Free French Braid Quilting Directions

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Fabric marker
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Straightedge
  • Cutting mat
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread suitable for your fabric
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

The French braid quilt is a form of patchwork that uses small strips of fabric to approximate the look of braided hair. It is a technique instead of an actual block; indeed, it makes rectangular "braids" instead of blocks. These braids can be set together in various arrangements to create different effects.

Making the Braid

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Choose your fabric. Many people use only 100-percent cotton for quilts, but the French braid pattern is suitable for scraps of many fiber contents.

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Mark and cut your fabric, using scissors or a rotary cutter, into strips that are three times as wide as they are long (example: 6 inches wide by 2 inches long). All strips must be the same size.

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Pin the end of one strip to the side of another strip, aligning the corners, and sew them together with a narrow seam.

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Press the piece flat.

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Continue sewing strips of cloth together until your braid is as long as you want it to be.

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

With the straightedge and rotary cutter or scissors, trim the edges and ends of your braid so that it is rectangular.

Setting the Braids Together to Make Your Quilt Top

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Arrange the finished braids. Experiment until you are satisfied with the placement.

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Pin the sections together and then sew them.

Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media

Quilt, bind and finish your quilt as you normally would.


  • The braids can be arranged in many different designs. You can put them side by side or separate them with strips of other material. They can go in the same direction or alternate directions. They can be parallel or perpendicular.

    Seams need to be narrow, but wide enough to hold the fabric securely. A good width is 1/4 inch.


  • If you don't press the sections of the braid, your seams may pucker or wrinkle.


About the Author

Faith Cormier began writing professionally in 2003. She is a certified translator with 30 years of experience in the electrical utility industry. Cormier has a Bachelor of Arts in translation from Université de Moncton, a Bachelor of Education from St. Thomas University and a Master of Arts in French from the University of New Brunswick.

Photo Credits

  • Kathy Burns-Millyard/Demand Media