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So many options for the Drunkard’s Path block

While I was making my first Drunkard’s Path quilt, I discovered there are so many options for this versatile block.  I got so excited about my discoveries, that I thought they would be worth sharing!

Drunkard's Path Block and Quilts. Many design options and piecing techniques are discussed at The Crafty Quilter

A little History

The Drunkard’s Path quilt block dates back to ancient Egyptian times when this design was discovered on several Roman artifacts.  Also know as Solomon’s Puzzle, Oregon Trail, Rocky Road to Kansas and others, this block has been tied to the Women’s Temperence Movement in the early 1900’s as well as a possible link to the Underground Railroad during the late 1700’s until the Civil War in 1862.

Piecing Methods

This block requires curved piecing which might make it off limits for some quilters.  It sure did for me.  Traditionally, templates are used to cut out the two pieces which are then heavily pinned together at the seam.  Using a 1/4″ piecing foot and a shorter stitch length, you slowly sew that seam together and cross your fingers at the end!

Lee Heinrich for We All Sew has a great tutorial on the traditional piecing method using templates that you can print out on your own.  The nice thing about these is they’re slightly over-sized so you can trim the block down to the perfect size.

Drunkard’s Path block @ We All Sew


AccuQuilt makes a Drunkard’s Path die so the cutting portion of this block is super easy and precise.  You need the die cutter to use this product, which may be prohibitive if you don’t own one.  I have not invested in the AccuQuilt Go Cutter, but I’ve heard they work well.


If you Google “Drunkard’s Path template”, you’ll find there are many different manufacturers offering a template.  I’ve only used the CutRite Slit ‘N Sew templates from Quilter’s Paradise which I reviewed here.  This template also offers a unique method of matching up the curved seam edge and requires NO pinning.


A clever adaptation that is a cross between piecing and applique was done by Nicole at Sew Nomadic.  She uses Sharon Schamber’s Piec-lique method to create a Drunkard’s Path block.  I would like to try this one!

Design Options

What really got my attention about this quilt block, was the wide number of patterns and layout options!  Below, you’ll find some of my favorites (thank you Pinterest).

Quiltscapes Quilting has a downloadable graphic of 16 different layout options!


Leanne at She Can Quilt made this adorable Butterfly Quilt using a Drunkard’s Path block combined with squares in pretty Kate Spain fabric.

Butterfly Quilt @ She Can Quilt
Butterfly Quilt @ She Can Quilt


Did you know you can use applique to create a Drunkard’s Path block?  Check out this clever pattern, Moroccan Tiles, by Heather at Anka’s Treasures.


This Gaslight Quilt Pattern is available from Sew Many Creations on Etsy.  This is one of my favorites – it reminds me of old fashioned Christmas ornaments.


Check out this Tipsy Stars Wall Hanging from Susan at The Proficient Needle.  Adding little corner squares gives this block a unique twist.

Tipsy Stars Wallhanging @ The Proficient Needle


A few years ago, there was a Drunkard’s Path Quilt Along at SpringLeaf Studios.  Anne showed many layout options using a particular arrangement of blocks, and they’re just beautiful.

Drunkard’s Path Option @ SpringLeaf Studios


Marti Michell makes the Drunkard’s Path Perfect Patchwork Templates and offers 20 different layout designs including this Trip Around the World version.

Source: Marti Michell


Nancy Zieman used the Drunkard’s Path block in her 2015 Adventure Quilt Block of the Month and showed her unique method of making them along with a few designs of what a whole quilt would look like with this block.


It doesn’t get cuter than this Wee Animal Quilt by Dani at Knit, Stitch, Click!  She has a full tutorial for you including templates.

Wee Animal Quilt Tutorial @ Knit, Stitch, Click!


I made my own Modern Drunkard’s Path Block while participating in a BOM at Sew at Home Mummy.  Erin still has the free pattern available, and you can see what others did with their block.

Drunkard's Path Block made by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter


Well, we could be here all day!  I just can’t get enough of this old, but re-discovered quilt block.  The Drunkard’s Path is on my radar, and I think it’s time for me to start designing with EQ (Electric Quilt).  I’ll get right on it – as soon as I’m done with today’s list!

Have a lovely day and a wonderful weekend!

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  1. I love that orange and white one at the bottom – inspiring! (I just got the Slit ‘n Sew Templates and am looking for something to try). Thanks!

  2. Hi Julie. Thanks so much for the shout out and link about my Drunkard’s Path QAL. It’s so timely because I’ve been thinking of making another DP quilt once I wrap up all the other projects I have underway. Initially I was hesitant about the block because of the curves but it really isn’t hard so I hope people will give it a try. You’ve highlighted so many wonderful ideas that are sure to inspire. My most recent DP quilt is a modern version and now a pattern in the new QuiltCon 2019 magazine. You can see the original post here http://www.springleafstudios.com/2017/10/how-new-is-modern-circling-square.html

  3. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this post! I made my first DP quilt in a class 25+ years ago using an ‘innovative method’ at the time: freezer paper for the circles; starched edges; paper removed. The circle was centered on a square & appliqued with the blind hem stitch, then cut through the middle both ways, making 4 blocks. Our diagram sheet had 20 settings. I chose Running Water (on your design sheet it’s the last setting, bottom row). I use the no-pin method now. The slitted templates should make sewing with this method even easier. Thanks for a very enjoyable post! 🙂

  4. Julie, our have such a gift for developing and presenting new and informed blog posts. This one was a delightful read and really fires up one’s imagination.

  5. Mark Lapinski used the DP block in a Quilt of Valor challenge with Alex A. and another professional quilter teamed up with 3 rookies. I loved his design and would like to make it someday as another QOV. Wish I could attach a pic of it here!

  6. WOW! I’ve never liked the Drunkard’s Path very much but I’ve never seen so many ways to use it either. I definitely will be using it now. These designs are amazing! I see a number of Drunkard’s Path quilts in my future.

    I don’t have one but I’ve seen a special presser foot available just for sewing curves and it’s supposed to make pins unnecessary. I’m going to check it out now.

    I have a manual AccuQuilt cutter. I managed to snag the thing during a sale which made it affordable for me. I have only a limited amount of dies because I wait for a sale if I want more of them, they’re ridiculously expensive too. But when it comes to accuracy – it’s a winner! I’m glad I spent the money because it really makes a difference in piecing.

    You always share the BEST ideas. Thank you so much! I LOVE finding new and interesting patterns!

    Have a Happy Quilting Weekend.

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