Making A Nine Patch Quilt Block

Instructions for making a Nine Patch quilt block and then making your blocks into a small quilt top.

Making your own quilt is much easier than most people think. The mistake most made by people wanting to make a quilt for the first time, is to start out with a project too large in size that will overwhelm a first time quilt maker. Keep your first projects small, such as a pillow, wall hanging or crib quit. I will give you directions on making one of the easiest quilt blocks, which is a "Nine-Patch". These can very easily be made into a pillow, or by making more than one block, into a wall hanging or crib quilt.

The first thing that you will need to do is choose two fabrics that you would like your block to be made from, one light colored fabric and one darker colored fabric. Be sure to use 100% cotton fabrics for quilt making. Also be sure to wash, dry and press your fabrics before using. By pre-washing your fabrics will be pre-shrunk and should not run when washed after assembly.

We are going to make a 12-inch block, which is an average size for a quilt block. You will need to make a "template" or pattern. I would recommend making this template out of some type of light weight plastic, while many people make their templates from cardboard, as you keep tracing around the cardboard a bit of the edge will wear away. Thus making your pattern smaller and smaller, then your pieces will not fit together correctly. Using a straight edge make a 4 ½-inch square on your plastic, carefully cut this out.

Now, using your fabric wrong side up, carefully, with a very light pencil trace around your pattern. Make 5 dark colored squares and 4 light colored squares. Carefully cut these out, on the pencil marks, using sharp scissors.

The next thing that you need to do, is lay your block out so you will not get confused when sewing it together. When looking at this block it will remind you of a tic tac toe board. Place a dark square in each of the four corners and in the center. The light fabrics will go on each side, between the corners.

We are now going to head to the sewing machine, but I am going to have you assembly line sew your blocks together. Let's number your rows 1, 2 and 3. Leaving row 1 face up, take the blocks from row 2 and set them face down on top of row 1. Take the first two squares and sew them together using a 1/4-inch seam, now the next two, finally the last two. You do not need to cut your thread between block, just feed them into the machine one after another. This method will save thread and time.

Cut your blocks apart and head to the ironing board, press your seams toward the darker block. Now go back to the spot where row 3 is sitting and set your pressed squares back down in the original spot, be sure that you have a light block next to a dark block. Leaving rows 1 and 2 face up, lay row 3, wrong side up on row 2. Again head to the sewing machine and assembly line your squares through, with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Now to the ironing board, where you will again press your seam allowance toward the dark block.

Again set your rows back in the original places. Take the top completed row and set it face down on the second completed row. Look and see how the seams are running in the opposite direction? Using a pin line the seams up, these seams will actually "lock" together making it easy to match your corners. Sew these two rows together using a 1/4-inch seam. Press your seam off to one side, when laying your fabric down on your ironing surface, it may choose which way it would like to be pressed. Go with what your fabric would like to do here, either direction is fine.

Taking your two rows back to row3 and place in the original position. Lay row 3 on top of the two rows, wrong side up and again lock your seams together with pins. Sew the 1/4-inch seam and again press.

You now have a completed 12-inch square (although at this point with the unfinished edges, it will measure 12 ½-inches) that can be made into a pillow by adding borders, a back and a pillow form, or a wall hanging by grouping several of these blocks together.

To make your wall hanging, you are going to need to put your blocks together into rows. To make your blocks for a wall hanging, make 9 blocks altogether. Make 5 dark blocks (using the 5 dark colored squares/4 light colored squares) and 4 light blocks (make these the opposite using 5 light colored squares/4 dark colored squares). Again we are going to lay the quilt out before sewing.

Using the tic tac toe method again, lay your dark blocks out in the four corners and the center, and your light blocks in the sides between the dark blocks. Do you see a pattern here? Your dark and light squares should be running in diagonal lines, and should remind you of a checker board.

Follow the steps listed above for sewing together your squares into rows, then the rows into a block. It is the same principal, only you are using entire blocks now instead of squares.

After your wall hanging is completely together and pressed you can now add borders. Borders can be added in any width and color combination. Cut your fabric into strips of the desired width for your border. Starting at the top, using a 1/4-inch seam sew your strip to your quilt. Trim the strip to fit, now go to the bottom of your quilt and repeat. Go to one side, repeat and now to the other side, repeat. Press your seams after each addition, towards the border.

There you are, you now have a small quilt top! See how easy that really is?

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