretty!!!  And they help to create smooth quilting patterns later!

Finishing the block…

Using the measurements for the individuals squares that make up this block, the final quilt block should end up measure 12 ½” x 12 ½”.  Once you’ve pressed it, lay it out on your cutting mat and square the block to make sure it’s 12 ½” square.  Your square will probably be very close to being 12 ½” square, you might just need to trim a few threads!

I have a 12 ½” square Omnigrip plastic “ruler” that works great for squaring up large quilt blocks!

Next week’s block, Week 13, will require much less thinking!  I promise!!!  Week 13 is the last block of this series, then we’ll make Blocks 1-13 into a quilt!!! 

Have fun making this Card Trick Quilt Block, and have a great week!!


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  1. I have been anxiously awaiting block #12. I have not tried any of the squares yet but have printed and read each one, several times. I am taking beginner quilting classes now and anxious to try your methods. Thank you for sharing all the “detailed” information regarding these squares.

    1. You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy making the blocks!!! ~Bonnie

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