Hi Friends! Since I snapped a few pics along the way of my improved disappearing nine patch quilt for my little girl, I thought I’d throw together a quick little tutorial for anyone interested in this super easy, versatile block.
Oddly, even though I’ve been quilting off & on for around 15 years, for some reason I never knew about this easy block until this year! A little bizarre, I know, but I figure if I just discovered it, maybe some others of you don’t know about it either. It’s a little bit magical, and I like a splash of magic in my quilts.
So, we start with squares. 5″ squares to be exact. I cut mine from yardage, but charm squares are awesome for this too. For a really scrappy look like mine has, I recommend at least 10 different fabrics. The more fabrics you use, the less chance you’ll end up with similar prints touching (my pet peeve!)
Next, lay out 9 of your squares in an arrangement that you like, keeping in mind that the square in the center will be cut into small pieces, so a really large print might not be best there. The squares in the corners will not be cut at all, so put your big prints or fussy cuts there.
Next, sew the squares in each row together. Press the seams to the same direction, alternating in each row (so top row seams go to the right, middle row goes left, and bottom goes right).
Now, pin & sew your rows together, being sure to nest each of the matching seams.
Not sure what I mean by “nest?” Line up the seams and hold them between your fingers. Wiggle a bit until you feel them “lock” together- the edges will butt up against each other tightly since you pressed the seams in opposite directions. Always matching your seams this way ensures your seams will ALWAYS line up perfectly and will look flawless. Definitely worth the extra brain power during pressing!
Now slip a pin directly into that space between where the seams line up. You’ll notice that it goes in easily. If it feels like you’re pushing through several layers of fabric (ie the seam allowance) then pull it out and reposition until you feel it only go through the 2 layers.
Now comes the magical part! So you have a nicely pressed 9-patch that should measure 14″ square. If it doesn’t, trim it so it does.
Now, line up your clear ruler with one side edge and measure 7″ in- this should be the center line. Cut. Repeat in the other direction, being careful to line your pieces up precisely if you turn them.
Repeat this process for all of your squares, switching around your placement with each 9-patch to create scrappy variety. You’ll have a big yummy stack of 7″ squares like this.
Now comes the fun part- laying out your blocks. It’s like a puzzle, mixing up all your pieces to create crazy unique combos. You could just go petal to the metal at this point and start sewing stuff together, but I’m a little too OCD for that method. I prefer to lay each square out first, so I know that I’m not going to end up with 4 squares at the very end that look less-than-awesome together.
Nest & pin seams, and sew the blocks together as you would a 4-patch.
At this point you can really go crazy with chain stitching to crank this baby out in record time. (don’t clip your thread or remove squares between seams- just keep stitchin!)
There you have it! A fun, scrappy block that looks like you did so much more tedious cutting & sewing than you really did! I told you, it’s MAGIC!