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Free sugar skull quilt pattern: step by step pixel quilt

For pixel perfect patchwork, sew Natalie Santini’s sugar skull quilt with our step by step guide.

Free Sugar skull quilt pattern

We love traditional quilts as much as the next person, but if you’re looking for a more modern twist on patchwork, we’ve got the perfect project for you! Sew your own sugar skull quilt with our free pattern and step by step guide! We love how this quilt creates a cool contrast between the candy colours and the cream background. Change the mood of your quilt easily by switching up the colour of the background fabric to black, or try using vibrant neon shades instead of pastels. This would make a great Halloween quilt project, or make it for anyone who loves modern quilts.

We’ve used a jelly roll to speed up cutting the fabric pieces to make this pixel quilt design. Strip piecing makes sewing all those squares a doddle!

If you love this quilt idea, you might also like our round up of Modern Quilt Patterns or our 10 favourite Halloween quilt patterns. This project was designed by Natali Santini for Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. See more of Natali’s work on her website

Fabric requirements

Finished size

56in x 66in approx

Skull quilt pattern close up
Try using contrasting quilt patterns on the skull and the background.


  • Seam allowances are ¼in throughout.
  • Press seams open, unless otherwise instructed.
  • A Jelly Roll is a set of 2½in x 42in strips. You will need at least twenty-two strips.
  • WOF = width of fabric

How to make a sugar skull quilt


You Will Need

  • Fabric (For the quilt top, backing and binding)
  • Wadding
  • Sewing machine
  • Basic quilt kit

Total time:

Cutting out

Step 1

From the Jelly Roll strips, trim sixty-six (66) 2½in x 10in strips in a random assortment of colours. Cut eighty (80) 2½in squares from the remaining strips.

Step 2

From the background fabric, cut:

  • Two (2) 6½in x 44½in border strips
  • Two (2) 6½in x 66½in border strips
  • Twelve (12) 2½in x WOF strips
  • Ninety-seven (97) 2½in squares

Step 3

From the binding fabric cut seven (7) 2½in x WOF strips

Preparing the pieces

Step 1

Working with the pastel 2½in x 10in strips, take three strips (use a random selection of colours) and sew together along the long edges, to make a strip set that measures 10in x 6½in. Cut this into four (4) 2½in x 6½in pieces to make four three-square strips (Fig 1). These pieces are Unit A.

Skull pixel quilt Figure 1
Figure 1

Repeat to sew and cut twenty-two (22) sets of three strips, to give you a total of eighty-five (85) Unit A pieces.

Step 2

Repeat the process in Step 4, but this time using three 2½in x WOF background strips and sew these together. You will need to sew four of these strip sets to cut a total of fifty-two (52) 2½in x 6½in pieces. These pieces are Unit B.

Piecing the quilt top

Step 1

Following the Layout Diagram, lay out your pieces row by row. To help you arrange the pieces, the diagram is shaded as follows: Unit A shaded pink, 2½in pastel squares shaded blue, and the Unit B and 2½in background squares shaded white.

Sugar Skull Quilt Pattern Layout Diagram

Step 2

If you don’t have space to lay out all your pieces at once, work one row at a time, marking off the rows on a copy of the diagram as you complete them.


Step 3

Sew all the pieces in the first row together, pressing the seams open. Then move onto the next row and so on until all the rows are sewn together.

Step 4

Once you’ve pieced each row, you can sew the rows together, carefully matching up the seams. Press the seams open or to one side, as preferred.

Step 5

Sew the 6½in x 44½in border strips to the top and bottom of your quilt top, then sew the 6½in x 66½in border strips to either side of the quilt.

Step 6

Make a quilt sandwich and baste using your preferred method (see our guide to quilting for beginners). Quilt as desired – we used an all-over freemotion stipple design. Trim away any excess batting and backing, and square up your quilt.

Skull quilt pattern close up

Step 7

Sew your binding strips together along the short edges into one long length. Press in half, wrong sides together and use to bind your quilt.

Free sugar skull quilt pattern

We hope you enjoyed this special project. Why not check out our long arm quilting machine guide while you are here?