Window Pane Quilt Directions

By Daniel Scott
The framing and muntins in a window are inspiration for the window pane quilt.

There are a number of window pane quilt pattern variations available. Quilt names and variations may depend on the part of the country they originated in. The patterns vary from very easy and simple to fairly complicated. You may wish to draw the patterns up and then choose the one you would like to make. You may prefer to make them all. All of the window pane quilt variations can be cut out with either scissors or with a rotary cutter. The rotary cutter method is most often faster. Multiple pieces can be cut out at once with either method. You will simply need to layer the pieces of each color before cutting either by folding, by placing folded fabrics on top of each other, or by layering flat pieces. When you layer your pieces, check that the grain is aligned in all pieces before cutting. These quilts may be assembled by hand stitching or by machine.


Windows of almost any design can be translated into a quilt pattern.

Draw a square on your graph paper. Draw a frame around the square. Determine the width of the frame by looking at the graph lines and selecting a width that looks good with the size of your square. Draw a line continuing from the top of the square to the side of the frame. Draw another line from the bottom of the square continuing to the side of the frame. This rectangle will be the pattern you need to make the side sashing pieces of your blocks. The squares will be cut from various fabrics and unified by the use of one light fabric for all sashing. Use this drawing and trace it onto stencil sheets or simply cut it out to use as a pattern for cutting. The top and bottom of the frame can be used to get the width of your long sashing strips. Cut out one side piece per square, and another side piece for the end of each row. Cut sashing strips of equal width to put on the top of each row. You will need an additional long sashing strip for the bottom of the quilt. Cut all pieces and sashing out with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. This quilt pattern may be referred to as the French Window Pane Quilt pattern.

Stained glass windows have inspired quilt designs for many years.

Draw four squares with spaces of your desired width between them. Place squares in a four-square position with equal spaces between them. These equal spaces between each of the squares should look like the muntins on the window. Draw an equal width frame around the outside of the four squares. The muntins and window frames will be strips of sashing that you cut. For this design, you can simply trace a square onto your mylar pattern material and then cut the muntins out separately as strips of equal width. Group four matching squares with a coordinating sashing for each block. Add a 1/4-inch seam allowance to each piece you cut. This pattern may be referred to as a beginner's Window Pane Quilt. The border of this quilt is a line of squares along top, bottom and sides that are cut to the size of a window pane plus the sashing.

Draw a square in the center of your graph paper. Draw a frame around on the left side and bottom. The top of the left side and right end of the bottom side piece will be squared off even with the top and side of the square. Where the two sides of the frame form a corner, draw a miter line. You can either cut strips for the framing piece and then attach it to the sides of the square and miter the corner, or you can cut out these individual pieces and stitch them together. You should cut a 1/4-inch seam allowance around each piece. This quilt is sometimes referred to as the Attic Window Quilt pattern.

Piecing the Patterns

Connect the French Window Pane squares randomly with narrow sashing to form block strips. Sew sashing pieces to the ends of each strip. Press seams open. When the strip is the width you want for your quilt, start another strip. When you have enough strips for the length of your quilt, begin to sew the strips together. First, sew narrow sashing to one side of each strip. Sew the strips together sewing sashing to a strip of squares with each seam. When you open this up, you can see that each square is framed by sashing. When quilt top is complete, add sashing to the bottom. Press all seams open.

Sew four matching squares with a coordinating sashing to form a 4-paned "window" for the four-square Window Pane Quilt. Begin by sewing sashing to one side of each square. Stitch two squares together, sashing between them and add sashing to the opposite side of the square without sashing. This gives you a pair of squares with sashing on each end as well as in the middle. Press seams open. Stitch a length of sashing across one of these pairs extending across the sashing at each end. Stitch the other pair to the sashing so that the sashing strip is in the center of the four squares. Stitch sashing to the four sides of this four-square quilt block. Using this technique, four other matching squares are framed in a different coordinating sashing to form a different window. All windows are then stitched together, sashing to sashing, into rows the desired width. Press seams open. Rows are then sewed with long sides together to make up the length of the quilt. Press seams open as you go so that the quilt top will lie flat for quilting.

Sew sashing to the left side and bottom of each square to assemble the Attic Window Quilt. Assemble the squares into rows by sewing a sashing edge to a square edge with right sides together. Keep the sashing at the bottom and left side of each square as you stitch your rows. Press seams open. When rows are assembled, stitch long sides together, sashing on one row matching up with the squares on the next row. When quilt top is complete, press seams open. Alternate patterns may contain a half-square triangle to make piecing easier.


When you cut your pieces, it is critical that each piece is cut exactly with an exact 1/4-inch seam allowance. It is then critical that the seams are sewn with an exact 1/4-inch seam. Any variance in the cutting and sewing of the seam allowances will make a quilt that is not flat or is not square. For greater clarity in what each variation of window pane quilts should look like, check the reference section for photo or pattern assistance.


You should not copy a quilt pattern from a web site, unless the pattern is marked and the statement is made on that web site that the pattern is available for free public access. Patterns available for sale are copyrighted and should be purchased for use.