How to Quilt: The 3D Block Effect

Let’s get started on how to quilt the 3d block effect.

What you will need:

One light, one medium and one dark fabric in a single colorway for each of the outer ring pieces

Three contrasting 60-degree tumbling bock pieces for the inner block section.

This is an excellent way to highlight a special print feature or geometric fabric. Maybe use some of special bits and pieces we all tend to save.

Cut 3, 2½” inch 60o tumbling block pieces

Cut 1, 2½” inch x 10½” inch strip from each of the Light, Medium and Dark outer ring fabrics

Using Template D, cut each 10½” inch strip into two 60o angled outer ring pieces measuring 2½” inches across the bottom by 5-1/8” inches across the top as shown here


Mark each individual outer ring and tumbling block piece as shown here.

This is an absolute must. It’s the only way to achieve perfectly flat, perfectly sewn dimensional blocks.

Layout and arrange one tumbling block piece and two of the outer ring pieces into three separate block sections. Pair one dark and one light outer ring with one tumbling block piece, one light and one medium outer ring with the second tumbling block and one medium and one dark outer ring piece together with the remaining tumbling block piece as shown here.

Sew the two outer ring pieces together at the center seam, taking care to start and stop the stitched seam at the exact “X” point (where the two marked lines cross) leaving a ¼” seam allowance at the top and bottom of the sewn piece. Press the seam to one side. Align, flip and sew the tumbling block piece to the sewn outer ring section as shown.

Press the seam towards the outer block. Repeat this step for the remaining two block sections.

Layout and arrange the three sewn block sections to your liking. Join and sew the remaining three seams, using the same align, flip and sew method as before. Your finished block will look exactly like the one pictured here.

For a quick refresher on how to align, flip and sew a 60-degree block, click on the “How to Mark, Sew and Assemble Tumbling Blocks” tutorial.

Caution, 3d blocks are addictive. The dimensional effects you can achieve are limitless.

Happy Quilting!


P.S. To make larger 3d blocks, convert the sizes given, into 2-7/8” strips for the tumbling block pieces and the outer ring strips to 2-7/8” x 12½” lengths. Change the template size to 2-7/8” x 5-7/8” inches.

3 thoughts on “How to Quilt: The 3D Block Effect”

  1. I have been wanting to make this, but was unsure how to go about sewing the “Y” seams.
    Now I know how, thanks to you.
    Loved the demo and will be looking at more you have to offer.
    Thank you and God Bless,
    Carolyn Langham
    Pensacola, Florida

    1. Hi Carolyn, I think you will find it very easy to make a dimensional block once you have made a practice one. It’s one of my favorite blocks. Happy Quilting!

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