“Missing Rail” Tutorial


I made this quilt for my friends and their little girl (who should be here any second!), using those brilliant prints – Mendocino by Heather Ross. I’d been holding onto the fabrics for a while and I finally figured out what was stopping me from really getting down to working with them – variety. Somehow I’d managed to only get the fabrics with light or white colored backgrounds – mermaid on white, octopuses on pale pink, etc. The moment I added some more color to them, BAM! I had a quilt.

Quilt for Jenna, Brad & Baby bean

The block is a really simple one, but with near endless possibilities. It’s no secret that I love a rail fence quilt and this is my variation on the simple rail fence block. I played with calling it a “split rail fence” but I like “Missing Rail” – it makes me imagine little kids peering through a gap in a fence that their ball just went over.

This tutorial makes 24 blocks – 4 more than you need to make the quilt I made.  You can use the blocks on the back of the quilt, make a pillow from them or just make the quilt larger.

To start, you need a quarter yard (either fat or skinny) of 8 different coordinating fabrics.  In addition, you’ll need a quarter yard (not fat) of white for the vertical sashing, & some fabric for binding and backing.

Start by cutting out 3 pieces of each fabric that measure 8 ½” x 9 ½”

fabric size

You can do this next bit using the stack and whack method – stack up all your like-colored pieces and cut them so that you have 3 new slices: one that is 8 ½” x 4 ½” and two that are 8 ½” x 2 ½”

fabric slices

Mix up that middle 2 ½” slice so that they are randomly paired with a matching 4 ½” and 2 ½” piece and sew them back together to form 8 ½” squares.

finished block

My sashing is made from 2 ½” strips of white cotton and the blocks are only sashed in one direction (vertical)

You can mix up your blocks however you like, mine are turned both horizontally and vertically, but the variations are endless:

My suggestion:

No sashing, all blocks turned vertically:

Only two colors, blocks turned 180 degrees each iteration:

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