Quilt along with me, 54-40 or Fight

Part Four of our Quilt along is the block named 54-40 or Fight.


First a really short history lesson 🙂

I’m always curious as to how a block got a name.
54-40 or fight was a campaign slogan of James K. Polk
and had to do with the Oregon Boundary Dispute.

“The northern boundary of Oregon was the latitude line of 54 degrees, 40 minutes. “Fifty-four forty or fight!” was the popular slogan that led Polk to victory against all odds.” From U.S History.org

The block was already known and used before the 1840’s, by another name but what it was, I have not yet discovered!

Today we will be making 12 blocks and 12 sections for the border.

The first time I made the 54-40 quilt block I didn't think I'd ever get it. Click To Tweet

With time and practice it does get easier!

My tips for you

Tips for you

  • Do a test block
  • Cut and sew as accurate as possible.
  • Do your best
  • Have fun
  • Keep in mind everything is a learning experience.

The block has only two different units.

  1. Unit A is a simple four patch
  2. Unit 1 - a simple four patch
    Unit 1 – a simple four patch
  3. Unit B is the triangles that will make the dramatic shape and stars in the quilt.
Unit 2 - Triangles
Unit 2 – Triangles

This block uses templates for Unit 2.
You can download the file here.

I print my templates on freezer paper.

  • Layer up to four pieces of fabric
  • Press the shiny side of the freezer paper to the top layer. This will make the freezer paper stick to the fabric. It is easily removed and can be used again.
  • freezer paper templates(1)

  • Line up your ruler even with the cutting lines.
  • Cut along the cutting lines with a Rotary Cutter



  • take it slow
  • keep light pressure on your ruler
  • when you need to pick up the fabric for turning keep it in an even pile – not letting the layers shift.

You can make templates out of cardboard or template plastic and trace around the shape onto the wrong side of fabric.
The choice is yours 🙂

Let’s Begin cutting !!!

Unit 1.

Cutting and Piecing Unit 1
Cutting and Piecing Unit 1
    1. Cut four Dark Purple strips of fabric 2″ wide by WOF*
    2. Cut four Lavender Strips of fabric 2″ wide by WOF*

(This assumes the WOF is 40″)

  1. With right sides together, sew one lavender and one dark purple fabric strip together.
  2. Repeat for remaining strips of fabric.
  3. Press seams towards dark purple.
  4. Now Cut 2″ strips cutting across the width of fabric.
    Unit 1  assembly diagram
    Unit 1 assembly diagram

    You will need 168 sections

  5. Sew two sections together forming a four patch block with colors alternating as shown in photos and diagram.

Make 84 Unit 1’s – your Units should measure 3 1/2″

Unit 2
Using the unit 2 template to make unit 2,

    1. From Yellow fabric Cut 60 C’s and 60 D’s
    2. From Batik fabric cut 60 B’s
Unit 2
Unit 2
    1. Sew a C to B, press seams towards yellow
    2. Sew a D to B, press seams towards yellow

Make 60 Unit 2’s your units should measure 3 1/2

Square up blocks if necessary, working from the center out.

Block Assembly

54-40 block assembly
block assembly

Refer to the diagram for position of the units

  1. Sew a Unit 1 to each side of a Unit 2.
    This is row 1 and 3 of block.
    Make 36 sections, reserve 12 sections for Border.
  2. Sew a unit 2 to each side of a Unit 1.
    This is row 2 of the block.
    Make 12 of these
  3. Assemble the rows together referring to the diagram.

Next up is the assembly –

Live, Love, Laugh, Learn and Create it!

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Fiber Artist, Author, Designer, Pianist, and Organic Foodee. My Mission is to inspire and educate the creator in you.

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