Welcome to week two of Quilting from ‘Square’ One – Disappearing 9-Patch! How did week one go? Hopefully smoothly and y’all are pumped to put these sets of three together. What do ya say; let’s jump right in!
This week we are going to go over the art of nesting seams, sewing the 9-patches together, cutting the 9-patches apart for your surprise block and then finally the final layout of your quilt.
Step 1 – Nesting Seams. I’ve been talking about this and talking about this, now we get to put it into action! Below you will see our three lovely rows that we have sewn together in anticipation of this ‘nesting’ moment. Hopefully you’ve sewn all of your groupings of three together and are excited for this next step. Did you happen to catch my bonus video on YouTube? It’s all about chain piecing so if you are a little behind it is definitely a good watch and will speed up your process immensely. Okay back to business…let’s combine these three patches into nine shall we?
Get ready, it’s time to nest some seams and match points!
If we flip these three groupings over (in the right order…be careful here) then you’ll start to see the nesting process at work. Notice that since we pressed to the dark side that the top and bottom grouping seams are facing in the opposite direction of the middle? This was most definitely on purpose.
Step 1: Take your middle row and fold it down right sides together on to your bottom row like below:
Step 2: Line up your edges and place the seams together. If you run your fingers back and forth over the seams you can almost feel them click or ‘nest’ together. This is what you want. The picture below shows the seams coming together. Now, let’s pin them just to be safe.
Step 3: You might be thinking ‘why do I have to pin if we’re doing this amazing nesting exercise’? Well think of it like an insurance policy for your first time. We are hedging our bets and are going to all but guarantee matching seams. Insert your pin as close to the stitching as you can about 1.5″ from the edge of the fabric.
When the pin comes through your goal is to have it hit as close to the stitching as possible on the other side as well. This will ensure a matching seam. While we always try to nest seams it isn’t always possible so this method really comes in handy and will save you a lot of headaches in the future. Once pinned stitch your two 3-section pieces together using our standard 1/4″ seam allowance.
IMPORTANT TIP: When stitching your blocks together when they are pinned make sure you REMOVE the pin right before you sew over it. One of the worst sounds when quilting is the sound of a needle hitting a pin. Not to mention it can damage your needle (I’ve had plenty of broken pins and needles in my day), or worse do real damage to your machine.
Step 4: Press to the darker side. In this case I am going to press my seams towards the poppies.
Step 5: Repeat the above steps only attaching the top row to the middle row. Look at this final 9-patch block with perfectly matched seams. It is s’cute!
Look at the back too. See how pressing to the darker side can benefit you? It also helps keep the block nice and flat. Appreciation of a flat crisp press is a must. Some quilters like to starch their blocks, but I find if you use high quality 100% cotton fabric and have a high steam iron you should be just fine.
Now that our final 9-patch block is complete it’s time to make it disappear!
The goal for making the 9-patch blocks disappear is so that we can get four new blocks that look like we put WAY more effort into the quilt than we do. My mom and I lovingly refer to these types of blocks as ‘slice n’ dice’ quilts. They are perfect for the busy quilter. It’s also the reason that my shop specializes in precut fabrics. But again, I’m digressing…
The first thing we need to do is cut our finished block in half. Instead of trying to measure all the way in from the left side we’re going to measure in from the center block. You’ll notice that the center block is 4 1/2″ wide which means we need to measure in 2 1/4″ from the seam line.
Line up your ruler 2 1/4″ from the left center seam line. Make sure it is lined up from the top of the block to the bottom and straight in line with the horizontal axis as well. Keep your rotary cutter vertical, apply even pressure and cut along the 2 1/4″ line. See below:
Make sure you do not pick up your blocks to make the next cut. It is really important that the fabric stay where it is so you don’t risk it not lining up again. I recommend either placing your rotary mat on the corner of you table to you can move around it or just rotate your entire mat. They do make rotating rotary mats, but unfortunately this block is too large for the standard 12″ rotating mat so I can’t show you on this block. Rotate your block or move 180° counter clockwise.
Once you’ve rotated or moved to the other side of your block, cut along the 2 1/4″ line measuring in from the now left seam.
Look at that! You now have four separate smaller blocks. Don’t they look like you put a ton of effort in? You’re the only one who needs to know you didn’t cut separate 2.5 x 2.5″ and 5 x 2.5″ blocks.
Take your four separate blocks and arrange them per the below. You’ll notice that if you have directional fabric that all of your full squares should be facing in the same direction based on the layout below. (Are you excited?! I am. Look at how cute this is? I know your’s is probably even cuter! In fact, don’t forget to show everyone on social media using the hashtag #quiltingfromsquareone or #cleverquiltstudio. I can’t wait to see how y’all are doing!!
Have fun slicing and dicing this week. I’ll see you back here next week for final front assembly, backing, basting and pinning.