Fabric Origami Quilt Block




I saw this on a Simply Quilts episode featuring author Rebecca Wat, who's written a book about adapting origami techniques for fabric and then using them in quilt making. Here is the fold/block she showed us. I think she called it an "inside out flower".

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Step 1: Start With a Square

Here is a 6" square. Be precise in your measuring whatever size you choose. Just make sure it is square.

Step 2: Fold 1 and 2

Wrong side up, fold your square in half (I think it's called a valley fold), turn and fold again. Finger press the edges as you go and then open it back up. You'll see the fold intersection making a "t" through the center of your square.

Step 3: Folds 3

Opened back into a square, spin the fabric so that it's facing you as a diamond. Fold the points/corners into the center one at a time so that they just touch the center intersection. Finger crease the edges.

Step 4: Turn It Over

Turn your square over keeping the triangle folds folded and underneath. With right side up turn it so it's sitting in front of you as a square rather than a diamond again.

Step 5: Fold Again

Now fold edges in a valley fold up to the center point. Crease as you go all around the square.

Step 6: Making the Ears

Now here's the tricky part, or at least it's trick to try to explain. You take on corner and fold it up like a little ear. The way I think of it is to take two perpendicular sides and valley fold them toward the center. This make the ear naturally.

Step 7: Tacky

Tack that ear in place with matching thread.

Step 8: Four Tacked Ears

Go around the whole thing creating four ears and tacking each as you go along. Sort of like a crab rangood or a fortune cookie thing. See?

Step 9: Inside Out

Now turn the ears inside out and voila!

Step 10: A Finished Block

Here is a picture of a block I threw together with these little practice flowers. It is flawed in that I used a cheap weight fabric and wasn't careful to sew on the bias, but you get the idea.

PLEASE NOTE: Not pictured-to sew the flower blocks you must first press them IN toward the center of themselves so that when you stitch or quilt you don't sew over the tips. You'll see what I mean, I think when you put it together.

Happy folding!

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    14 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Muchas gracias. Me ha gustado mucho su tutorial, que es claro y conciso. Atentamente.Xu.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice Instructable! Thanks for sharing! Have a splendorous day!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the help with the ears -- I've been trying to make this happen the right way for two days now. Origami challenged.

    Hello, I am a business owner who is looking for a way to make hair "flowers" with fabric.  I used another pattern but it didn't come out so well.  Anyone have a recommendation on what to use?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    hi guys im a student who study shoe designer in LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION Is a big time for my now to make my final project by making a range of shoe. i find origami very interesting so in one way i feel a big passion for that artwork. Im thinking to concentrate on the back of the shoe to decorated with origami by using fabric. does anyone know witch fabric will be very easy to fold and not be so thick because the origami work need to be quite small?

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! I'm a handbag designer in Florence. I have a couple suggestions for your materials:

    Organza, silk is easier to handle
    China Silk (it's a very thin silk used for linings)
    Silk Scarves
    Cotton Lawn

    Except for the organza, none of these fabrics have a lot of body, so they might not make the best folds, unless you treat them with starch first. Look for the liquid starch in a bottle at the supermarket (not the spray stuff), soak your pieces in a 50-50 starch-water mixture and let them dry on a flat surface. I stick mine to my mirror, or a tiled wall. When they are dry, they'll make really nice, stable folds, stable that is until exposed to moisture!

    Good luck on your final collection. Post some pictures!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I'm lost at step no. 5. I don't understand the refolding directions. Any help?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I am trying to find someone who knows how to do origami quilting in Atlanta.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I love this. I found using spray starch before you start folding, really helps with making precise folds. Thank you ;-)


    12 years ago

    wow how neat! i'll have to try it out!


    12 years ago

    FYI- karlalopez used the your instructable to make a hair clip. The fabric origami is definitely neat enough to stand on its own!


    12 years ago

    OK, those are just cool. They'd pop out much better on a plainer background, and are certainly neat enough to deserve their own showcase.

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago

    I agree. When I do a "real project" I'll be sure to take that into consideration. I can't wait to get Rebecca Wat's book and see what other flower, etc she has.