How To Make a Disappearing 4-Patch and Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt Block

Tuesday Tidbits quilting video blog archives

    Teri and I have been alluding for the past couple of weeks that we have been diligently working on a new project. This is FINALLY the week to unveil all (or most) of our labors.

    It’s Disappearing Blocks Day! This concept has been around for a bit, but we are surprised at how many folks are still unaware. We’re going to give you a rundown of the basics with the Disappearing 4-Patch and 9-Patch this week and expand on them next week.

      QUILTING BLOG CONTENTS [click to view]

      [0:30 minutes] We think that maybe a new project that had bright colors or just made you smile would be the perfect remedy for the winter doldrums.  Caution: Inspiration ahead!

      The Disappearing 4-Patch Block
      [0:49 minutes] You start out with a very basic unit – 4-patch or 9-patch. And, there are fundamental things you have to do to make sure everything is working well with them. The first thing is, to make sure all your intersections are meeting the way they are supposed to. We are using pre-cuts: layer cakes and charms [5-inch and 10-inch squares]. We do that because once you get into these, you don’t want to worry about the ‘cutting out’ part of it all.

      Starting Out with a Four-Patch
      [1:55 minutes] Whenever we start out with a 4-patch, we like using a twisted seam.

      Chain Sewing
      [2:18 minutes] Trim your threads that are sticking out. What you’re doing is breaking a few of the stitches by trimming them. This will allow you to have success with your twisted seam.
      [2:34 minutes] Look at your stitches: identify the front stitch [the one coming towards you] and the back stitch [the one going away from you that’s in the back]. Then reach inside the seam allowances and give it a twist.

      Pushing the Seams the Way They Are Supposed To Go:
      [2:51 minutes] Press from the backside first. You can tug on your fabrics gently so you don’t get any creases. Continue to do this with all four seams so that they are all going in the same direction that they are supposed to.
      [3:28 minutes] Then you want to press the center – and you can see the four-patch there.
      [3:43 minutes] The last thing you want to do is flip it over and give it a nice press and see the perfect center. It’s very nice and flat because the twist alleviates a lot of that bulk area. That little twist can only be done with a 4-patch [only when you are sewing 4 pieces together, whether half-squares, triangles, etc].

      How To Cut the 4-Patch To Get Funky Designs
      [4:35 minutes] There are tons of patterns available online but- we’re concentrating on layer cakes and charm squares this week. The four-patch is a basic unit. Anyone can do a four-patch, even kids or the most basic beginners in quilting!

      Cutting the Four-Patch Unit
      [5:31 minutes] We start on the center seam and line up our 2 inches. Cut up to the middle, check your ruler to make sure you’re still lined up, and then continue to cut your straight line. Then flip your ruler over so you can cut on the other side. Then repeat on the other end. You will cut twice and twice. “These are one of those moments when you want to think twice, cut once.”

      Cutting Variations
      [7:21 minutes] Two-inch cuts are arbitrary. You can cut 1.5 inches rather than 2.
      [7:40 minutes] Playing with the pieces you now have – Now you get to start having fun!
      [7:53 minutes] The point of the disappearing block: You can see how you would have to make strata and four patches whereas you just did that with one [4 big squares]. (Strata: Strips of fabric that are sewn together and then pressed flat.)
      [8:13 minutes] Now we start flipping and flopping our pieces around so we’re not putting the same patterns / colors against each other. What to do with the center square [various options] + Combining it all together [like a 9-patch] and you now have your block.
      “Let your freak fly!” Create it however you want!
      [9:33 minutes] A recap of the basics: We started out with 2 of each fabric [Two backgrounds + two colors.
      [10:15 minutes] A Variation on Creating a 4-Patch Block: Using patterned fabrics and two colors.
      [10:52 minutes] Using charm squares, cut a 1.5-inch cut on both sides; then flip it and cut both sides again.

      “The world is your oyster”
      [11:31 minutes] Charm packs and scraps work great to create these! Now play around with the layout design – and the challenges of where best to place your blocks.
      [12:57 minutes] The quilt we created using this technique and the Kasuri layer cake and a white with a pearlescent design for the background. We decided to create it so it went from light to dark and then added a border with 9-patch in the corners.

      The 9-Patch Block
      [15:15 minutes] Because you don’t have a center seam, we’re just going to cut it through the center both ways. To do so, start with measuring your center block and determining what half of that is. Because we used a charm square, that will be 2 ¼  inches for ours. Lay your ruler on the seam line [rather than the edge] to measure and then give it a cut. And then, do the same thing in the other direction.
      [16:20 minutes] You then end up with blocks that you can reorganize. Be careful not to have too many colors bleeding in on themselves.
      [16:55 minutes] Variation: Starting with a 9-patch with multiple colors in it. You can see now when you start flipping them around, you’re going to start getting more of a pattern. You can even end up with kissing cousins!
      [18:09 minutes] Color variations and layout ideas for your rows.
      [19:20 minutes] We played with a charm square and created a new quilt!
      [20:18 minutes] How we took a panel and turned it into a gorgeous lap quilt with word art.
      [21:37 minutes] We’re teaching the basics this week because next week, we’re really going to have a blast!

      Please note: This blog is an archive from our parent company, Material Rewards. Any products, promotions, or sales are no longer available. This content is being shared for our quilting fans as a tutorial resource.

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