The Square in a Square Quilting
The Square in a Square quilting
block is one of the most used quilting building blocks. It is used and altered in many
The block pictured above is a simple
square in a square. Notice how the square in the middle sets in the block.
The points of the square are turned up. This is
an easy way to get the look of a
placement while still doing the easier straight set when you put your blocks
If you add another round"
or square to this block, then the block will turn 90 degrees and be parallel
with the fabric again. That is done with Method #2. Add another
square and it will rotate again.
This can be a very frugal quilting
block if you make a scrappy quilt.
The grid lines on the block illustrate that it is a 4 patch.
This block, works well with other 4 patch blocks, such as the Sawtooth
Star. All blocks with the same
nicely, as you see in the graphic at the bottom of the page.
Now go back to the picture at the top of the
page. To make this block with Method #1, you start by cutting the center square.
measurements. Let's make each grid finish at 4 inches. That
means the center square would be cut at 4 1/2 inches raw.
To add the outer square, use the
technique. Place squares in each corner, making sure to do 2 opposite
corners first, fold them back,
then the final two corners.
The size of these small corner squares is 1/2 the size of the
center finished block, plus 1/2 inch. Our center block will
finish at 4 inches, We divide the 4 inches by 2, and then add
1/2 inch. So the small squares are cut at 2 1/2 inches raw.
Here is the block again. Notice the
inch seam allowance at the block points.
When you sew your small squares in the corners,
but sure and press them in half first so you have a line to sew on. Your
sewing must be precise. If it isn't, when you fold back the square, it
will not overlap perfectly with the fabric underneath it.
When you trim the fabric off underneath, your
block will not be square. I hear people say all the time that they can
"eyeball it", but I've seen some of their sewing, and it is not straight.
If you want a good looking block, and a good
looking quilt, you must be precise. Another advantage of using the iron is
that when you fold the square in half diagonally to press it, you can double
check your cutting. A square folded in half diagonally will make a perfect
This is such an important quilting block.
Be sure that you can sew it accurately. Again, notice how well it plays
with its 4 patch friends, in this care the
There is a lot of harmony in the design
at the bottom of the page.
If you were looking at these pieces sewn together, you would also see secondary patterns that would make it more interesting. See the
Sawtooth Star page to see the secondary patterns that single
Sawtooth Star block makes it
is placed side by side.
Notice how the block rotates after the new square is added
The disadvantage to Method #1 is that it makes the square
smaller. In method #2 you will just be adding triangles around the outside
of the square. You will be working with squares that are cut diagonally,
so you must be careful not to stretch the bias.
Here is a picture of the quilt block with the triangles ready to
be sewn on the outside edges of the block to make another square.
Notice how the block is no longer on point, but has rotated 90 degrees.
The bias edge of a square cut on the diagonal is about to be sewn
to the edges. Notice the the triangles have been
pressed lightly with the
iron to mark the middle. This makes it easy to put the two seams together,
matching the point of the square with the iron mark.
To make the triangles to add to the square, you will be making
triangles. Cut a square the finished size of the block plus 3/8 of an inch, and then
cut that in half diagonally one time. (Note: these will be oversized, but
you will by trimming down the block after each round).
So for a 4 inch finished block, you would cut 2 squares 4
3/8 raw, and then cut them in half diagonally.
Remember to add opposite sides first, trim the edge
even, and then add the last two sides, and again trim the edge even. Then
trim the square so that the point of the enclosed square is exactly 1/4 inch
from outside of the added triangle.
You can continue adding as many rounds, or
additional squares as you like in this manner.
Notice the harmony of the 4-patches