Archive | January 2013

Perfect basic four-patch square quilt block every time!

The four- patch block is certainly versatile! I recently had the occasion to make several 9 square patch and 4 patch square blocks…
I saw and followed from YouTube an easy and quick method for the basic nine patch block and decided to adopt and adapt it for the four patch!

This method gives you perfect four- patches, points matched just so! and a pair each time! It is also great to use with pre-cut squares, such as charm squares or layer cakes.
So here we go!

Since I had several 4-patch blocks to make ( ready 2.5 ” square) so I started with two strips, one black and one white, which were 3.5″ wide. Remember, cut your strips just one inch wider than the size of the ready block.

If you want a single pair of 4 patch blocks 2.5″ square, begin with squares 3.5″…

Quick 4-square patch

Begin with strips 1′ wider than your ready block

2. Join the strips along the longer edges ( both sides!)

Join strips along both edges

1/4″ seam along both long edges

3. Cut the joined strips at 3.5″ intervals. ( size of ready block plus 1′)

Cut into squares - ready block size plus 1"

Cut into 3.5″ squares ( or ready plus 1″)

If you wanted a single pair of blocks, you would have this at the end of the first step! That is, you would have started with 2 squares of 3.5″ and sewed along opposite sides as above…
Similarly, if you were working with pre-cuts, this is where you would be after joining a pair of charm s or layer cakes along opposite sides.

4. Slice through each block as shown, parallel to the seams.

Cut each piece along centre, parallel to the seams

Cut each piece along centre, parallel to the seams

Here instead of measuring 1.75″ from the edge of the fabric, measure 1.5″ from the seam to find the centre!

5. Open and press towards the darker fabric! Or the light! (Just be consistent about which side you press them on) Or, press open your seams, if you like. (I don’t! 😦 )

Seams pressed towards dark fabric

Seams pressed towards dark fabric

6. Place the pieces in pairs, right sides facing. Black on white and white on black!

Pair the pieces, right sides inside and opposite colours facing each other

Pair the pieces, right sides inside and opposite colours facing each other

7. Pile them, dark piece away from you, and seam towards the machine. This helps the seams of the top and bottom pieces `butt’ against each other, and you get a perfect corner!

Join the pairs as shown.

Stitch all the patches on one side, without cutting the thread! This is called chain-piecing

Stitch all the patches on one side, without cutting the thread!

Flip over, sew along opposite side! Chain stitching makes things move fast!

Flip over, sew along opposite side! Chain piecing makes things move fast!

8. Now snip the chain links to separate the pieces, and we are almost there!

Cut along the centre line of each piece

Cut along the centre line of each piece

9. Abacadabra! We are there!

Open to reveal perfect four patch blocks!

Open to reveal perfect four patch blocks!

Impossible for the blocks not to be perfect 🙂

You shall have two sets of blocks. With the seam on the right, one set shall have white on the top and the other shall have black on the top. This is unimportant, except the slight adjustments required when making larger blocks from these.

Two sets of blocks

Two sets of blocks

11. One little step more, my favourite! 🙂

Flip the block to the wrong side, and use your ripper to rip those few stitches in the centre. Finger press the seams in a whirl …this reduces bulk!

Whirl in the centre

Whirl in the centre

And here is your 4-patch

Done!

Done!

This method is particularly useful when you have several 4-patches to make as in a border. It prevents fabric from getting distorted along the longer edge and is great if you like working on minis!

Here are a few quilts where I have used 4-patch blocks!

Four patch border

Four patch border on a queen size quilt

Christmas Quilt for Brinda

4-patch on a miniature Quilt

Sixteen 4-patches were used to make this chessboard.

Sixteen 4-patches were used to make this chessboard.

And how many basic 4-patches in this work in progress?

How many 4-patches here?

How many 4-patches here?

Happy counting (and quilting)!

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