Free 3 yard Quilt Pattern: Stars and Ladders

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Sew a beautiful Ohio Star and Jacob’s Ladder Quilt Pattern with just 3 yards of fabric! I am so happy to see how much my readers love my 3 yard quilt patterns. They are easy to sew and so popular. If you have three 1-yard pieces of fabric in your stash and are feeling creative, you can make a quilt. This Stars and Ladders Pattern from SewCanShe is a 46” x 58” lap quilt or throw quilt pattern with 12” quilt blocks.

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 Stars and Ladders 3 Yard 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 quilt is this 3 yard quilt pattern?

This quilt finishes at 46” x 58”. Most 3-yard quilts are throw quilts or lap quilts because they don’t require a lot of fabric. This pattern would also make a darling baby quilt with 3 yards of fabric. Since this type of quilt isn’t very big, you can finish your quilt 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.

This Ohio Star and Jacob’s Ladder quilt pattern teaches shortcut methods for sewing 4-patch units, half square triangles, and quarter square triangles. It is great for beginners.

You’ll have enough fabric to finish the quilt top including 12 blocks and 2 borders More fabric is required for the binding and quilt back.

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.

Except for the strips, all of the dies I used for this quilt were in the GO! Qube Mix & Match 8″ Block set.

How to Choose the Right 3 Yards of Fabric

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.

In the example above, I wanted a blue and white quilt with lots of florals, so my focus fabric is a medium blue print with Asian-inspired flowers. It is from Tilda’s Bloomsville Collection.

After you have chosen your focus fabric, choose one coordinating fabric that is lighter and one coordinating fabric that is darker. Both of my coordinating fabrics are Moda Grunge Basics.

Wouldn’t this quilt pattern make a beautiful baby quilt too? I used my EQ8 Quilt Design Software to see what this quilt would look like using some fabrics from Kimberly Kight’s Lil Collection from Ruby Star Society.

If you follow these instructions for choosing your fabrics, you can’t go wrong, and you probably already have 3 fabrics in your stash that will make a beautiful quilt.

Stars and Ladders Free Three Yard Quilt Pattern

This free quilt pattern includes instructions for 2 different blocks: the Ohio Star Block and the Jacob’s Ladder Quilt Block. There are a total of 12 blocks in this quilt and each block finishes at 12”.

Including the borders, this finished throw quilt is 46” x 58”. It’s perfect for giving as a baby quilt, snuggling on the couch, or donating to Project Linus or another worthy organization.

Let’s get creative and sew a fast and easy quilt today!

Important note: This 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 make sure and follow the cutting charts below carefully.

*Note: You will probably need a few extra inches of fabric if you are using an AccuQuilt fabric cutter.

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 mat
  • sewing machine
  • thread (I suggest thread matching the lighter fabric)
  • ironing board and iron
  • pencil or fabric marking pen

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

  • 3 yards of backing fabric (or enough to piece together a 51” x 63” or larger quilt back)
  • a piece of quilt batting at least 51” x 63”
  • 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:

  • 6 squares 4 1/2” x 4 1/2”
  • 4 strips 2 1/2” x 42”
  • 5 strips 4” x 42”
Optional Accuquilt cutting instructions:
  • The 4 1/2” squares may be cut with die 55708 (in the 8” Qube set)
  • The 4” border strips and the 2 1/2” strips may be cut with a strip cutter die
Fabric layout for 1 yard of darker fabric.

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

  • 24 squares 5” x 5”
  • 12 squares 5 1/2” x 5 1/2”
  • 2 strips 2” x 14”
  • 4 strips 2” x 42”
Optional Accuquilt cutting instructions:
  • Instead of cutting 5” squares, cut 48 4” finished HST triangles using die 55710 (in the 8” Qube set)
  • Instead of cutting 5 1/2” squares, cut 48 4” finished QST triangles using die 55711 (in the 8” Qube set)
  • The inner border strips may be cut with the 2” strip cutter die 55025
Fabric layout for 1 yard of lighter fabric.

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

  • 12 squares 5 1/2” x 5 1/2”
  • 24 squares 5” x 5”
  • 4 strips 2 1/2” x 42”
Optional Accuquilt cutting instructions:
  • Instead of cutting 5 1/2” squares, cut 48 4” finished QST triangles using die 55711 (in the 8” Qube set)
  • Instead of cutting 5” squares, cut 48 4” finished HST triangles using die 55710 (in the 8” Qube set)
  • The strips may be cut with the 2 1/2” strip cutter die 55017

Quilt Piecing

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

ohio star quilt block instructions

How to Sew Ohio Star Quilt Blocks

Make 48 4 1/2” Half-Square Triangle Units (HST’s)

1. Use the pencil or fabric marking pen to draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of all of the 5” Fabric C squares. This is a cutting line.

Place the 5” Fabric C squares right sides together with the 5” Fabric B squares. Pin the squares together.

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

3. Cut each piece in half diagonally along the line. Open and press the seams toward the darker fabric to make 2 half square triangles (HST units). Trim each HST to 4 1/2” square. Repeat to make 48 HST units. 24 of these units will be used to make Ohio Star blocks. The other 24 will be used to make Jacob’s Ladder blocks.

If you are using AccuQuilt-cut fabric pieces, sew 48 fabric B 4” HST pieces together with 48 fabric C 4” HST pieces.

Make 24 4 1/2” Quarter-Square Triangle Units (QST’s)

1. Follow Steps 1-3 above to make 24 half-square triangle units using the 5 1/2” Fabric B and 5 1/2” Fabric C squares.

2. Place a half square triangle right sides together with another half square triangle. Take care to line up the diagonal seams and place them so that a light triangle is against a dark triangle. If you pressed your seams toward the darker fabrics the seams will nest.

Use the pencil or fabric marking pen to draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of hst unit on top. This cutting line should dissect the previous seam.

3. Sew 1/4’’ away from the cutting line on both sides of the line.

4. Cut each piece in half diagonally along the line. Open and press to make 2 quarter square triangles (QST units). Trim each QST to 4 1/2” square. Repeat to make 24 HST units.

If you are using AccuQuilt-cut fabric pieces, sew 48 fabric B 4” QST pieces together with 48 fabric C 4” QST pieces. Then sew these two-fabric triangles together to make 24 QST units.

Assemble the Ohio Star Quilt Blocks

1. Arrange one 4 1/2” fabric A square together with four 4 1/2” half square triangles and four 4 1/2” quarter square triangles.

Sew together in 3 rows. Sew the rows together to make the block.

4. Square the block to 12 1/2” x 12 1/2”, if desired. Repeat to make 6 Ohio Star blocks.

How to Sew Jacob’s Ladder Blocks

Use a Strip Piecing Technique to Make 4-Patch Units

1. Place a Fabric A 2 1/2” x 42” strip right sides together with Fabric C 2 1/2” x 42” strip and sew along the long edge.

Repeat to sew three more strips sets the same way.

Open and press the seams toward the darker fabric.

Tips:

  • Pressing your seams toward the darker fabrics enables you to nest the seams in step 3.
  • Sewing with a scant quarter inch seam allowance will ensure your blocks are the right size, plus you’ll have enough fabric to square them up at the end.

2. Sub-cut each strip set into pieces that are 2 1/2” wide. You should be able to cut 16 pieces from each 42” long strip.

Cut 60 two-color 2 1/2” pieces. There will be some fabric leftover.

3. Sew the pieces into 4-patch units:

Sew 2 A/C pieces together as shown (one flipped upside down) to make a 4-patch unit. Repeat to make 30 units.

Trim each 4-patch unit to 4 1/2” square.

Assemble the Jacob’s Ladder Blocks

1. Arrange five 4-patch units together with four half square triangle units (leftover from making the Ohio Star blocks) as shown.

Sew together in 3 rows. Sew the rows together to make the block.

Square the blocks to 12 1/2” x 12 1/2”, if desired. Make 6 Jacob’s Ladder blocks.

Assemble the Stars and Ladders 3 Yard Quilt Top

1. Arrange the 12 quilt blocks in an alternating pattern on a large table, a quilt design wall, or the floor. Pay close attention to the orientation of the Jacob’s Ladder blocks. There should be 4 rows, each row having 3 blocks.

2. Sew the blocks together to make 5 rows.

3. Sew the quilt block rows together.

Measure and Sew the Inner Border

1. The expected length of the side border pieces is 48 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.

Sew a 2” x 42” Fabric B strip to a 2” x 14” Fabric B strip. Repeat to make one more strip the same length. Measure your quilt top and cut these strips to the correct length for the side borders. Attach the side borders.

2. The expected length of the top and bottom border pieces is 39 1/2”.

Measure your quilt top and cut the two remaining 2” x 42” Fabric B strips to the correct length for the top and bottom border. Attach the top and bottom border pieces.

Measure and Sew the Outer Border

1. Piece together the five 4” wide strips of fabric A for your outer border.

Measure your quilt top with the inner border. The expected length of the outer side border pieces is 51 1/2”. Cut two strips the required length. Attach the side border pieces.

2. The expected length of the top and bottom border pieces is 46 1/2”. Measure your quilt and cut 2 strips for the top and bottom border. Attach the top and bottom outer border pieces.

Finishing the Stars and Ladders Three Yard Quilt Pattern

1. Cut or piece together a 51” x 63” 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. 🙂