Easiest Plus Quilt Pattern: Free Scrappy Quilt Pattern

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free plus quilt pattern

Sew the easiest plus quilt pattern and use up scraps at the same time. You will love how fast and easily this free queen sized quilt pattern comes together, especially with all the tips I will share for cutting and sewing the patchwork blocks. Whenever I make a quilt entirely of scraps from my stash (like this one), I feel like I made a quilt for free!

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free Easiest Plus Quilt Pattern is included in the blog post below and is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $2 is totally 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.

scrappy red and white cross quilt

Of all quilt block designs, I think the plus block (more traditionally known as the cross block) is the most enduring. It’s one of the oldest quilt block designs there is, and yet it is popular in modern quilts too. This particular quilt has 6” plus or cross pieces sewn together with background fabrics so there are two plus units in each 12” quilt block.

Check out all my free quilt patterns here!

scrappy red and white plus quilt

How to Choose Fabrics for your Plus Quilt

To keep my plus quilt exciting, I chose all kinds of low volume white and cream fabrics for my background squares. When choosing low volume fabrics, just make sure that no single fabric stands out more than any of the others – and use as many different fabrics as possible. Here are more tips for choosing low volume fabrics for a quilt.

If the patchwork effect of lots of low volume fabrics is not your taste, you can use regular yardage for the background instead. In that case, you’ll need 4 5/8 yards of background fabric.

The plus motifs in your quilt really need to stand out, so make sure to use a bright or dark fabric that contrasts with the background fabrics. Your cross pieces don’t have to be a single color, either. Use several colors from your stash or a jelly roll (you’ll need 23 jelly roll strips for the plus pieces in this quilt)!

blue and white plus quilt diagram

When I was designing this quilt in EQ8 quilt design software I first considered navy blue cross fabric. That would have made a stunning quilt! But then I found that I had already used up most of my navy blue scraps for my 5 Point Star Quilt. I’ll have to build up that scrap bin again!

But I do love how beautifully my red and white plus quilt turned out. I call it my ‘Red Cross Quilt.’

Patchwork Cutting Tips

Did you notice that there is only one shape of patch in this quilt? All of the patches are squares!

accuquilt go cutter

It was super easy for me to cut my red fabric scraps into 2 1/2” squares using my AccuQuilt Go cutter. If you don’t already have one, the AccuQuilt Go Starter Set includes the Value Die that has a 2 1/2” square shape on it.

Then I cut the 6 1/2” squares using the 6 1/2” square die that came in the 12” Qube Mix and Match Set. I admit, I’m addicted to AccuQuilt products. They make cutting fun!

stripology ruler

Another tool I like for cutting strips (and then squares from the strips) is my Stripology Ruler. This came very enthusiastically recommended by a woman who works at my local quilt shop, and she was right! I use it on a regular basis.

It’s also great for cutting sewn strip sets like the ones I showed in this video (I didn’t own a Stripology ruler yet, or I would have shown it).

Of course you don’t have to own any of these fancy cutting tools to cut squares. A regular rotary cutter, ruler, and mat work great for cutting squares!

More tips:

  • Make sure to press your fabrics before cutting, especially if they are scraps that have been stuffed in a basket or drawer (like mine always are!).
  • A fat quarter will yield 56 – 2 1/2” squares or 6 – 6 1/2” squares
  • A layer cake square will yield 16 – 2 1/2” squares
  • A charm square will yield 4 – 2 1/2” squares
  • A jelly roll strip will yield 16 – 2 1/2” squares
  • Of course, mini charm precuts are already 2 1/2” squares

How to Sew the Easiest Plus Quilt

Finished quilt size: 84” x 84” (queen size).

Finished block size 12” x 12”.

The border of this quilt is also patchwork, made up of low volume 6 1/2” squares. If you choose a single background fabric, you can save time and cut 6 1/2” border strips instead. Learn how to cut and sew quilt borders here.

The great things about this free quilt pattern are:

  • It’s the perfect scrap busting quilt (I think I already mentioned that)!
  • With only two different square sizes to cut, cutting is super simple.
  • This quilt is perfect for beginner quilters making their first quilt.
  • As written, this pattern will make a queen size quilt, but it would be very easy to sew more or less blocks to make a different quilt size (see standard quilt sizes)
  • Step by step quilt instructions with diagrams are included below.
red and white cross quilt diagram

You will need:

  • 2 yards total fabric for the pluses
  • 4 5/8 yards total fabric for the background
  • 5/8 yard binding fabric
  • at least 5 yards backing fabric, or enough to piece together a 88” x 88” square
  • a 88” x 88” piece of quilt batting
  • a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and mat
  • sewing machine
  • thread (I suggest thread matching the background fabrics)

Tips: for a scrappy quilt, choose lots of different fabrics!

Cutting:

For the pluses, cut:

  • 360 squares 2 1/2” x 2 1/2”.

From your background fabric, cut:

  • 288 squares 2 1/2” x 2 1/2”
  • 124 squares 6 1/2” x 6 1/2” (72 for the plus blocks and 52 for the border)

Binding fabric:

  • cut 8-9 strips 2 1/2” x width of fabric (40-42’’)

How to Sew an Easy Plus Quilt Block:

Use a scant 1/4’’ seam allowance and a medium stitch length such as 2-2.5.

patchwork layout diagram

1. Arrange 5 red squares and 4 cream squares next to your sewing machine as shown in the diagram above.

2. Sew the squares into 3 rows with 3 pieces in each row. Press the seams to the side or open, as desired.

3. Sew the rows together to make one ‘plus unit’. Press. Trim to 6 1/2” x 6 1/2”, if desired.

Repeat to make 72 plus units.

Sew Plus Units and background squares into Blocks

4. Lay out 4 pieces for each a plus quilt block as shown above. You’ll need:

  • 2 plus units
  • 2 background squares, 6 1/2” x 6 1/2”

5. Sew the pieces together in two rows. Press.

plus quilt block layout diagram

6. Sew the two rows together to make one block. Press.

Repeat to make 36 Plus Quilt Blocks.

Assemble the Quilt Top

plus quilt layout diagram

1. Layout your quilt blocks using a quilt design wall, on a bed, or on the floor.

There are 6 rows, each with 6 blocks.

2. Sew 6 blocks into a row. Sew 6 rows.

3. Sew the six rows together.

4. Make the scrappy border! Sew 12 background squares (6 1/2” x 6 1/2”) together in a row to make a side border. Repeat to make one more side border.

quilt border layout diagram

5. Attach the side borders to the right side and left side of the quilt.

6. Sew 14 background squares (6 1/2” x 6 1/2”) together in a row to make a top border. Repeat to make the bottom border.

Attach the top and bottom borders to the quilt.

Finishing your Plus Quilt

1. Cut or piece together an 88’’ x 88’’ piece of 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 with your walking foot would be fast and easy.

4. Cut 8 binding strips and bind using your favorite method (you may need 9 binding strips, depending on the width of your fabric). This is my favorite quilt binding method. Add one more binding strip if needed.

Happy quilting,

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2 Comments

  1. Sandra Jones says:

    Just wanted you to know you are very appreciated. I love the projects you so generously share with us all.

  2. I, too, want to say that I very much appreciate your wonderful sewing projects that you freely share with us! I can’t wait to check to see what you share each day!

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