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How to Make a Nine Patch Quilt Block: Essential Building Blocks of Quilting

Nine Patch Quilt Blocks blue and red Christmas fabric rotary cutter

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QUILTING IS ALL ABOUT BUILDING ON BASICS.  LET’S LOOK AT HOW TO GET STUNNING RESULTS WITH SIMPLE STEPS USING ANOTHER FOUNDATIONAL BLOCK, THE NINE PATCH.

The Nine Patch quilt block, a timeless classic, is one of my personal favourites.  This straightforward design offers so much in the way of customization, but in this post, we’ll be looking at two methods for stitching a simple nine-patch quilt block.

Once you get comfortable with this block, it will be time to move on to some common variations, but for now, let’s look at the core block.

 

 

What is a Nine Patch Quilt Block?

Simply put, a Nine Patch Quilt Block is a combination of nine squares stitched into a block.  Most commonly, these blocks make use of two or three coordinating fabrics, like the ones I’ve used here:

 

Nine Patch Quilt Block layout blue and red Christmas fabric
Two coordinating fabrics in a 3×3 grid is a classic nine patch layout.

 

A nine patch quilt block is a grid of 3 x 3 squares.  These can be any size, but for today’s post, I’ve chosen to work with two common sizes – 5-inch charms and 2 ½-inch jelly rolls.

 

Fabric Selection and Supplies

As with all quilting, the choice of fabrics is nearly endless.  As I’ve noted above, I’m working with charm packs and jelly rolls for the purpose of this tutorial.  You can certainly make your nine patch blocks any size.  Working with a layer cake, you would only need four blocks to create a quilt that is roughly 57 inches square when finished!  That’s a pretty quick and easy project!  I may have to look into that!

Some of my favourite fabrics come from these amazing sites:

 

 

 

Next, make sure you have your essential quilting tools. Here is a list of what I like to have on hand when making any quilting project:

  • Rotary cutter and mat – You can absolutely use a good pair of scissors, but I do find that you get the most accurate cuts using a rotary cutter.
  • Quilting Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Iron and ironing board or pressing mat
  • Pins or clips
  • Fabric marker
  • Spray starch – I have recently started starching my fabrics, and I’m loving the difference.  A note of caution, however: starching precuts may not work out well, as the starch can shrink your fabric in one direction only.  Your squares will no longer be squares!

 

Once you’ve gathered your tools, it’s time to sew!  

No sewing room?  Be sure to check out my Portable Sewing Room – it’s so handy if you don’t have a dedicated sewing space.  In fact, it’s great even if you do!

 

Watch my easy tutorial for the Nine Patch Quilt Block on my YouTube Channel!  Be sure to subscribe and turn on your notifications so you don’t miss out!

 

 

Continue reading below for step-by-step instructions.

 

Nine Patch Quilt Blocks – 2 Simple Methods

Method 1:

Start by selecting your fabric.  For this tutorial, we are using two coordinating fabrics.  I will refer to the darker fabric as Fabric A, and the lighter as Fabric B.

If you are using a charm pack, you can move to the layout instructions.  Otherwise, you will need to cut your fabric.  We are using five 5-inch squares of Fabric A and four 5-inch squares of Fabric B.  You can easily use a fat quarter or fat eighth, or even a layer cake, to cut your squares.

Next, lay out your block as follows:

  • Row 1: A, B, A
  • Row 2: B, A, B
  • Row 3: A, B, A

 

This gives you a classic nine patch layout.  Keep an eye out for directional fabrics at this stage.  Be sure that you have your squares facing the right direction before you stitch!  

To stitch your quilt block, start with the top row. Place the first two squares (A and B) right sides together and stitch using a standard 1/4-inch seam allowance, followed by the third square from row one.  Repeat for rows 2 and 3.  Press your seams on rows 1 and 3 to the right and on row 2 to the left.  This will allow you to nest the rows when you attach them from top to bottom. 

 

Nine Patch Quilt Block seam pressing directions
Using directional pressing allows you to nest your seams.

 

If your pattern or project calls for multiple nine patch blocks sewn together, be sure to press your horizontal seams in opposite directions on each block so that you can nest the blocks together as well.

 

Method 2:

If your pattern or project calls for multiple nine patch quilt blocks using the same fabric, you can work your fabric in strips.  As I noted, I am using jelly roll strips for this example.  If you are working with fabric, cut 2 ½-inch strips of Fabrics A and B.

The layout differs slightly from the above, as you will have two sets of strips to sew together.  Lay out your strips as follows:

  • Set 1:  Strip A, B, A
  • Set 2:  Strip B, A, B

 

Stitch the three strips together for each set, and press the seams for Set 1 toward the top and Set 2 toward the bottom. Again, this will allow you to nest and create beautiful clean corners.

 

Nine Patch Quilt Block strip set piecing
Your strip sets will have an opposite layout when using two fabrics for your nine patch quilt blocks.

 

Once you have pressed your seams, it’s time to cut.  From each set, you will cut vertical strips that are the same width as one original strip.  For example, I started with jelly rolls that are 2 ½-inches wide.  Therefore, the strips that I cut vertically must be 2 ½ inches in order to provide the seam allowance.  This applies to whatever size your starting strips are.

Your cut strips will be sewn together in a similar fashion to Method 1.  The layout for the strips is:

  • Row 1:  Set 1
  • Row 2:  Set 2
  • Row 3:  Set 1

 

Stitch the rows together and press.

Wasn’t that easy?  I just love how these blocks come together so easily!  I’m working on a pattern right now that makes use of a variation of the nine patch block, and I can’t wait to share it with you – stay tuned!

 

 

 

Quilting, like any craft, gets better with time, patience, and practice. This basic Nine Patch quilt block pattern is one that you’ll want to get very comfortable with. As you delve deeper, you’ll discover countless variations and styles that reflect your unique touch. 

For more Essential Building Blocks of Quilting, be sure to check out these tutorials:

 


 

Want to remember this?  Save “How to Make a Nine Patch Quilt Block: Essential Building Blocks of Quilting” to your favourite Pinterest boards!

 

Nine Patch Quilt Block layout blue and red Christmas fabric

 

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Hi! I'm Tanya

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