Thursday, April 16, 2015


Almost three years ago (Man! How time flies!) I shared a post called from a nine patch to a ... of different blocks you could design from a traditional nine patch block cut up. I can't believe it was almost three years ago. I really intended to make a quilt top using this method sooner than now. 

I did attempt one earlier this year. I wanted a new shower curtain for my hall bathroom and had some busy cardinal print fabric I wanted to use. All I can say is it was an expensive learning experience. Some day when I am totally bored with nothing to do, I will "unsew" the seams and fix it. Lots of work but I think it will be work it when I am finished. The squares will still work. I will just have to cut small squares from a solid-like print and resew the blocks together individually to make the 4 quarters and then arrange them in the pattern.

In the post I used a nine-patch block that my friend Kay had made and then cut up. I don't think it really registered with me until I made my disastrous cardinal print shower curtain, that in Kay's block, the center square was a different print from the corner squares. While it wasn't a solid, it was close to it. That's where I made my mistake with my shower curtain. I used the cardinal print for the five squares and then a semi-solid print for the other four. That meant I was cutting the center cardinal print into the four small squares. Since the small squares appear by the large print when arranged, the busyness of the patterns did NOT look good together.

With this knowledge in hand, I recently set out to make a baby quilt using the disappearing nine patch block again. Knowledge is such a wonderful thing! I thought I would share with you how to do it. (I'm not totally through with the quilt, but will show you the finished quilt after I finish quilting it.)

I chose three coordinating prints to make nine-patch blocks. I needed to have a total of 36 squares of one print (animal print in my example), 36 squares of the second print (polka dot print in my example), and 9 squares of the third print (solid purple in my example) to complete the blocks.

I used two methods for making the 9 blocks...the strip method and sewing individual blocks. I did it this way so I wouldn't have leftover block pieces by doing it all the strip method (which is the easiest and fastest way to make a nine patch) and the purple material had some spots I had to work around. I made my finished nine-patch block a 16-inch square. I will include amounts of material needed for a smaller nine-patch square below.

After I washed, dried, and ironed my material, I cut strips the width of the fabric (wof) and 6 inches wide using my rotary cutter from the (animal) print, strips wof and 6 inches wide from the (polka dot) print, and 1 strip wof and 6 inches wide from the (purple) solid, 1  6-inch square from (animal) print, 6-inch squares from (polka dot) print, and 2  6-inch squares from (purple) solid. 

I first made the outer sides of the nine patch block. Using two wof strips of the animal print and one wof strip of the polka dot print, I made a "panel" with the polka dot strip between the two animal strips. Matching the cut edges, I sewed the strips together across the wof using a 1/4 inch wide seam.

I did this twice. (That left me with 1 strip from the animal print. I will cut it up later into individual squares.)

Setting the seams by pressing the seam on the wrong side, I then pressed the seams open. Remember you are pressing not ironing. You don't want to stretch the material with ironing. (Pressing is just what it sounds the iron on spot, lift iron, move to another spot, and repeat.) I decided to press all of the seams away from the polka dot print. This would make the seams "nest" when I had to sew the pieces together.

When I had pressed the panel open, I cut the panel into 6-inch wide pieces (the sides of the nine patch block).

Here is how I did this since I usually cut on the right side of the ruler. Using a 6-inch ruler, I trimmed the right edge of the panel for my starting strip. I made sure the seams in the panel lined up with lines on the ruler. Then I placed another ruler next to it making sure the first ruler didn't move. After removing the first ruler, I then cut down the right side of the second ruler.

I repeated this process with the other panel of two animal prints and one polka dot print. I had cut/made 14 side strips of animals - polka dots - animals.

I then repeated the process by making a panel using 2 of the polka dot wof strips and the one purple wof strip. Here they are before I sewed them. This made 7 middle strips of the nine-patch block after I sewed and cut them. (The one polka dot print wof strip left, I will cut into individual squares later.)

With the pieces cut, I could then sew them together to make the nine-patch block.

When I finished I had 7 of the 9  nine-patch block made. Fast and Easy. 

Now I had 2 more blocks to make. I did this method by actually sewing the individual 6-inch squares together to make the nine-patch. Remember the extra strip I had after I made the "panels"? Well, now I cut them into individual squares - 7 squares from each strip. Those added with the single squares I cut of each print made the 8 squares I needed of the animal print and polka dot print to make the last two nine-patch blocks. From the purple print wof strip, I cut 7 squares. I had to cut 2 more single 6 - inch squares to make the 9 squares I needed of the purple print. 

Since the other blocks had been made with panels, I sewed these smaller individual squares together the same way. In other words I sewed the block together to make vertical strips and then sewed them together to make the nine-patch and pressed the seams the same way as the larger blocks...away from the polka dot print.

With the nine-patch blocks made, I was ready to cut them vertically down the center panel ... 

and the across the other center

To make sure I was cutting down the center, I lined up the seam with the 2-3/4 inch mark on the ruler.

Once they were all cut I ended up with 36 "quarters".

I squared them up by checking the size of the purple square and trimming off any excess.

The next step was to lay them all out in the pattern I had least what my dining room table would hold.

Of all of the arrangements I made that day almost three years ago, this is the easiest one because you don't have any seams to match except the middle/center ones. With pressing the seams as I described, those two seams will "nest" neatly together.

The pattern will look different because of the prints you chose and of course because you are adding more blocks with it. I see so many different patterns when I see the whole top made.

This is another one I am anxious to try. I will let you know how it turns out.


Quilt top:

3     prints/solids - 43-45 inch wide

       1st print/solid - 1-1/8 yds 
       2nd print/solid - 1-1/8 yds
       3rd print/solid - 3/8 yds

These amounts will work for up to 6 - inch cut squares. The quilt top will measure 48 inches x 48 inches using 6 - inch cut squares. If you want it smaller, cut the strips and squares 5-1/2 inches. This will make a quilt top about 43-1/2 inches  x 43-1/2 inches.


If using a 6 - inch cut strip/squares, the larger quilt top will require backing fabric that is 54 inches wide (1-1/2 yards of fabric) or if using 43-45 inch wide material, you will have to have twice the length of the quilt top or 2-3/4 yards of fabric. 

If using a 5-1/2 - inch cut strip/squares AND the fabric is 44 - 45 inches wide, you can probably get by with just 1-1/3 yards of fabric for the backing. This means you would have a one-piece backing and no seam. If the finished quilt top is slightly larger than the backing fabric, I have trimmed/cut the quilt top slightly so it will fit without having to piece the backing (my preference for a smaller quilt).


1/2 yard of fabric - 43 - 45 inches wide


1 piece 50 x 50 inches. 

I have tried to make these directions easy to follow. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or you can email me for more detailed instructions. 

No comments:

Post a Comment