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Sewing a checkerboard quilt block involves piecing together alternating squares of two different fabrics to create a grid of squares that resembles a checkerboard. Here are the steps to make a basic checkerboard quilt block:
- Two different fabrics, each in at least two different colors
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Cutting mat
- Quilting ruler
- Sewing machine and thread
- Iron and ironing board
- Choose the two fabrics you want to use and cut them into squares of the same size using a rotary cutter or scissors and a quilting ruler. The size of your squares will depend on how large you want your quilt block to be. For example, if you want a 12-inch quilt block, cut 2.5-inch squares (each finished square will measure 2 inches).
- Arrange your squares into pairs, alternating between the two fabrics. For example, if you are using a red fabric and a white fabric, you would pair a red square with a white square, and so on.
- Sew the pairs together along one side, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press the seam allowances open.
- Take two pairs of squares and place them right sides together, making sure that the fabrics are opposite each other. Sew them together along one side using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press the seam allowances open. You should now have a square made up of four smaller squares in a checkerboard pattern.
- Repeat step 4 to make more checkerboard squares, depending on how many you need for your quilt.
- Once you have made all of your checkerboard squares, sew them together to create your quilt top. Arrange them in a pattern that you like, making sure that the seams line up neatly. Sew them together using a 1/4-inch seam allowance and press the seam allowances open.
- Trim the edges of your quilt top to the desired size, and then add batting and a backing fabric to finish your quilt.
With these steps, you should be able to create a beautiful and unique checkerboard quilt block.
The secret to the nine patch is all about ironing seams so that they butt when they are joined.
Cut 5 A squares and 4 B squares in the required size.
Chain piecing, join a B square to only 3 of the A squares, right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. No need to press just yet.
The result will be:
Next, take the remaining A and B squares and, chain piecing, join them to these units, right sides together, with a one 1/4 inch seam allowance:
Your result will be:
To make this faster you can cut strips.
Cut A and B strips for the appropriate width, and join them into A/B/A and B/A/B units. Note you will need twice the length of B/A/B strips, as there are two of these units. Once your strips are joined, right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press every seam towards the dark fabric.
Cut across your pre-joined strips to create the units needed for the nine patch:
You will achieve the same result as above, but this method is faster.
To make a standard 9 patch, the width of the unit cut from pre-joined strips is the same as the width of the original strips.
Press all the seams to the dark fabric so that all the seems butt up.
Join the B/A/B units to your A/B/A units with butted seams, right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
The direction of the final, central seam is optional. But guided by the placement of the block in the larger scheme, and wherever possible, iron to facilitate budding the seam joints.
Just as the 4 patch, you can apply this methodology to all kinds of 9 patch blocks. As long as the patch has an underlying 3x3 grid, no matter how many pieces, the basic principle applies. It is repeated over and over, each 9 patch laying adjacent to the next 9 patch. As long as you keep pressing seams in pairs of opposite directions, piecing will be smooth sailing.
Try these out. Each block has an underlying 3x3 grid, and can be pieaced as a 9 patch.
Sometimes it is not obvious which direction is the dark with complicated blocks like those above. Just remember the basic ironing plan is:
How to Resize Quilt Blocks:
The first step in modifying any quilt block is to decide on the size of your finished quilt block. You can come to a decision based on a number of factors: doubling a pattern, cutting your pattern in half, or choosing the size based on your available fabric.
NOTE: When working from a pattern’s cutting instructions, make sure you remove the seam allowance before doubling or tripling the size. For instance, if your pattern calls for 3-1/2″ squares, first you’ll subtract the sum of the seam allowances (1/2″), double the finished block size (from 3″ to 6″), and add the seam allowance back in (1/2″). So, when all is said and done, you will cut a 6-1/2″ piece of fabric.
Resizing Square Blocks:
Square blocks are the easiest to resize. Simply add to your finished block measurement. For example, if you’d like your finished block to be a 4″ square, you’ll need to cut a 4-1/2″ square of fabric.
Resizing Rectangular Blocks:
Similarly to the square, for rectangle blocks, you’ll add to the length and width measurements of your finished block. If you’re doubling block that measures 3″ x 4″ in your quilt, you’ll cut a 6-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ rectangle of fabric.
Resizing Half-Square Triangle Blocks:
When you want to change the size of a Half-Square Triangle block, add 7/8″ to the desired finished block size. To make a 4″ finished block, you’d cut 4-7/8″ squares.
Resizing Quarter Square Triangle:
Since there are two cut lines and two seam lines in a Quarter-Square Triangle block you’ll need to add 1-1/4″ to the desired finished block size. For a finished block that’s 4″, you’d cut your squares 5-1/4″.