Creative articles about sewing

Old Block Quilt-Along, Part 12: The Philippines

Andrea from Quiltmanufaktur and author for the German BERNINA blog is your guide for this fantastic quilt-along over the next 12 months. Together, you will sew classic patchwork blocks and combine them into a sampler. The completed quilt will be traditional, yet modern! The next part has been written and we are delighted that you join this quilt project.

I’m glad you could join me again because today, I am going to show you my favorite block in the Old Block Quilt-Along: “The Philippines”.

This patchwork design is known as “The Philippines, “Pine Burr” or “Philadelphia Patch”. The difference between most blocks is the way the center is arranged, how pointed the four corners are and how many serrations the outside border contains.

I found this article by Nancy Cabot from the Chicago Tribune on Pinterest but unfortunately I couldn’t make out the publication date.

The exact date of this patchwork block cannot be stated precisely. But you can find more information about its history on Barbara Brackman’s blog: Pine Burr or Philadelphia Patch

We are sewing “The Philippines” patchwork block

I have prepared “The Philippines” block for you in two sizes! The sizes are 18″ and 10″ (18.5 and 10.5″ including the seam allowance). For those of you who don’t want to make the large blocks, this means that you still have the opportunity to sew this lovely block. In fact, I made it in both sizes for my layout.

For this block there are both foundation paper piecing templates and pattern templates.

Download the patchwork templates

For cutting out, I have created three PDF documents to download for each size:

  • The first is a coloring sheet, which is the same for both sizes. You can use this to try out colors and designs for this block first to see what they look like.
  • On the second PDF you will find the templates for the foundation paper piecing
  • and on the third you will find the pattern templates.

On the PDFs with the FPP templates and the pattern templates, I have put a control square with a side length of 1 inch so that you can check whether your printout of the templates is the right size. It is important to set your print options to “Actual size”.

Here is the download for the coloring sheet:

“The Philippines” coloring sheet

Here are the downloads for the 18″ block:

“The Philippines” FPP templates 18″ block
“The Philippines” pattern templates 18″ block

Here are the downloads for the 10″ block:

“The Philippines” FPP templates 10″ block
“The Philippines” pattern templates 10″ block

Cutting out the pattern pieces

You will need to cut out the following number of pieces:

  • Template A: 4 x background fabric
  • Template B: 4 x background fabric
  • Template C: 4 x patterned fabric

Sewing “The Philippines” patchwork block

Both block sizes are assembled in the same way.

Normally, in the first picture I show you all the pattern pieces laid out as they will be placed in the block. In this case, I forgot to take the picture. But I imagine that by now you are all so practiced, you don’t even need it! 

As Murphy’s law states, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. In the first picture below you can see the pattern pieces for the center block. While the piece in the middle with the cat still looks completely intact, the surrounding triangular pattern pieces have already been sewn and ironed. How did that happen? I initially cut out the middle square in the wrong way, so the cat would have been on its side in the finished block. Of course this is particularly dumb if the whole thing is made using the FPP technique, and everything has to be taken apart and precisely repositioned…

“Think twice – cut once!”

TIP: If this happens to you and if you then have problems with the holes created by the needle or if the ironed edges of the cotton fabric no longer lie flat, I recommend using spearmint! You can get this either at the pharmacy or you can make your own from spearmint oil and water. I am familiar with this “miracle cure” from tailoring and it causes the cotton fibers to realign themselves naturally. This makes holes and ironing creases in cotton fabrics disappear!

Once I solved my problem, the middle section was quick to sew – as you will probably also find. In the next picture you can see how the four C corner pieces are positioned. Below, I will use one corner piece as an example to explain how to assemble these.

Before you can make these four corner pieces, you must have sewn the FPP pieces. A long one with the end piece at the tip and a shorter one are required for each C corner piece. The two pattern pieces A + B are also required for the background.

First, sew the longer FPP piece onto the background pattern piece A, and join triangle pattern piece C to the shorter FPP piece.

Next, join these two resulting pieces together…

…before adding the background pattern piece B onto this whole corner piece. Repeat this process for the remaining 3 corner pieces.

When laid out, the 5 resulting block pieces look as shown in the picture below. You might think it’s time for some more Y-seams at this point. But we’re doing it differently…

Here’s what I did: First I sewed a corner piece onto the middle piece.

Next, I added another corner piece to the middle piece.

And then I closed the panel seam between the two corner pieces. 

Repeat these described steps for the other corner pieces to be sewn and “whoosh”, you’re done!

Here is my 10″ block.

I hope you enjoy making this block as much a I did! 

Examples of “The Philippines” quilt

Why do I love this block so much? When I first started quilting, I particularly admired these fantastic antique quilts and in particular quilts with this design. At the time, I couldn’t imagine and didn’t yet have any experience of how to make a patchwork block like this, so I was in awe. It stuck in my mind, but I just never got around to trying it out. But as we all know, there is a right time for everything. And it was perfect for this quilt-along!

This block is great to make from scraps. 

(Source: Cloud of Quilt Patterns: Pine Burr or Philadelphia Patch)


As always, please share or post your blocks here in the Community area of the Old Block Sampler, on Facebook or on  Instagram – making sure you use the hashtag #BERNINAOldBlockSampler. I absolutely love seeing your pieces. Even if I don’t comment, I still look at them all and am always completely blown away by what you conjure up from my patterns.

New here?

Have you only just discovered the quilt-along? No problem! You can join at any time. Registration is not required, and you can win a BERNINA 570 QE! All the posts will remain permanently available:

In the first post, which was the invitation to participate in the quilt-along, you will find the important initial information about our joint project:

Old Block Quilt-Along – who’s in?

You can find the rest of the blocks from the quilt-along that have already been published here:

Old Block Quilt-Along – overview of all the posts

I’m glad you’re taking part and I hope to see more wonderful pictures of your blocks!

See you soon for the next block,

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  • Daena Schofield EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    Hi, I was wondering if there was an error on the 10-inch Templates or FPP pattern, I have made both blocks and only ran into issues with the smaller block, I double-checked the 1-inch printing guide and everything appeared to be correct, but the FPP did not match up to the template pieces the way the 18-inch block did. Thanks Daena

  • Laura B EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    So, I’m kind of confused. Are we supposed to make this block twice – one 10″ and one 18″ in order to fit into the layout?

    • ramonawirth EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

      Dear Laura,

      You don’t have to do it twice, but you can if you like this design. As Andrea says, if you dont want to use a layout with big blocks, the smaller template enables you to still use this design for the smaller layout. But for the layout which she posted (down below), its enough to do the big block.
      There will be 34 QAL posts in the end, so one for each panel of this layout. Hope this helps!

      Kind regards, Ramona from BERNINA International

      • Laura B EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

        Thanks Ramona. No, I did not want to do it twice, so will just do the 18″ block.

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