Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scrappy Nine-Patch Blocks

Hello and happy Thursday! I've been sewing some scrappy 9-patch blocks this week, and I realized that some readers might be interested in some tips on piecing this type of scrappy block.

A scrappy 9-patch block was actually the first block I sewed.  I made it into a

pillow after sewing the nine squares together...and I'm betting there are a lot of quilters who can claim the 9-patch as their first block, too!

For many quilters, sewing a 9-patch involves cutting nine squares to the same measurement...

sewing together into three rows of three squares each...

And then sewing those rows together to make the finished block. Seams between squares can be pressed to one side and then "nested" when sewing rows together or pressed open throughout the block.

But when making several scrappy 9-patch blocks, I like to make a few at a time. 

Begin by gathering nine different strips which measure the same width and roughly the same length (I usually don't take the extra time to cut them to an exact length). For my example I chose darker prints for the outer corners and center and lighter strips for the center positions. If you aren't concerned with creating a pattern between light and dark fabrics in the block, then just choose nine strips. 

Shown are 2 1/2" wide strips that measure just over 8" long.  Nine of these strips will make three identical 9-patch blocks.

Sew the strips together into three strip-sets. Again, since I'm looking to make a pattern between light and dark fabrics in my blocks, I've sewn the strips together in an ordered way: two strips sets of dark, light, dark, and one strip set of light, dark, light.

I can save even more time by chain-piecing the strip sewing.

Then, I cut the strip sets into 2 1/2" strips (the same width as the original strips). With strips measuring at least 8" long there will be enough fabric to cut three sections with a little left over.  For my simple way to accurately cut several strip sets at a time, see this post.

Strip sets can then be sewn together into blocks, or for more variety they can be mixed and matched with other strip sets.

Making three identical scrappy 9-patch blocks goes a lot faster than sewing three blocks together from squares. You can use longer strip sets if you need to make more identical blocks, but when working on a scrappy project I feel like I'll have more variety in the quilt if I stick to smaller numbers of identical blocks.

In just a couple hours I had 15 scrappy 9-patch blocks. Most were sewn from strip sets, but a few were sewn from squares just because I had some squares to use!

Scrappy 9-patch blocks make great "leaders and enders" projects (see this post for more ideas on scrap quilting) and are a terrific way to use scraps!

Happy quilting...and thanks so much for stopping by!


Hildy said...

I only chain-piece my 9-patches (or 4-patches) if they all should look identical. If they should be totally scrappy I like to make sure they all look different and don't chain-piece.

AnnieO said...

My first quilt block was a 9 patch too! In 7th grade sewing class we made our sashed blocks into mini pillows. I think mine finally disintegrated after years of use. I love scrappy 9 patches. You could easily mix the cut strip sets while saving some time.

Lana Ku said...

Great tutorial to help speed things along. Thanks so much. And I love those fabrics.

Rosemary B❤️ said...

leader ender projects are so fun. One day I will have enough blocks to make a house cozy.
Your blocks are wonderful

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