Free Quilt Block Tutorial: How to Sew a Bear Paw Quilt Block

Disclaimer: Some of the links this post may be affiliate and Amazon Associate links where I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

sewing steps to make a Bear Paw Quilt Block

Step-by-Step Instructions to Sew a Bear Paw Quilt Block

One of my most popular Quilt Block tutorials has been the Bear Paw Quilt Block so I decided it was time to create a video tutorial for this “less complicated than it looks” quilt blocks.

Watch the video, read the directions in this post or download the free Bear Paw Quilt Block pdf with all the diagrams and directions.

Bear Paw Quilt Block

There are lots of time-saving and block piecing tips in the video including:

  • How to sew HSTs (half square triangles) 8 at a time
  • How to use diagonal seam tape
  • What to do if the blocks aren’t lining up
  • How to fix seams that won’t lay flat
  • How to nest seams

🧵 My Spring Barn Quilts fabric designed for Riley Blake Designs is used in this quilt block tutorial.

Bear Paw Quilt Block Supplies

Here’s a list of the fabric cut requirements and Amazon links to the different tools I used in the video.

Bear Paw Quilt Block cutting instructions - 8 at a time HSTs


00:32 Parts of a Bear Paw Quilt Block
01:33 Fabrics needed
02:17 Link to free Bear Paw Quilt Block directions
03:11 How to make HSTs 8 at a time
04:38 How to use 1/4″ diagonal seam tape
05:58 Sew HSTs
07:08 How to cut to make 8 HSTs
08:28 How to use a Quilter’s Clapper

09:17 Press Open HSTs
10:32 How to Trim HSTs
14:20 Layout a bear paw corner and sew
16:03 Sew pieces together
17:29 What to do if the blocks aren’t lining up
18:55 How to fix seams that won’t lay flat
19:55 How to nest seams
20:44 Assemble the Bear Paw Block

Bear Paw Quilt Block Tutorial

Read all instructions before beginning.
Use scant ¼” seam allowance.
Finished Size: the size of a block after all of it’s edges have been sewn into a quilt with a scant ¼” seam allowance.
Unfinished Size: the edge-to-edge measurement of that same block BEFORE any of its edges are sewn into the quilt top.
RST = Right Sides Together
HST = Half Square Triangles
All measurements are W x H
Press seams towards darker fabric or towards larger block (A, B, C).

Make the Half Square Triangles (HST)

  • Using the 8-at-a-time HST method, take (1) E square and (1) F square.
  • Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the wrong side of the F square.
  • Place (1) E square and (1) F square together, RST. Sew ¼” on each side of the drawn line.
E and F pieces to make HSTs
draw 2 diagonal lines on F piece
sew on each side of the diagonal lines
  • Cut the square in half, and in half again, parallel to the edges of the fabric as shown.
  • Cut on the drawn line to create (8) HSTs. Press toward the darker fabric.
how to cut fabric into 4 pieces
cut fabric into 4 pieces
cut fabric into 8 pieces

Trim the HSTs

  • For 6” fininshed blocks: trim each HST to 1 3/8” x 1 3/8”.
    For 12” fininshed blocks: trim each HST to 2¼” x 2¼”.
    Repeat with remaining F and E pieces to make (16) total HST.
trim HST with Bloc Loc square ruler
make 16 HSTs

Cut Center Square D

There are (2) ways to cut the center block for the Bear Paw:

  • Randomly cut from fabric.
  • “Fussy Cut” to intentionally cut the fabric that features a specific detail or image. I fussy cut my square to feature (1) chicken centered in the Bear Paw block.
randomly cut fabric square
fussy cut fabric square

Block Assembly

Each Bear Paw Quilt Block is made of 4 paws with background strips in between them and an accent fabric in the center.

Assemble a Bear Paw Unit

  • Each paw is made with (4) E/F HST units, (1) A piece and (1) B piece. Note orientation at each step.
  • Sew (1) A piece to (2) E/F HST units as shown.
  • Sew (2) E/F HST units together and then sew to the top of (1) B piece as shown.
  • Sew the A piece/Side Claw Unit to the left of the Top Claw Unit/B piece to create (1) Bear Paw unit.
  • Repeat to make (4) total paw units.
Bear Paw corner piece assembly diagram 1
Bear Paw corner piece assembly diagram 2
Bear Paw corner piece

Assemble the Block Rows and Final Block

  • Sew pieces together into (3) rows as shown. Press seams towards C pieces so seams will nest and reduce bulk.
  • Pin rows 1 and 2 together, matching seams. Press seams towards row 2.
  • Pin row 1/2 unit to row 3, matching seams. Press seams towards row 2.
  • Trim to square if needed so your block measures 6½” x 6½” or 12½” x 12½”.


Be sure to save it to Pinterest and follow me for more ideas and resources for sewing, crafting and creative living.

If you make this or other projects and post on Instagram, be sure to tag me (@artisttarareed). Follow my YouTube channel for new sewing projects and tips every week.

🧵 Tara Reed

P.S. Is there a sewing tutorial you’d love to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my idea list!


More Quilt Block Tutorials >

More Projects using my Spring Barn Quilts fabric >


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.