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Attic Windows Three Ways

Three quilters share their techniques for making Attic Windows.

Attic Windows With Built-in Sashing
Instructions provided courtesy of Susan Cleveland.

Mitering the corner seam in a traditional Attic Windows block can be frustrating but with my method, it’s a success every time! It does require a bit of marking and careful sewing, but the result makes it worth the extra time. Plus, time is saved when setting the blocks because the sashing strips are built-in.


3- 1/2" square feature fabric (large print, novelty print, animals, scenery, etc.)
2" x 5-3/4" dark shadow
2" x 5-3/4" medium shadow
2, 1-1/4" x 5-3/4" sashing

Figure 1A


1. Mark a dot (or cross-hairs) on the wrong side of the feature fabric in the lower left corner where seams intersect (1/4 inch from each raw edge) (figure 1A).

2. Sew sashing beside each shadow with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

3. Press dark shadow/sashing seam allowance toward dark shadow.

Figure 1B

4. Press medium shadow/sashing seam allowance toward sashing.

  • Add dark shadow/sashing unit to feature fabric with a 1/4-inch seam allowance as shown. Begin the seam with small stitches so stitches don’t come out at dot (figure 1B).
  • Finger press seam allowance toward shadow.

Figure 1C

  • Add medium shadow/sashing unit to feature fabric with a 1/4-inch seam allowance as shown. Use small stitches the last 1/4 inch of the seam to lock stitches at dot (figure 1C).

  • Figure 1D

  • To sew the corner seam, place shadows right sides together and tuck the feature fabric down between them lining up all raw edges. Pin in place making sure the shadow-to-sashing seam allowances butt up together (or nest). Sew from the end of the stitching line to the corner of the sashing as shown. Use small stitches the first 1/4 inch of the seam so stitches at the dot are locked (figure 1D).
  • Press shadow-to-feature seam allowances toward shadows. Press corner seam allowances open.

  • Folded Attic Window
    (33" x 43")
    Instructions provided courtesy of Cheryl Phillips.

    This Attic Windows block eliminates the Y-seam by using creative fabric folding, making the block easier while adding dimension to this favorite block.


    What's Hiding in the Attic Window pattern - see resources
    5" and 6" triangle tools - see resources
    1/3 yd light fabric for side
    1/3 yd medium fabric for ledge
    3/8 yd dark fabric for window or approx. 2 yd
    5/8 yd lattice fabric
    1/3 yd border fabric
    1 yd batting
    1 yd backing


    1. Cut two strips measuring five inch x fabric width of light fabric.

    2. Cut two strips measuring five inch x fabric width of medium fabric.

    3. Cut two strips measuring six inch x fabric width of 3/8 yard dark fabric (window) or "fussy" cut 48 triangle pieces from two yards of fabric.

    4. Cut 12 strips 1-1/2-inch x fabric width of lattice fabric

    5. Cut four strips 2-1/2-inch x fabric width of border fabric.

    6. Cut one 35" x 45" piece of batting.

    7. Cut one 35" x 45" piece of backing fabric.

    Block Assembly
    Make 48, 6" x 8" blocks

    Figure 2A

    1. Cut the light and medium strips of fabric. Using the five-inch triangle tool cut each strip into five-inch half square triangles (figure 2A). You'll need 48 light fabric triangles and 48 medium fabric triangles.

    Figure 2B

    2. Cut the window triangles using the larger six-inch triangle tool. If fussy-cutting a design, place the triangle tool onto the window fabric with the motif centered in the "window square" etched into the triangle tool (figure 2B). Cut 48 window triangles. If using a dark fabric strip for the windows, cut each strip into six-inch half square triangles, using the six-inch triangle tool.

    3. Place the light and medium triangles onto your working surface with the right sides facing up. The pair forms a square with the light triangle in the upper left side and the medium triangle in the lower right side.

    Figure 2C

    4. Fold the window triangle in half, wrong sides together, along the diagonal side of the triangle (figure 2C).

    Figure 2D

    5. Place the folded triangle onto the light triangle so that the folded edge is in the center the raw edges even (figure 2D).

    Figure 2E

    6. Place the medium triangle on top, sandwiching the folded piece between the triangles (figure 2E).

    Figure 2F

    7. Sew the layers together along the diagonal (figure 2F).

    Figure 2G

    8. When you open the triangles, out pops a funny folded pocket. Open up the pocket and crease it to form the three-dimensional window (figure 2G).


    1. Arrange the window blocks into six vertical rows of eight blocks.

    2. Cut lattice strips into 42, 1-1/2" x 4-1/4" strips.

    3. Place a 1-1/2" x 4-1/4" lattice strip horizontally between each block.

    4. Sew six vertical rows of attic window blocks together, sewing a lattice strip between each block.

    5. Sew the six vertical rows together with the five remaining 1-1/2-inch strips placed between the rows.

    6. Sew the four 2-1/2-inch wide strips to your project to make borders.


    1. Layer the quilt top with batting and backing.

    2. Quilt as desired, then bind to complete.

    Copyright 2003 Cheryl Phillips

    Fragmented Attic Window Block

    Create even more depth in an attic window using color variations with these tips provided by Jinny Beyer.

    Figure 3A

    • Using a color wheel, you can choose color values that will give the appearance of light on each of the Attic Window blocks in a quilt. The featured quilt mimics a sunset coming through the windows (figure 3A).

    • Break up each block into smaller pieces and add a slight color variation to each piece. With this fragmentation technique, the entire quilt as well as each individual attic window block can reflect a light source.

    Figure 3C

  • Make the attic windows template—draw registration lines on the traditional attic window block template and work with shading the pieces of the window and sashes in black and white before deciding on the color (figures 3B and 3C).

  • Figure 3D

  • Chose color variation from a color wheel to best accent the pieces with the "light" source coming from the direction you desire (figure 3D).

  • Using the traditional Attic Window mandate of dark on one side, medium on one side and light on one side. If desired, go one step further and create a "fragmented" block, which utilizes the concept of using lights, mediums and darks within those parameters.

    To create a fragmented block

    1. For square, use nine divisions of color per square, three divisions per side.

    2. Follow a mitered angle and draw lines for fragmented pieces.

    3. Shade dark to light in one direction. For medium, shade dark to light.

    4. Create gradual shading in dark, medium and light to create the effect of a sunset.

    5. Pick light to dark on color wheel in each parameter of "dark", "medium" and "light." Only nine Y-seams are required.

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