Watch how to quilt the railroad crossing pattern (video & written instructions)

The railroad crossing quilt pattern has a long and storied history. According to Barbara Brackman of Civil War Quilts, the name comes as a reference to the first battle of the Civil War, during which Confederate soldiers destroyed the railroad tracks at Manassas Junction in Virginia in an attempt to sabotage the Union Army.
The railroad crossing quilt pattern (who got its name much later, in 1935), can be seen as a way to remember this event, and to reconstruct the railroads that were broken.
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Or, it can just be seen as a fun, challenging pattern for quilt makers!
Watch Rose Smith's railroad crossing pattern video tutorial:
Materials (for a 52-inch square quilt)
Three different colors of fabric – 1 ¼ yards of both the “track” color and the background color, and 1 yard of the border color
Thread
A ruler
Scissors/rotary cutter
Sewing machine/sewing needle
Pencil
Pro tip: This is an extremely time-consuming quilt, so don’t get discouraged if it takes you a while to finish! Rose Smith of Ludlow Quilt and Sew recommends cutting all the pieces you will need before you get started so that you can go straight into the piecing and sewing processes.
Written Instructions
1. First, you will need to cut seventy-two 4 7/8 inch squares of fabric: 18 in your border color, 18 in your track color, and 36 in your background color.
2. You will also need to cut one hundred and forty-four 2 ½ inch squares each of the border color and the track color.
3. Lastly, you will need five long, 2 ½ inch wide strips of fabric to complete your border.
4. Now for even more cutting! Take the 4 7/8 inch squares and draw a diagonal line across the center of each. Cut them apart on the line, making each square into two triangles.
5. Take all of the background color triangles and match them up with a triangle of one of the other two colors, making bi-colored squares. Assemble each square by first putting the two triangles together, face to face, and sewing along their shared right side, leaving a 1.4-inch seam allowance. Then open the triangle up into a square and press it flat. (When using your iron, make sure to press toward the darker-colored fabric, so that you don’t have any bleeding!)
6. Next, take the other squares (all 288 of them!) and make 144 pairs, each containing a track color square and a background color square. Sew each pair of squares together, to make 144 rectangles.
7. Take two of these rectangles and place them with the track colors on alternate sides. Sew the two rectangles together to make a square. Repeat this process with the rest of these rectangles.
8. Once that is finished, lay one fourth of the pieces out, following the pattern in the picture above. This will be the first (giant!) block of your quilt.
9. Divide the block into three sections. Sew the seams for the top section, then the middle section, then the bottom section, then sew them all together to complete the first block.
10. Repeat steps 5-9 to make your other three quilt blocks. Rose Smith of Ludlow Quilt and Sew suggests that you can shake things up by making two of your four blocks with alternate track pattern, as shown, but that is up to you!
11. Take a deep breath and hang in there, we’re almost done! Once you have your four blocks completed, sew them together to make your quilt top.
12. Lastly, take your border strips and sew them around the edges. They should be 2 ½ inches wide and 48 ½ inches long for the top and bottom edges, and 51 ½ inches long for the sides.
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Then, finally, your railroad crossing quilt is finished! Just follow up with the layering and the quilting, and you’ve got your very own little piece of history.

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