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Sewing a nine patch quilt block is a relatively simple process that can be done using a sewing machine or by hand. Here are the steps to sew a nine patch quilt block:
Materials you'll need:
- Fabric (at least three different colors or prints)
- Sewing machine or needle and thread
- Fabric scissors
- Iron and ironing board
Cut nine squares of fabric that are all the same size. For a standard nine patch block, each square should measure 3 inches by 3 inches. You can use different colors or prints to create a variety of designs.
Arrange the squares into three rows of three, with the fabrics alternating to create a pattern.
Take the first two squares in the first row and sew them together with right sides facing. Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance and backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam. Repeat with the third square, sewing it to the second square. Press the seams to one side.
Repeat step 3 with the second and third rows.
Take the first two rows and sew them together with right sides facing, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat with the third row. Press the seams to one side.
Trim any excess fabric and threads.
Iron the block flat, making sure the seams are pressed flat and smooth.
Your nine patch quilt block is now complete! You can repeat these steps to create more blocks and arrange them in different patterns to create your quilt.
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″.