Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nine-Patch Tutorial, two blocks for the price of one!

It seems that lots of people are excited about nine-patches lately. I've always hated making them although they're alright to look at. Since both Crazy Mom Quilts and Twiddletails are doing nine-patch quilt-alongs and swaps, respectively, I thought I'd show you my favorite way to make them. Actually, it's the only way I can stand to make them. I'm not participating in either event, just making nine-patches when I feel like it until I have enough for a top.

This method uses two colors and makes two blocks in the time it would take to make one the traditional way. Intrigued? I thought so.

First, decide on the finished size of your block. I'm going to show you the calculations for a 9" block, a 12" block and a 10.5" block (which is the size I chose to make).

Step 1:
9" block: cut three strips of Fabric A 10.75"x3.5"
cut three strips of Fabric B 10.75"x3.5"

10.5" block: cut three strips of Fabric A 12.25"x4"
cut three strips of Fabric B 12.24"x4"

12" block: cut three strips of Fabric A 13.75"x4.5"
cut three strips of Fabric B 13.74"x4.5"

9 patch step 1

Step 2: lay out your strips like this and sew using a 1/4" seam:

9 patch step 2

Your strips should all look the same orange fabric was already nearly the right size when I pulled it out of the bin so I didn't bother trimming it up first.

Step 3: cut your blocks into strips and arrange like so:

9 patch step 3

9" block: 3.5" strips
10.5" block: 4" strips
12: block: 4.5" strips

Step 4: sew and square up your blocks:

9 patch step 4

And that's it! Easy!

I like this method for a couple of reasons. First, I don't have to take the time to cut a bunch of squares. Second, a 9-patch block traditionally has 8 seams. My way uses 8 seams total for two blocks which also saves time.

If you want to go scrappy with these, you can use the same method but with all different fabric strips in step 1.

Is anyone here participating in the 9-patch quilt-along or the swap?


  1. Neither - I'm not wild about ninepatches. Speaking of, remember when I said I was going to do a disappearing ninepatch with my Neptune fabric?

    I laid them all out last night while watching America's Next Top Model (what?) and I'm not liking it. The Aqua, Coral, Avocado and etc. lines just do not look good together in my opinion, and I don't have nearly enough (even though I bought four sets of charm packs) to put anything together.

    I'm disappointed because I don't really have enough of anything to make anything without seriously supplementing. *le wah* So, I'm putting them away and moving on to other things!

    (Have you been to ZOMG!!!

    p.s. - your tutorial was great. ;) I make my strips even longer (usually about 16 inches) cause I'm lazy like that. lol

    eps. - I finally saw Twilight! I really liked it, but not as much as you! ;)

  2. I LOVE your method! I'm a bit of an....*ahem* impatient quilter, so I love that you can do two-for-one! I think I may give 9 squares a shot now that I don't have to cut and sew a million tiny squares.

  3. thanks for the great tips....i am doing the quilt along at crazy mom quilts and this is going to make it so much simpler

  4. I love your method! I am going to be hosting a nine patch block swap and would love to use your tutorial! Would you mind if I share your tutorial with everyone participating in the swap?

    Let me know, my e-mail address is
    my blog is


  5. love your website great education and very inspirational