Soldier Boy Quilt Block Tutorial

As promised, here is my version of a traditional quilt block. Print out both pages. You may use this pattern for your own use free of charge–just tell ’em where you got it.

Soldier Boy

Soldier Boy Paper Pieced Units

Soldier Boy Block

Soldier Boy Blocks

Since my husband served in the Air Force, I’ll make my Soldier Boy using blue fabric. I have previously made this block in light tan for a Quilt of Valor. These quilts are distributed to wounded soldiers. Check with your local quilt guild or go to the link for more information.


After printing the paper pieced units, trace them onto quilting paper or tracing paper. Either of these will rip easily away when you are finished sewing. Sew several stitches beyond the outside line or the stitching lines will not be caught when you sew the units together. I also used a colored pencil to denote where my blue fabrics were placed. I had the fabrics reversed in my first draft so my first unit was all wrong.  Do over. After you are finished tracing, cut out the other fabrics as directed on page 1 (Soldier Boy).

Marking some pieces

Marking some pieces

Oops--wrong colors--fix pattern

Oops–wrong colors–fix pattern

After tracing, cut out leaving 1/4-inch seam allowance around. Then pre-fold each line of the paper.

Prefold on lines

Prefold on lines

Start with a background piece of fabric (1b). The paper will be face down and the fabric will be right side down. Fold the paper back and cut the fabric including 1/4-inch seam allowance as shown. (The photo is actually after adding fabric 2). The process is always the same–fold the paper back, add a seam allowance, add the next fabric (right sides together), sew. Set your stitch length to about 1.5 instead of the default (2.2).

Trim beyond fold line

Trim beyond fold line

Fingre press seam

Finger press seam

Here #2 is sewn to #1; finger press the seam. Continue until all pieces have been sewn. Trim the outside edges, being sure to add the seam allowance, unlike I did here on the end. I had to go back and resew the last two pieces.

Oops--cut off seam allowance

Oops–don’t cut off the seam allowance

When you paper piece the hat, start with the background fabric. Usually, you leave all the papers attached until you sew your units together; in this case, go ahead and remove the papers. Fold the paper back at the seam line, and tear away.

Tearing paper away

Tearing paper away

Position all of your pieces as shown below.

Lining up the rows

Lining up the rows

Sew each vertical row. Press toward the dark fabric EXCEPT, press away from the hat toward the face–your seam will lie flatter. Then sew the rows together.

Rows sewn together

Rows sewn together

Press your final seams as shown.

Pressing direction

Pressing direction

Here is my finished fly-boy. His name is Dave. Isn’t he 35-10?

Finished block

Finished block

If you wish to add a face, here are a couple of ideas.

Doll faces

Doll faces

You could also embroider the face. If you’re not sure about adding a face, iron a piece of freezer paper to the back of your face fabric (stabilizes the fabric for drawing) and draw before piecing your soldier.  I TOLD you to read all the directions first. I hope you enjoy making this block. Till next time, be kind and do something creative. Better yet–make a Quilt of Valor. Here is one I made–all my other photos are non-digital. I quilted this with a loop-d-loop with stars design in variegated red/white/blue thread. The center medallion was an original block; the star blocks were a block of the month (Star-Thangled Banner, 2008) by Jan Williams, Calico Cut-Ups Quilt Guild.

And if you like mystery quilts, go to the following link. The quilt is in red/white/blue and started in January 2016.



Hi—I’m Candy P. I live in beautiful Northwest Arkansas and write this blog about quilting. I love the entire process of quilting from design to piecing and appliqué, to free-motion quilting on my Janome. I have been sewing since I was five and started quilting in 1991 with a group in NE Minnesota. We used cardboard templates and scissors and did everything by hand. I have since made traditional quilts, donation quilts and Quilts of Valor; I’ve done paper piecing and foundation quilting but now really enjoy improvisational piecing using scraps from my stash or my hand dyed fabrics as well as making art quilts. I am also currently trying to finish any and all unfinished projects. I am so far behind I can never die. I have always been a maker, a sewist and needleworker, running the gamut from hand embroidery to macramé, knitting, crocheting, crafts, book binding and mixed media projects. I have taught a lot of classes including fabric painting, origami, and calligraphy, Dancercise (who remembers that) and my own exercise classes. When I’m not in the garage dyeing fabric or in my studio, I’m at Zumba or walking on local trails and photographing art or whatever catches my eye. I currently belong to Crystal Bridges, AQS, The Quilt Show, NWA Modern Quilt Guild and the Van Go-Go Girls (a local art quilt group). I occasionally make it to the piano and the golf course and enjoy cooking with my husband and generally wreaking some kind of havoc with my daughter. You can read my previous blog at and here (previously but you cannot read my blog as northwind at The Quilt Show, apparently lost forever. I write about my current projects, mistakes and all, and often tell you what products I use (with no compensation). I am open to suggestions about blog posts and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about my projects or posts. Comment or email me.

Posted on June 5, 2016, in tutorial and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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