The 4-Patch Quilting Block
The 4-patch quilting block is a very frugal,
versatile, and easy block to make. It is used over and over in
the design of many quilts. It is a building block, meaning
that you can add to it to make it larger, or you can take any of the
sections and insert another block design in them.
simple measurements, you can cut 2 1/2 inch
strips from 2 fabrics, and sew them together, and then cut them
every 2 1/2 inches. You then have the rows to sew together.You can also just piece together four squares.
4-patches are usually made with a dark
and a light fabric, taking advantage of
value so that the piecing is easily seen.
The success in the appearance of the 4-patch is in how the seams
come together at the middle of the block, and how flat you can get
the block to lay. Matching the seams is just careful sewing,
and using pins
if you need them.
If you want to make the block lay perfectly flat,
there are two things that will get you there.
Of most importance, you want to be sure
you press the seams in opposite directions.
the block to the left the top two blocks were first sewn together,
and then the top and the bottom were connected with a horizontal
Notice how the seam is pressed to the
right in the top row, and to the left in the bottom row. When
the two rows are sewn together, there is no bulk because the seams
go in opposite directions. This is also referred to as
"nesting" the seams.
Notice that the horizontal seam has
been pressed up. It could have been also been pressed down.
There is a still a little bulk in the center of
the block when you leave it like this.
If you are working on a small block, or If you want to get really picky,
there is something you can do to make the block lay more flat.
The last seam that was sewn in the block
above was the horizontal seam. The horizontal seam crosses 3
vertical stitches in the center that are no longer needed.
you pick them out with your seam ripper, you can turn the seam down
instead of leaving it going up.
You will form what looks like a little pinwheel in the center of the block.
The last picture slows a close up of how the block will look after
removing the 3 stitches, and changing the direction of half the
If you are making a large quilt, with expensive
fabric, it might be worth your time. It does make a difference
on small projects. However, with normal patchwork, it
won't make a significant difference to the look of your quilt and is
probably not worth your time.
When designing your quilt, remember that you can
whole pieces of fabric between each 4-patch to speed up the project.
This is a great way to use large floral print fabrics and other designs that you
cannot cut up for
patchwork and to give a
personality to your quilt.
Don't underestimate the beauty of this
simple and frugal 4-patch, and what
you can do with it. Some of the most beautiful quilts I've seen have been made of nothing but squares. Sometimes you can let
the fabric do the work for you. That's smart
Below I have included a picture of a quilt
that is make from plain squares and 4-patches. Notice how the
fabric does the work of creating interest and beauty in this easy quilt.
The 4-patches read solid, to give the eye a rest from all the pattern
in the large blocks.
The easy 4-patches, as well as the large
blocks, made this a fast, easy, and frugal quilt. It was finished
with a flannel
batting (warm and natural) and
quilted by just stitching in the