Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block

The Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt block is a classic design that has been loved by quilters for generations.

Even if you’re a beginner quilter you can successfully make this block!!

This tutorial will guide you through the process of creating your very own Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt block. With its striking geometric pattern and intricate construction, this block is both challenging and rewarding to make.

From selecting the perfect fabrics to piecing together each individual block, you’ll learn all the tips and tricks you need to create this beautiful and timeless quilt block.

The directions in this tutorial are for making an unfinished 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block.

So grab your fabric and your sewing machine, and let’s get started!

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History of the Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block

The Dutchman’s Puzzle is a popular quilt block pattern that has a rich history in the world of quilting. While the exact origins of the block are not well-documented, it is believed to have originated in the United States during the 19th century.

The Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt block is characterized by its geometric design, which consists of two large triangles that intersect each other to form a square.

Flying Geese Make up the Puzzle!

Typically, the block is made up of multiple Dutchman’s Puzzle units that are combined to create larger quilt designs. 

The name “Dutchman’s Puzzle” is thought to have been derived from the pattern’s resemblance to a type of puzzle known as the “15 Puzzle.” The 15 Puzzle was a sliding puzzle game that became popular in the late 19th century. It consisted of 15 square tiles arranged on a 4×4 grid with one empty space.

The goal of the puzzle was to rearrange the tiles by sliding them into the empty space and form a specific numerical pattern.

Over the years the Dutchman’s Puzzle block has been widely used in quilting. Variations of the pattern have emerged.

Quilters have experimented with different color combinations, fabric choices, and arrangements to create unique and visually appealing designs.

What is a Flying Geese Block?

A Flying Geese quilt block is a popular geometric quilt block pattern that resembles a flock of geese flying in formation.

The block gets its name from the visual resemblance to a flock of geese in flight. The larger triangle represents the body of the geese, while the smaller triangles represent the sky.

The smaller triangles are half the size of the larger triangle.

Arrange flying geese blocks in various ways to create different quilt designs.

Use the flying geese block by itself to create blocks for a quilt. 

Combine the flying geese block with other blocks like a sawtooth star quilt block.

Use flying geese to form borders like in my Meandering Wisconsin quilt!

Use one of two techniques to make your flying geese!!

One common method is the traditional piecing method, where triangles are cut from fabric and sewn together to form the block.

Another method involves using squares and rectangles and employing techniques like the the no-waste method to create the triangle units.

Choose contrasting fabrics for the “geese” and the “sky” pieces.

In this post I’ll tell you how to make both!!

Traditional Method of Making the Flying Geese Blocks

If you want your Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block to have different colors of “geese” you’ll use the traditional method to create the Flying Geese blocks. 

The directions below are to make 1 flying geese block.  You’ll repeat these steps to make the 8 Flying Geese needed for the Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block!

Cut Pieces for One Flying Geese Block:

Use a rotary cutter and plastic ruler to cut 1 large 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″rectangle.

Cut 2 smaller squares to measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ out of the fabric you’ve chosen for your “sky”.


Use a fine pencil or washable marking pen and a straight edge to draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the squares.  Extend the line from one corner to the opposite corner.

Place one of the squares on the right side of the rectangle with the diagonal line pointing to the top outside corner. 

Sew along the diagonal line stitching through both layers of fabric.

Trim away the outside corner approximately 1/4 inch away from the sewn line.

Open the pieced unit and press the seam toward the smaller “sky” piece.

Take the second square and place it on the opposite side of the large rectangle.  Align the diagonal line to the other top outside corner.

Sew along the diagonal line stitching through both layers of fabric.

Trim away the outside corner approximately 1/4 inch away from the sewn line.

Open the pieced unit and press the seam toward the smaller “sky” piece.

The block should measure 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.  Trim if necessary.

Your Flying Geese block is complete!

Repeat to make a total of 8 flying geese for the Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block!!

How to Make 4-at-a-Time Flying Geese!

If you want your “geese” to be two colors or the same color you can use this time-saving technique!

I have a whole post on how to make 4-at-a-Time Flying Geese!!

This easy no waste flying geese method will save you time and fabric!!

Make your Flying Geese to measure 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.

Here is the link to my Easy No-Waste Flying Geese post!! 

Follow the directions to make a total of 8 Flying Geese Blocks!

Arrange Flying Geese into Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block

Sew together two flying geese at a time to point in the same direction.

Rotate each of these sewn units to face in a different clockwise order.

Sew together the top two units and the bottom two units to form two rows.

Press the seam of the top row to the right and the seam of the bottom row to the left.

Nest the seams and sew the two rows together.

Press the final seam to the right, left or open to finish the Flying Dutchman’s Quilt Block.

This block should measure 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″.  Trim if necessary.

Using the Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block in a Quilt

My DEAR LIZZY quilt uses 5 Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Blocks!  You can get the pattern in my Etsy shop!

You can also make multiples of the Dutchman’s Puzzle Quilt Block and sew them together to form your own quilt!  Make as many of these blocks until you get the finished quilt you’d like!! 

Or arrange them with other squares or blocks to create a unique quilt design!

Have fun and happy quilting!!

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  1. Love these tutorials. Thanks for posting. I’m going to try them all in a scrappy sampler block quilt.

    1. You’re very welcome, I’m so glad you’re inspired!! =)

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