Easy Rail Fence Baby Quilt Pattern

  • 01 of 03

    About the Rail Fence Baby Quilt

    Rail Fence Baby Quilt Pattern
    Rail Fence Baby Quilt. Janet Wickell

    The Rail Fence baby quilt pattern is an easy quilting project that's suitable for beginning to experienced quilters. Rail Fence is larger than a crib quilt but works nicely for toddlers and lap quilts.

    Each of the five strips used in the Rail Fence quilt blocks finishes at 1-1/2" x 7-1/2". Avoid fabrics with large, widely spaced multicolor motifs, because they often appear very different from one area to another when they are cut into narrow strips. Choose mottled fabrics, small prints, batiks, tone on tones and other similar fabrics.

    Preview how a fabric might look in the layout by making a window template that measures 1-1/2" x 7-1/2". Slide it over fabric randomly to see how strips will appear when cut in different areas of the quilt. 

    Feel free to use more fabrics than illustrated -- you might prefer a different fabric for each position in the block. You could start in the middle with a dark strip and then fade to lighter shades on each side. I've added a few tips on page 2 to help you alter fabric choices.

    The quilt's layout can vary as much as its fabric selections -- the example illustrates just one of the numerous possibilities. Experiment with your blocks after they are sewn to discover other layouts.

    Finished block size: 7-1/2" x 7-1/2"

    Finished quilt size: about 45-1/2" x 53", with border as shown

    Fabrics and Other Materials

    Green for blocks: 1 yard

    Blue for blocks: 1 yard

    Blue for wider border: 3/4 yard for crosswise grain borders; or 1-5/8 yards for lengthwise grain borders

    Dark for narrow inner border: 3/8 yard for crosswise grain borders; or 1-3/8 yard for lengthwise grain strips (lots of leftovers)

    Binding: about 225 running inches of doublefold binding (Binding Strip Instructions)

    Backing: A panel that's about 55" x 63" -- 2-5/8" yards and sewn with horizontal panels on the back. You will have leftovers. (Quilt Backing Instructions)

    Batting: same as backing

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Sew Quilt Blocks for the Rail Fence Baby Quilt

    Rail Fence Baby Quilt Pattern
    Make two types of blocks for the Rail Fence baby quilt pattern. Janet Wickell

    Rail Fence Blocks Cutting Instructions



    • (15) 2" wide strips from selvage to selvage

    Sew the Strip Sets and Cut the Rail Fence Quilt Blocks

    1. Gather three green strips and two blue strips. Sew strips together lengthwise, beginning with a green strip and alternating colors. End with a green.
    2. Take care to sew an accurate quarter inch seam allowance. Some quilters like to begin sewing the third strip at the same end where the seam joining the first two strips ended, keeping up that motion as they add remaining strips because it helps keep the strip set from becoming warped.

    3. Press to set the seams.

    4. Press seam allowances one direction. Be careful to press thoroughly at allowances, but avoid stretching the strip set.

    5. Square up one end of the strip set and then cut as many 8" long segments from it as possible (likely 5).
    6. Make two more identical strip sets. Cut a total of (15) 8" long segments from the three sets. That's it, you're finished with the first block type.
    7. Gather three blue strips and two green strips and assemble them in the same way, but begin and end the strip set with blue. Repeat two more times. Cut (15) 8" long segments from the strip sets.

    To Assemble Blocks Without Strip Piecing

    If you prefer to cut and piece blocks together one strip at a time, cut (5) 2" x 8" strips per block (a total of 75 green and 75 blue for this color layout).

    To Make Quilt Blocks with Five Different Fabrics

    1. To use five different fabrics in each block, and to make 30 identical blocks, cut (6) 2" wide strips of each (about 3/8 yard of each).
    2. Sew fabrics into six strip sets, repeating fabric order in each or changing fabric positions. Cut (30) 8" long segments.

    Make a Scrap Quilt

    Sew shorter strip sets and cut fewer 8" segments from each to create a scrap quilt.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Finish Sewing the Rail Fence Baby Quilt

    Rail Fence Baby Quilt Pattern
    Rail Fence Rows. Janet Wickell

    Assemble the Quilt

    1. Arrange the Rail Fence quilt blocks into six rows, each with five blocks.
    2. Rows 1, 3 and 5 are arranged as shown at the top of the illustration. Three blocks with three green strips are placed horizontally in each row. Two blocks with two green strips are placed between them, with strips running vertically.
    3. Rows 2, 4 and 6 are arranged as shown at the bottom of the illustration. Blocks with two green strips are still placed vertically, but they change positions as shown.
    4. Sew the components of each row together. Press new seam allowances towards the blocks with long strips along the edge being joined (rather than towards ends with lots of seam allowances).
    5. Sew rows together, butting seams where blocks meet for a perfect match.
    6. Press the quilt.
    7. Use 1-1/2" wide strips of the dark framing fabric to make inner borders. Apply side borders first using my straight border instructions (you might need to piece the borders if using crosswise grain strips). Beginners, don't be tempted to measure the length along each side of your quilt because it is likely skewed a bit. Borders are an opportunity to square up the quilt.
    8. Use 3-1/2" strips of blue to sew the outer borders in the same way. Press seam allowances towards the outer borders.
    9. Mark for quilting if necessary. Sandwich with batting and backing and baste the layers together. Quilt the quilt.
    10. Trim excess batting and backing and square up corners if necessary. Bind the quilt with doublefold binding. (Quilt Binding Instructions)