It’s time for Block 3. This is a block as old as time itself. Can you guess why it’s called the Dutchman’s Puzzle? Maybe not yet, but you’ll understand when you are done… Good luck!
Block 3: Dutchmans Puzzle
Finished Size 12″ (Unfinished 12-1/2″)
Our third block is Dutchman’s Puzzle and we are going to make it using ‘Flying Geese’ units. Flying Geese are rectangular units with three triangles one large and two small. They are another commonly used patch in quilt making and just like the HST’s they can be made in more than one way. I’m going to show you how I make mine.
You can use any combination of fabric colours you like. I have chosen a very dark fabric for the large pinwheel shape in the centre to make it stand out but it’s really up to you what colours you use.
A. Twelve 3-3/4″ x 3-3/4″ squares (white)
B. Four 3-3/4″ x 3-3/4″ squares (Blue)
C. Four 6-3/4″ x 3-3/4″ rectangles (Dark)
D. Four 6-3/4″ x 3-3/4″ rectangles (Coral)
In this block the background fabric is A.
- All seams are 1/4″ and I use a stitch length of 1.8.
- As a rule, you would press your fabric seams towards the dark side (darker fabric). I finger press my seams before pressing with an iron. This allows you to change the seams’ direction if needed without stretching your fabrics.
- In bulky areas press your seams open as this will help reduce thickness.
We are now going to make flying geese units using one of the most popular methods, known as ‘Stitch and Flip’. Even using this method you can end up with an inaccurate block if your sewing isn’t perfect or because of fabric bias stretching. To combat this I’m going to make mine a little oversized by adding 1/4″ to all my block measurements, so a 3-1/2″ square block will be cut to 3-3/4″. When made this will be trimmed to the perfect size. It does waste a little fabric it’s true, but knowing that my finished block will be perfect makes this worthwhile.
‘Stitch and Flip’ – Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of two of your fabric A squares. Then place one of them right sides together (RST) on top of one of your fabric D rectangles lining up the left-hand top and side. Stitch on the line.
Next trim away the excess corner fabric leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then open the unit and press the seam to the light side.
Repeat for the right-hand corner. Place the other fabric A square RST on top of fabric D lining up the right-hand top and side. Stitch on the line. Trim away the excess corner fabric leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then open the unit and press the seam to the light side.
Now it’s time to trim your Flying Geese unit to the correct size 6-1/2″ x 3-1/2″. If you have never done this before here are a few tips. If you look at the picture you can see that I have used the 45° diagonal lines on my ruler to line up my block. If your ruler doesn’t have 45° diagonal lines, use the ruler’s markings to help you as best you can. Line up your ruler so that it sits 1/4″ away from your triangle point. When you are happy, trim.
Next, trim away all the excess fabric from the other three sides of your unit. Your trimmed unit should measure 6-1/2″ x 3-1/2″.
Now make three more.
Repeat this method with your remaining fabrics making sure you put fabric B squares on the right-hand side of all of your units. You should end up with four of these units.
Arrange your Flying Geese units into the Dutchman’s Puzzle Block as it will help you sew everything together correctly.
Take one of each of your different Flying Geese units and sew them together taking care not to lose the point as you sew. Make sure that your seams are pointing in the right direction – see image above. Finally, use your iron to set your seams into place. Make four of these.
Now join the top two units together, pressing your seams in the direction of the arrows repeat for the bottom two units pressing in the opposite direction. Finally sew your two rows together. Fix your seams by pressing in an anticlockwise direction.
If you have sewn your block together accurately it should measure 12-1/2″ square but if you need to trim it make sure you leave 1/4″ seam allowance on all your triangle points.
Huzzah!… you have finished your third block.