FREE QUILT BLOCK TUTORIAL: Bear Paw
The bear paw block is an interesting block but not a “let’s just whip this up in no time!” kind of block. With the number of pieces and the number of Half Square Triangles (HST) you have to trim, I’d say it’s an intermediate level block and definitely one that requires a little patience. BUT the joy in in the journey right?
This tutorial includes a chart with measurements to make 6″ or 12″ blocks (6½” or 12½” unfinished / aka before you sew the block into a project) depending on your needs. Ready to get stared?
Seeing the Big Picture Before You Sew
Understanding how the block goes together will make all the cuts and stitching make more sense.
The Bear Paw Quilt Block is really a block made up of 4 paw print blocks (each rotated 90 degrees), a center square and sashing – or rectangles – separating the main paw prints.
You can see the main Paw Print section below and then how it will all come together.
The key to success with the Bear Paw is to choose fabrics with good contrast – either in color or shade (dark and light) so all the work you will put into creating it shows!
Preparing your Fabric Pieces
Sew using scant 1/4″ seam allowances and press towards the darker fabric when construction the Bear Paw quilt block.
Decide what size block you want to create and cut your fabric according to the Chart below.
Fabric shown is from my upcoming “Bee’s Life” fabric collection from Riley Blake Designs. (ships to stores in October 2020)
- FABRIC 1 / Bear Paw print: Bee’s Life Bees Black
- FABRIC 2 / Background: Bee’s Life Tonal Parchment
- CENTER CONTRAST FABRIC: Bee’s Life Honeycomb Honey
STEP 1: Create 4 half-square triangles (HST)
You will need SIXTEEN (yes! 16!) HSTs to create your Bear Paw block.
Place the FABRIC 1 and FABRIC 2 squares – the sizes you cut 8 of each print – right sides together.
Draw a line diagonally on one square.
Stitch 1/4″ to each side of the line.
Cut on the diagonal line you drew originally.
Press towards the darker color fabric.
Trim your HST to measure 1 3/8″ for the 6″ block, 2 1/4″ for the 12″ block.
STEP 2: Assemble Half Square Units
Next you will join two HST squares to create the claws. Pay close attention to the direction when assembling – the top claws are put together differently than the side claws. You will create 4 of each as shown below.
STEP 3: Assemble the Bear Paw Section
SEW left sections to right sections, then top row to the bottom to create the Bear Claw section.
Repeat to create 4 sections.
STEP 4: Assemble the Bear Paw Block
To assemble your Bear Paw Block – lay the pieces on your table as shown.
Sew each row together and press seams.
Sew the three rows together and VOILA! You have a Bear Paw Quilt Block!