Windmill-Pinwheel Tutorial – Post 3

In the first post were the fabric requirements for this 15 inch block

In the second post, we sewed the basic units (quarters) of the pinwheel.

Now we get it all together!

Step 3 – The NEWSy Pinwheels! So you think you can start making your pinwheels now, right? Wrong! For when you start putting them together – the wheel refuses to come together – the blades are pointing in all different directions – North East West and South! This is the `aha!’ moment (It was, for me!) You will have two sets of blocks – Set A with the red on the top and Set B with the white on the top. Sort them into two lots.

  • Sew together Set A blocks in pairs and make a pile.
  • Sew together Set B blocks and make another pile.
  • Press all seams towards the blue.

Set A – 8 pairs                      Set B – 8 pairs

One set makes the wheels clockwise and the other, anticlockwise! So you are on your way to two clockwise and two anticlockwise. Now comes the fun part 

Step 4 – Experimenting with Layouts You can layout the pairs and try out various lay outs like here –

I did not like the way these looked in the centre – it made the pinwheels kind of disappear. So I decided to add a sashing. Here I tried out white and blue sashing with different layouts.

I quite like the third layout but the blue sashing makes it all kind of mergeL

My final choice

Making the Pinwheels

  1. Lay out the final pattern you’ve decided on.
  2. Remember to carefully check that you are joining the seams correctly. I thought I was! But this is what my 4th pinwheel looked like :

    Oops! The white is supposed to be on the perimeter… so out came the ripper and I had to re-do it L

3.  After stitching the pairs together, you shall find that the centres do not lie flat!

Here is a beautiful solution at the piecmealquilts blog – explained so lucidly –


And here is my pinwheel all ready!

Don’t you love the little pinwheel at the back?

Square up each of the four pinwheels to 7.5″.

End of Step 4 – You will have two pinwheels facing clockwise and two anti- clockwise – all 7.5″ square

Step 5 Centre Windmill

Once I had my 4 pinwheels done , I was ready to join them with a red sashing.

The Block of the month was supposed to be a windmill – but I had only pinwheels!

So, I decided to put a teenie-weenie windmill between the four sub-blocks.

Again – the rule – stitch big and square down to size. I began with 2 blue and 2 white 1.25 inch squares to make 4 half square triangles. (After joining them with a ¼ ” seam on either side of the dashed Line, I cut them along the centre pencil marked line)

I had 4 squares, which I joined first in pairs, before joining the pairs to make a tiny little windmill. I trimmed down my windmill to 1.5″ square (including seam allowance). Flipped it over and trimmed the seam allowances to about 1/6 of an inch before taking off a few stitches from the centre – allowing this teenie – meenie wheel to emerge. Isn’t it adorable!?J Step 5 Add the sashing The final block shall be 15.5″ (including seam allowances). And here it is – the final block! You can make it  into a cushion cover, or make more of these to make into a runner, a table cloth or a full sized quilt! Add a wider sashing between the blocks or use the same sashing – the possibilities are endless. Note: If you want to make a block of all clockwise or all anti-clockwise pinwheels – you’ll need to  make at least 2 blocks. Double the fabric requirements ( Post 1 You’ll have one anticlockwise and one clockwise pinwheel.  Do write to me if a step is not clear anywhere. Happy Quilting!

Author: Mads

In alphabetical order: daughter, mother, painter, philosopher, poet, quilter, seeker, wife...

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