Sherman’s March Quilt Block Pattern

These instructions are for a finished 12-inch-square Sherman’s March quilt block. This quilt project is made up of 30 blocks, and fits a queen-size bed.

By Rebecca Martin

Winter 2019

Quilt-pattern



A Sherman's March quilt made by editor Rebecca Martin. Photo by Queren King-Orozco

Sherman’s March is an old quilt block pattern, dating from the 1860s or earlier. It commemorates William Tecumseh Sherman, a Union officer who led his troops on a wide swath of devastation in Georgia during the Civil War. The pattern is also known as Double Monkey Wrench and Shoo-Fly.

These instructions are for a finished 12-inch-square block. Measurements for each piece include a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance. The number of blocks needed to make a bed quilt will depend on how many borders you add (and their width), how far you want the quilt to extend over the edges of the mattress, and whether you frame each block with fabric strips in a style known as “lattice.” The pictured quilt is made up of 30 blocks with no lattice between the blocks, and fits a queen-size bed with a drop of 10 inches over the edges of the mattress.

Cut the Pieces

The Sherman’s March block design consists of 17 pieces in three different shapes. For each 12-inch block, you’ll need 1 “A” piece, 8 “B” pieces, and 8 “C” pieces.



  • Piece “A” is a 4-1⁄2-inch square (4 inches square finished). It's maroon in the photo of the finished block (below).
  • Piece “B” is a 4-1⁄2-by-2-1⁄2-inch rectangle. Cut half of the “B” pieces from a light fabric, and the remaining half from a dark, contrasting fabric. In the finished block, “B” pieces are teal and white.
  • Piece “C” is a triangle. You can create a triangle template for “C” with the legs on either side of the right angle each measuring 47⁄8 inches and trace and cut each triangle individually, or you can cut a 4-7⁄8-inch square from the fabric, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner, and cut along the line, which will produce two triangular pieces in the same color. Cut half of the “C” pieces from a light fabric, and the other half from a contrasting fabric. In the finished block, “C” pieces are gray-green and white.

Quilt-Pattern-Units

This illustration shows how each unit is sewn together. Illustration by Amanda Barnwell

Assemble the Blocks

Step 1: Make “B” squares. Sew a light “B” piece to a dark “B” piece along the long edge. Repeat with remaining light and dark “B” pieces. Press seams open; set “B” squares aside.

Quilt-Pattern-B

 



This illustration shows how the "B" pieces should be sewn together. Illustration by Amanda Barnwell

Step 2: Make “C” squares. Sew a light “C” piece to a dark “C” piece along the long edge. Sew carefully, because the long edge is on the bias and will easily stretch out of shape. Repeat with remaining light and dark “C” pieces. Press seams open, and set “C” squares aside.

Quilt-Pattern-Step2

This illustration shows how the "C" pieces need to be sewn together. Illustration by Amanda Barnwell

Step 3: Assemble Units 1 and 3. Sew a “C” square to both edges of a “B” square. Make sure the seams of the “B” square are perpendicular to the dark triangles in the “C” square (see illustration below). Repeat to assemble Unit 3. Press seams to the outside.

Step 4: Assemble Unit 2. Sew a “B” square to each side of an “A” square. Make sure the seams of the “B” square run parallel to the edges of the “A” square. Press seams to the outside.

Step 5: Complete the block. Line up the seams of the squares in Units 1, 2, and 3 (see illustration below), and sew the units together. Press seams to the outside.

Step 6: Make remaining blocks. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 to create the desired number of quilt blocks.

This illustration shows how each unit is sewn together. Illustration by Amanda Barnwell

Make the Quilt Top

  1. Now you’re ready to sew the blocks together to make the quilt top. You can either separate the blocks with lattice strips that are several inches wide, which is helpful for beginners, because lattice will disguise mismatched seams on the blocks, or you can leave out the lattice strips. (Look at the photo of the finished quilt below. Because this top has no lattice, the “C” blocks had to meet accurately.)
  2. First, mark 1⁄4-inch seam allowances on the blocks. If adding lattice, measure and cut strips — usually 2 to 4 inches wide — in a contrasting color, and mark seam allowances on them. For a different effect, you can add a contrasting square at the point where the horizontal and vertical lattice strips meet. Sew the blocks and lattice together to assemble the quilt top.
  3. Borders are another option that will provide a quilt with a finished look, and they’ll also increase the size of the quilt top to drape over the sides of your bed. You can add a single wide border or multiple borders of varying widths. Mark the borders with a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance before sewing them to the quilt top.
  4. The next step is to assemble the layers of quilt top, batting, and backing. Smooth them out on a flat surface, taking care not to introduce any wrinkles as you work, layering them in this order: first the backing (right-side-down), which should be larger than the top by several inches; then the batting (an ultra-thin polyester quilt batting is the easiest to quilt through), and finally the quilt top, right-side-up. Keep the layers together and lying flat by either basting through all layers or pinning them with large safety pins. Finish by quilting through all the layers, or sending the assemblage to your favorite local quilter-for-hire

quilt-block-design

A close-up of a Sherman's March quilt block that editor Rebecca Martin used to create a bed quilt. Photo by Queren King-Orozco

Piecing Tips

  1. Wash and iron all fabric so it’s preshrunk before you begin cutting.
  2. If you’re using up fabric from your scrap bag, make a cardboard or plastic template of each pattern piece. You’ll use these to trace and then cut your fabric pieces. Use a chalk marker or quilter’s marking pencil to mark the fabric on the wrong (back) side.
  3. If you’re making the quilt with purchased yardage, you’ll probably find it easier to use a rotary cutter and a clear plastic ruler marked with a grid to batch-cut pieces.
  4. Before you sew, mark the 1⁄4-inch seam allowance on each piece, being careful not to stretch the fabric as you work. Pin pieces right-sides-together, and sew along the seam allowance by either hand or machine.



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