Block 2019: Drunkard’s Path


Drunkard's Path quilt block

Welcome to Block 2019! We’re exploring classic quilt blocks all year, and the fifth block is Drunkard’s Path. Part of the challenge of Block 2019 is to try different techniques and construction methods to grow and hone our skills as quilters. This month’s block is Drunkard’s Path, a traditional, age-old block that features curved piecing. But have no fear! We have a photo tutorial ready to help you tackle those curved seams.

Fabric Requirements:

Gray (Includes quilt-as-you-go backing)  — 3/8 yard
Aqua — 1/8 yard
Dark Blue — 1/8 yard
Coral — 1/8 yard
Batting — 12″ x 12″ (For quilt-as-you-go method only)

Cutting Instructions:

Click here to download the templates for cutting. You can cut the templates from the squares listed below, or cut from the fabric directly paying attention that the straight edges follow the grain and the curve crosses the bias.

From the gray fabric, cut:
(1) 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ (For the quilt-as-you-go method only, do not cut otherwise.)
(8) 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
(8) 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″

From the aqua fabric, cut:
(4) 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

From the dark teal fabric, cut:
(4) 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

From the coral fabric, cut:
(8) 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″

Cutting Guide:


Quarter Circle Units

Use the paper template (or trace them onto clear plastic to use like we did) to trace the concave shape onto the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out the shape. Cut out the following:

  • 8 gray
  • 4 aqua
  • 4 dark teal

drunkard's path tutorial  drunkard's path tutorial

Repeat for the convex shape. Cut out the following:

  • 8 gray
  • 8 coral

drunkard's path tutorial  drunkard's path tutorial

Press the concave shapes in half, right sides together. Press the convex shapes in half, wrong sides together.

drunkard's path tutorial  drunkard's path tutorial

Place a convex piece on top of a concave piece, right sides together, matching the center creases. Pin the center in place. Create the following pairs:

  • 8 coral convex/gray concave
  • 4 gray convex/aqua concave
  • 4 gray convex/dark teal concave

drunkard's path tutorial

Gently bend the concave shape to match the corner of the convex shape and pin. Repeat on the other corner.

drunkard's path tutorial

Gently pull at the fabric so the edges of the convex and concave shapes match, pinning as needed.

drunkard's path tutorial

Sew with the convex side down, at a slow speed. It’s helpful to use a quarter inch foot and set the needle to end in the down position, if possible. Remove the pins as you sew.

drunkard's path tutorial

Check the seam allowance and the smoothness of the curve and make any desired corrections now. For this small a Quarter Circle unit, I found it helpful to clip the seam. Do what works best for you.

drunkard's path tutorial

Finger press first to ensure no fabric is left folded into the seam, and then set quickly with an iron. I decided to press towards the convex shape based on how I would like to quilt the block. Press yours as best suits your plan.

drunkard's path tutorial  drunkard's path tutorial

The Quarter Circle unit measures 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ unfinished. Repeat with the remaining concave/convex pairs.

Applique Alternative:

If you would rather applique the convex shapes, either turn under the curved seam allowance using the freezer paper method or trim off the seam allowance and fuse applique. Topstitch the convex shape to the 3 1/2″ squares and sew following the block assembly instructions below.

Block Assembly

Orient the Quarter Circle units as shown below. Sew in rows and press in opposite directions. Sew the rows together to complete the block. Block measures 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ unfinished.

Drunkard's Path quilt block
To prepare the block for quilt-as-you-go, sandwich the 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ backing square, 12″ x 12″ batting centered on the backing square, and your block. Baste using preferred method. Quilt as desired inside the 12″ finished size of the block.

Check back later in the month, when we’ll share ideas for quilting the block.

And you’re all set!

Check back next week for some fun variations on the Drunkard’s Path block. You can always find links to all the Block 2019 posts and see when the next installment is coming out in the main Block 2019 article, just click here.

As you finish your blocks, share them in the AQS Project Parade Facebook group, or use the hashtag #Block2019 and tag us @aqsonline because we can’t wait to see what you do!

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