Inner City Quilt Tutorial

Inner City Quilt Tutorial

Do you know that feeling when you see a quilt pattern and you think: WOW! I HAVE to make one of those! ??

Well, this is exactly what happened to me the first time I saw the ‘Inner City’ pattern about 6 or 7 years ago. Like all quilters my list of these ‘Have to make that one one day’- quilts does not seem to get any shorter, and of course as we ‘mature’ like good wine ;-) our priorities change. But I was always fascinated by the isometric patterns and the 3D effects that you can achieve with them.


And then the ‘Inner City’ quilt finally had its turn and the obligatory shopping trip for fabric followed – I never seem to have all the different shades of the colour I want to work in. WHY is that? It is not that I am short of a few fat quarters (or rather boxes of aforementioned).. it just always seem to be the one (or two) shades missing -may be a topic for another blog :-)


Anyhow, a turquoise quilt is was to be this time!

So lets do the tutorial bit:


Firstly: the inner city pattern is made from Half-Hexagons! Click here for our Half Hexagons.


I was working with 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) Half Hexagons which are quite large and therefore also manageable for the not so experienced paper-piecer.

When selecting the fabrics it is very important to have 3 colour values, light, medium and dark. Otherwise the pattern will not show its full 3D potential (so keep his in mind when you go shopping for fabric)!


The Inner City’ pattern is made up of units of 6 Half Hexagons that form 3 whole Hexagons when stitched together.

For each unit you will need: 2 Half Hexies covered in light value fabric, 2 covered in medium value and 2 covered in dark value fabric. It is best to use the same fabric for both pieces in each set!

Cutting the fabric:

For most if the paper piecing projects that I do I usually cut my fabrics into strips (using a ruler and rotary cutter, or simply scissors) as I find this a very convenient way to cut my fabric for the pieces. You can figure out the strip width by measuring the width of the paper piece and adding (at least) 0.5 inches for the seam allowance (one quarter inch on each side).

I then simply place the paper piece onto the fabric strip and cut off the amount needed with scissors. This method works well or most types of shapes (including Hexagons).

Then you can get on with covering the papers with the fabric as normal (for a paper piecing picture tutorial see the ‘How to’ category on the main menu bar). Please note how the ‘tails’ or ‘ears’ on the finished pieces point in different directions? This is intentional. Make sure that you develop a routine of ALWAYS folding the edges over in the same direction, then the ‘tails’ or ‘ears’ will nestle into a nice ‘rosette’ on the back of the paper pieced quilt top and will not get in each others way. This way they also do not add any ‘bulk’ either! Whatever you do: DO NOT cut them off! This will create holes in your quilt top!!!




Once you have covered your 6 Half Hexies you stitch 2 Half Hexies each together to form 3 whole Hexagons (see pictures). It is important to combine all colour values with each other. This means in the end you should have one hexagon in light/medium combination, one in light/dark and one Hexagon in medium/dark combination of fabrics, as shown below.



Now (you have probably guessed it already) these Hexagons are stitched together to form a Y shaped unit of the Inner City quilt pattern.

When you arrange them take a moment to decide on how you want the ‘Light’ to hit your inner city unit.

Meaning: does the light come from the top-right side? Or top-left side? Because that will then dictate where your dark and lights will go.

In my arrangement the light shines onto the unit from the top-left hand side, therefore the light fabric is at the top, the medium value fabric on the left and the dark fabric on the right. :-) it is not as difficult as it may seem, just remember to stick to your decision throughout the piecing process! (perhaps make a little note or drawing for reference)




One unit done! Hurray :-) And there is the lovely little ‘rosette’ in the centre :-)

(the same applies of course to other paper shapes that have sharp points, like Diamonds and Triangles!)


When you have made lots and lots of these units it is time to play with them until you find a layout that you like and are happy with. Here are some of my  layouts and the final quilt of course.


As always, now I just need to find the time to quilt it! ;-)




Well, I hope to see lots of Inner City quilts appearing in our show-and tells in the next few years!

Enjoy and Happy Stitching!!!




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Leave a Comment (5) →


  1. Jean May 26, 2014

    Love the Inner City Quilt—I must have a go and I love the Blues colours

  2. Tessa June 17, 2014

    Thanks for this a great explanation of a design that I’ve always fancied but never quite understood. So tempting, I have a stack of greens to use up. Can’t wait to get started.

  3. shirley September 4, 2014

    Beautiful pattern and you make it look so easy , it will definitely go on my very long to do list.

  4. Amie June 27, 2016

    Thank you sew much for taking the time to show us how to make Inner City. I want to make one!


Reply to Amie