Bear’s Paw: 3 Yard Quilt Pattern

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Sew a classic Bear’s Paw Quilt Pattern with just 3 yards of fabric! This free quilt pattern with half-square triangles and squares on point is perfect for the fall and winter seasons. 3 Yard Quilts are so easy to make because most quilters have 3 yards of fabric in their stash just waiting for the right pattern. Let me show you how to make Bear’s Paw Quilt Blocks and Art Square Blocks and sew them into a cozy fall quilt.

Don’t miss these other 3 Yard Quilt Patterns too:

Or see all my 3 Yard Quilt Patterns!

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free Bear’s Paw Quilt Pattern is included in the blog post below and is free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $3 is optional. Did you know you can get ALL the Optimized for Printing PDF files organized in a library for you to access anytime you want? Check it out.

What Size is a 3-yard Quilt?

This particular quilt finishes at 52” x 52”, which is a smallish throw-size quilt. You’ll have enough fabric to finish the quilt top, including 9 large blocks and 2 borders. More fabric is required for the binding and quilt back.

Most 3-yard quilts are throw quilts or lap quilts because they don’t require a lot of fabric. Many of them (like this one) would also make a darling holiday wall hanging. Since this type of quilt isn’t very big, you can finish it quickly and give it as a gift or use it in your home. Because of the size, throw quilts like this one are easy to quilt on a domestic sewing machine.

The Bear’s Paw quilt block dates back to the 1850’s and is rumored to be a part of the Underground Railroad. It may have symbolized a trail that led to food and water. Whether or not that is true, I believe that quilt makers have quietly influenced our history and our homes more than we will ever know.

If you love to use your AccuQuilt fabric cutter like I do, I’ll share the optional cutting die numbers to make this pattern Accuquilt-friendly. Using an Accuquilt is optional, but I love it! See all my Accuquilt-friendly quilts. Look under the cutting dimensions below for a list of fabric-cutting dies you may use instead.

Many of the pieces in the Bear Paw Quilt Block may be cut with the value die that comes with the basic AccuQuilt GO! Cutter. More dies for the blocks in this quilt are found in the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8″ Block and GO! Qube Mix & Match 12″ Block.

How to Choose the Right 3 Yards of Fabric for a 3 Yard Quilt

All my 3 Yard Quilt Patterns make it really easy to pick your fabric. First, find a beautiful ‘focus fabric’ in your stash or at your local quilt shop. This should be a fabric that really sings to you – or that makes you think of the intended recipient of the quilt.

My focus fabric is a darling new print from Tilda’s Hibernation Collection. I never thought I would love a brown fabric so much. But I do!

After you have chosen your focus fabric, choose one coordinating fabric that is lighter and one coordinating fabric that is darker. The lighter fabric may be considered a background fabric. It’s important that it has good contrast with the other two fabrics.

If you follow these instructions for choosing your fabrics, you can’t go wrong, and you probably already have the right yardage in your stash to make a beautiful quilt.

Wouldn’t this quilt pattern make a beautiful quilt in French General’s new Chateau de Chantilly fabric?

Bear’s Paw Free Three Yard Quilt Pattern

This free quilt pattern includes instructions for 2 blocks. The first is an easy 14” (finished) Bear Paw Block. Next I’ll show you how to make an Art Square Block, which we’ll add a border and cornerstones to, so it will be the same size as our Bear’s Paw Block. There are 9 blocks in this quilt, and each block finishes at 14”.

Including the borders, this finished throw quilt is 52” x 52”. It’s perfect for snuggling on the couch, hanging on your wall, gifting to a friend, or donating Project Linus or another worthy organization.

Let’s get creative and sew a beautiful quilt today!

Important note: This free pattern squeezes as much as possible out of each yard of fabric. The width of each piece must have 42” of usable fabric. Most fabric printed in the last 5-10 years will work great because it’s 44” wide, including the selvages so it is 42-43” wide after you cut off the selvage. Please measure the width of your fabric pieces before getting started to ensure your fabric is at least 42” wide, and follow the cutting charts below carefully.

You will need:

  • 3 one-yard cuts of fabric (a main focus fabric, one darker fabric, and one lighter fabric)*
  • a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and cutting mat
  • sewing machine
  • thread (I suggest thread matching the lighter fabric)
  • ironing board and iron

*Some extra fabric may be required if you are using an AccuQuilt Go! fabric cutter.

To sew the quilt top into a finished quilt, you will also need:

  • 3 1/4 yards of backing fabric (or enough to piece together a 57” x 57” or larger quilt back)
  • a piece of quilt batting at least 57” x 57”
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the binding

Cutting:

Fabric layout for 1 yard of focus fabric.

Fabric A is your focus fabric. From this fabric, cut:

  • 4 squares 7 5/8” x 7 5/8”
  • 20 squares 4 1/2” x 4 1/2”
  • 5 strips 3 1/2” x 42” for the outer border
Optional Accuquilt cutting instructions:
  • The 4 1/2 inch squares may be cut with die 55708 (in the 8” Qube set), or the value die
  • The border strips may be cut with the 3 1/2” strip cutter die 55032
Fabric layout for 1 yard of darker fabric.

Fabric B is the darker fabric. From this fabric, cut:

  • 16 squares 3” x 3”
  • 40 squares 2 7/8” x 2 7/8”
  • 21 squares 2 1/2” x 2 1/2”
  • 4 strips 2 1/2” x 42” for the inner border
  • 1 strip 2 1/2” x 25” for the inner border
Optional Accuquilt cutting instructions:
  • The 3” squares may be cut with die 55804 (in the 10” Qube set),
  • Instead of cutting 40 – 2 7/8” squares, cut 80 – 2” finished HST triangles with die 55712 (in the 8” Qube set) or the value die
  • The 2 1/2 inch squares may be cut with die 55709 (in the 8” Qube set), or the value die
  • The border strips may be cut with the 2 1/2” strip cutter die 55017
Fabric layout for 1 yard of lighter fabric.

Fabric C is the lighter fabric. From this fabric, cut:

  • 40 squares 2 7/8” x 2 7/8”
  • 20 strips 2 1/2” x 6 1/2”
  • 20 squares 2 1/2” x 2 1/2”
  • 16 strips 2 1/2” x 10 1/2”
  • 16 squares 3 3/8” x 3 3/8”
Optional Accuquilt cutting instructions:
  • Instead of cutting 40 – 2 7/8” squares, cut 80 – 2” finished HST triangles with die 55712 (in the 8” Qube set) or the value die
  • The 2 1/2” squares may be cut with die 55709 (in the 8” Qube set), or the value die
  • Instead of cutting 16 – 3 3/8” squares, cut 36 – 2 1/2” finished HST triangles with die 55807 (in the 10” Qube set)

Quilt Piecing

Use a 1/4’’ seam allowance and a regular stitch length such as 2 – 2.5.

Tip: It is helpful to use a scant 1/4” seam allowance when sewing half square triangle units. That way, you will have a little extra to trim away and make your pieces perfectly sized.

How to Sew the Bear’s Paw Quilt Block

Make 80 Fabric B/C Half Square Triangles (HST’s)

1. Use a pencil or fabric marking pen to draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of the 2 7/8” Fabric C squares. This is a cutting line.

Place the 2 7/8” Fabric C squares right sides together with the 2 7/8” Fabric B squares. Pin the squares together.

2. Sew a scant 1/4’’ away from the cutting line on on both sides of the line.

3. Cut each piece in half diagonally along the line. Open and press to make 2 half square triangles (HST units). Trim each HST to 2 1/2” square. Repeat to make 80 Fabric B/C HSTs.

Make 20 ‘Bear Paw’ Pieces

1. Sew two HST units together exactly as shown above – let’s call it going ‘downhill.’

2. Sew two HST units + one 2 1/2” square together exactly as shown above – let’s call it going ‘uphill.’

3. Sew the two HST units that are going ‘downhill’ to one side of a Fabric A 4 1/2” square.

4. Sew the two HST units and Fabric C square that are going ‘uphill’ to the left side of the piece, as shown.

Repeat to make 20 ‘Bear Paw’ Pieces.

Make 5 Bear’s Paw Quilt Blocks

1. Sew two 2 1/2” x 6 1/2” Fabric C strips together with a 2 1/2” Fabric B square in between as shown.

Repeat to make five pieced strips.

2. Sew the two ‘Paws’ together with a 2 1/2” x 6” Fabric C strip in between, as shown.

Repeat to make 10 half-block pieces.

3. Sew two half-block pieces together with a pieced strip in between as shown to make to make a Bear’s Paw block.

Repeat to make 5 blocks.

How to Sew the Art Square Quilt Block with a 2” Border

The remaining blocks in our quilt will be 10” Art Square quilt blocks, to which we’ll add a 2” border with cornerstones so they will also be 14” finished quilt blocks.

1. Cut the sixteen 3 3/8” Fabric C squares in half diagonally to make 32 triangles.

2. Sew a Fabric C triangle to one side of a Fabric B 3” square as shown. Repeat to make 16 pieces.

3. Sew one more Fabric C triangle to each piece as shown. Make 16 pieced triangles.

4. Mark a horizontal center line across each Fabric A 7 5/8” square. This is really easy to do by folding each square in half and pressing the fold lightly with your iron.

5. Sew a pieced triangle to one side of the square, using the center line you marked to help you center the pieced triangle on the square.

6. Then sew another pieced triangle to the other side of the square. Press the points of the triangle outward. Use a ruler and rotary cutter to help you trim away the ‘dog ear’ triangles along the top and bottom edges.

7. Sew two more pieced triangles to the top and bottom edges of the square. If you like, you can mark the center of the square in the opposite direction to help you sew these pieced triangles on correctly, too.

Press the block and trim away the dog ears and any extra fabric to make the block 10 1/2” square. Make four Art Square Blocks.

Add A Two Inch Border with Cornerstones to the Art Square Blocks

1. Sew a Fabric C 2 1/2” x 10 1/2” strip to either side of an Art Square Block. Repeat to make 4 pieces.

2. Sew two Fabric B 2 1/2” squares to the ends of a Fabric C 2 1/2” x 10 1/2” strip. Repeat to make 8 pieced strips.

3. Sew pieced strips to the top and bottom of each Art Square Block.

Make 4 Art Square quilt blocks with a 2” border and cornerstones, as shown.

Assemble the Bear’s Paw 3 Yard Quilt Top

1. Arrange the 9 quilt blocks on a quilt design wall, table, or bed as shown. There are 3 rows, 3 blocks in each row.

2. Sew the blocks into 3 rows.

3. Sew the rows together.

Measure and Sew the Inner Border

1. The expected length of the inner side border pieces is 42 1/2”. I highly recommend measuring the quilt top and cutting all border pieces to the correct size. See how to cut the correct size quilt borders.

Measure your Fabric B border strips to see if they are long enough to be used for your inner side borders. If your border strips are not long enough, make each strip a little longer using fabric from the 2 1/2” x 25” Fabric B strip. Cut two strips for the side borders. Attach the inner side border pieces.

2. The expected length of the top and bottom border pieces is 46 1/2”. Sew two Fabric B inner border strips together with the remaining 2 1/2” x 25” (it may be shorter now) Fabric B strip.

Measure your quilt and cut two strips the correct length from the long pieced strip. Attach the top and bottom inner border pieces.

Measure and Sew the Outer Border

1. Sew all 5 of the 3 1/2” Fabric A strips together to make one long strip. You will cut pieces from this to make the outer border pieces.

The expected length of the side border pieces is 46 1/2”. Measure the quilt top with the inner border and cut two strips for the side edges. Attach the side borders.

2. The expected length of the top and bottom second border pieces is 52 1/2”. Measure your quilt top with the inner border and cut two strips for the top and bottom edges. It is unlikely, but if you need extra fabric for the outer border, you should have enough from your Fabric A scraps.

Finishing the Bear’s Paw Three Yard Quilt Pattern

1. Cut or piece together a 57” x 57” or larger piece of quilt backing fabric and make a quilt sandwich with the backing, batting, and top.

2. Baste together with fusible batting, pins or basting spray.

3. Quilt as desired. Straight line quilting or cross hatch quilting with your walking foot would be fast and easy.

4. Cut 5 binding strips and bind using your favorite method. This is my favorite quilt binding method.

As always, I love seeing the quilts you make with my free sewing patterns. Please post a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe so I can take a look!

xoxo,

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂