Square Dancing Whale Block Tutorial–52 Blocks Quilt Along

52 Blocks

Before we get started – Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful fun and safe celebration last night.  But now that’s is 2014 I’m ‘done’ (well sort of) with my reorganization project in my studio and I’m ready to start sewing again!

I hope you enjoy this little ‘twist’ I put onto the Tradition block ‘Square Dance’.

Square Dancing Whale Block Tutorial for the 52 Twisted Traditional Block Quilt Along

Finished Block Size – 12” x 12”

This tutorial is just for the Dancing Square Dancing Whale Block. I decided to make my block into a pillow which you can see in the picture on the cover but you could do whatever you wish with this block.

Cutting Instructions

Fabric 1: Whale (Purple):

1 – 8.5” x 8.5”

1 – 2.5” square (draw diagonal)

Fabric 2: Corners (Glittery White)

4 – 2.5” x 2.5”

Fabric 3: Sides and Water Spout (light blue print)

4 – 2.5” x 4.5”
2 – 2.5” x 2.5”
1 - 2.5" x 6.5"

Fabric 4: Top (darker blue)

2 – 2.5” x 4.5”

Fabric 5: Triangles (turquoise)

4 – 2.5” x 2.5”


On the 2.5” squares of fabrics 1, 3 and 5 draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other.

Place the square of fabric 5 onto the rectangle of fabric 3.

Sew from the center to the corner along the line.

Trim the corner and iron towards the corner fabric. Repeat this step for the other six rectangles.

You will be sewing two 2.5” x 4.5” blocks in this orientation.

Two blocks 2.5” x 4.5” in this orientation.

One 2.5” x 4.5” block in this orientation.

One 2.5” x 4.5” block in this orientation.

Next, take the 2.5” x 8.5” strip of Fabric 3 and sew on a corner of fabric 1 using the same method as you did on the smaller rectangles.

Lay your pieces out like I’ve shown in the above picture.

Sew the pieces all together to make the 12.5” block.  I gave you a few tips on how to sew them together below.

Start by sewing your 2.5” x 4.5” rectangles together. You can iron to either side. You’ll be left with 2.5” x 8.5” rectangles.

Sew the white corners onto the bottom and lower rectangle – iron toward the white.

Sew the left and right strips to the purple square. Iron towards the purple.

Now, sew all three strips together. I would iron towards the purple…least amount of seams.

Can you see the whale?

Let’s add a few details to make it a bit more obvious. I drew an oval and a circle onto Steam a Seam Fusible. I ironed the oval onto a piece of scrap white fabric and the circle onto a piece of scrap black fabric. Then, I ironed it onto my ‘whale’ to make a cute eye!

For the mouth I drew a line and then stitched along it with some black thread. I think it would be better to embroider it and make it more obvious.

And with that…your ‘Square Dancing Whale’ is complete! Thanks for following along and I hope you enjoyed this block tutorial!

Get a FREE printable PDF by heading to my Craftsy page and getting the FREE Square Dancing Square Block Tutorial.  Don't wait too long though!  Starting in February there will be a small fee for the Printable PDF pattern...you'll still be able to view it on my blog for free though.

Now that you’ve made your first ‘Twisted Traditional’ Block – you get to decide what you want to do with it.  You could either use this for a block in a sampler, put three together and make a cute wall hanging for a babies room, OR make a pillow!  I decide to make a pillow.

First...I added a little dark purple 'lip.  I cut the fabric to 1" x 12.5" and then ironed it in half.  I stitched it to the fabric so that it would 'lip' into the whale.

Next, I wanted to add a little more of a border so I cut two strips of seashell printed blue to 12.5" x 2.5" and one strip to 16.5" x 2.5" and sewed it to the two sides and the top.  I took a brown, sandy like printed fabric and cut a 16.5" x 2.5" strip and sewed it to the bottom.

Once I had my border it was time to do some quilting on my block.  I layered a piece of muslin and a piece of batting and started to quilt.  The upper triangle was meant to be a 'spout' of water so I wanted to quilt it like spray was coming out of the whale hole.  The rest of the pillow I just quilted with wavey swirls and wavy lines.  I did a loopy like design in the whale to help define this cute little guy.  

Last touch before adding the back to make it into a pillow...I tacked the 'lip' down in a few places to create a three-dimensional 'wave' effect.  I'm super happy with him.

I can't wait to see what all your blocks look like!  Be sure to share you blocks and any projects you make using your blocks onto our flickr group: 52 Blocks Quilt Along

Instagram/Twitter Hashtag: #52bTT


  1. Awww, this is fun. I love it. My son's name is Jonah and I like Whale things. Will have to sew. Maybe I can sneak off to the studio today without anyone missing me. :) Happy New Year.

  2. I loved it when I read the name. A very cute block.

  3. I love this block! You are so creative Kim!


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