During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Random Thoughts and Tender Mercies http://marcysrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rail Fence

The Rail Fence Quilt Block is a very easy  beinning quilt block.   The zig zag design brings to mind the old fashioned rail fences made from logs split lengthwise into fence rails.  They could be constructed without nails or other hardware, and were popular in  frontier days when timber was plentiful but nails were scarce. 

To make my 12 inch square block, I started by cutting three strips of fabric, each 1 1/2 inch wide.  In order to make 16 three inch squares, I needed the strips to be 56 inches long.  Since my fabric wasn't 56 inches long, I ended up making two sets strips, the first set was about 44 inches long, and then the second set was about 15 inches long.  First I sewed the blue strip to the white strip, right sides together, then I sewed the red strip to the other edge of the white strip.

 After pressing, I began to cut the strips into 3 1/2 inch squares.  I purposely made the strips a bit longer than needed to allow myself some wiggle room.  I repeated the process with the smaller strips:

Next  came the huge decision of how to arrange the 16 squares for my final quilt block.  Should I arrange the squares this way:

Or this Way:

Or This Way:

Here's my finished Rail Fence Quilt Block again:

I sewed the 16 squares together into pairs first, then sewed each two pairs into a four square block. Next I sewed the top four square blocks together, then the bottom two four square blocks together. Last of all I sewed the top to the bottom. Can you see my mistake? It's very easy to get these blocks turned around the wrong direction. I had to take out several seams more than once as I was trying to get everything sewn together correctly, and I still turned the bottom right quarter square the wrong direction. It should be turned one quarter turn to the left. I'll have to fix it next week, as I have a busy weekend ahead of me and no more time to sew!

As with the other quilt blocks I have featured this month, the combinations of fabrics and colors  create endless variations of the quilts blocks, and the interweb is a wonderful place to explore the Wide variety of patterns available and to get ideas.  The book I was using as a guide for my block showed using three different fabric strips to make the block, but I have found many beautiful quilts that use four different fabrics,  such as this one at http://www.abbimays.com/assets/images/free%20quilt%20patterns/5railfence2.jpg:
I can see a mistake in the diagram above too.  Can you see it?

And Victorianquiltdesigns.com has an easy rail fence design that uses just three strips of two different fabrics:

Equilters.com  offers another 20 different sample quilt layouts using the Rail Fence block.  So who's ready to go and build a Rail Fence?


  1. Not to get to off topic but those rail fences are all over the place down here especially in the civil war parks and museums.

    1. I do remember seeing quite a few split rail fences in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

  2. Just stopping by for the A-Z Challenge. Please check us out and sign up to follow if you like what you see. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

    1. I will have to do that. Thanks for stopping by!