Nine Patch Tutorial

On Sunday, I spent a lovely day with my dear QFF, Barb, who came down for a “play” date. We were both working on nine patches for the Bonnie Hunter quilt “Tumalo Trails”. We missed the third member of our usual group, Bev, but we still managed to have a nice day.

While I was sewing I took pictures for a tutorial on how I am making my tiny nine patch units, since I need a gazillion of them!


Since I want a lot of variety in the nine patches, I decided to use the “Magic Nine Patch” method, with a little twist since each nine patch needed to be made with nine different fabrics.

To start you need to decide what size nine patch you need. I need to make each piece in the nine patch to measure 1 1/2″ when cut. Multiply that number by 3 which will equal 4 1/2″. Cut two squares – one dark, one neutral to that size. I’ve been cutting a lot (a LOT!!!) of 4 1/2″ squares to get a big variety of colors:


Now take each pair of 4 1/2″ squares and sew a 1/4″ seam on two opposite sides:


After sewing on both sides, cut each unit into thirds (1 1/2″ strips) You will have two strip sets that are sewn together and two pieces 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″:



Now for the twist that I use, since I want to have each square in the nine patch from a different fabric – Shuffle the pieces around, so that the two separate strips are sewn to different strip sets:



I like to press the strip sets at this point, being sure to press the seams toward the dark fabric. This will make the seams nest together for the nest step. Each of your strip sets is going to measure 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″. Take one strip set that is dark – neutral – dark and another strip set that is neutral – dark – neutral and match them together, being sure that none of the fabrics in each unit match. Sew a 1/4″ seam across both 3 1/2″ ends. And then cut them apart again:


You now have some units that look like this:


There are two units that have six squares and two units that have three squares. Now comes the tricky part. You need to shuffle the units around again, so that you will end up with nine different fabrics. But notice the units with three squares – one is dark – neutral – dark and one is neutral – dark – neutral. I could sew the D-N-D onto one of the six square units and have a nine patch with five darks and four neutrals. But if I sew the N-D-N onto the other six square unit, I’ll have a nine patch with five neutrals and four darks. Not what I want for the “Tumalo Trails” quilt. So, for this particular project, I have to take some extra steps and make more D-N-D units to add onto these pieces. Fortunately for me I have a whole bunch of 1 1/2″ squares that I had trimmed down from scraps, so I’m using them up.


The other solution is to not care about the placement of darks and neutrals and just sew the strips together so you have two nine patches – one with 5 D & 4 N, one with 4 D & 5 N. If you’re making a postage stamp quilt where you want the darks and neutrals to alternate, that would work perfectly.

I hope that gives you a good idea of how to make lots and lots (and LOTS!!!) of tiny nine patches with a lot of variety.

And, I haven’t joined a linky party in quite a while, so here is Blossom Heart Quilts with Sew Cute Tuesday. Click HERE


be calm

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