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Big O Quilt Block Instructions

A Partial Seams Patchwork Design

The Big O quilt block tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 3x3, 9-patch

Our Big O quilt block is the second block in our series on the partial seams technique. This time we add connector corners at the end to change the look and create the 'O'.

If you'd prefer to skip partial seams, you can easily piece this block using the Shoofly block pattern. Simply change the color placement.

Big O looks terrific paired with an 'X' block for a 'kisses and hugs' quilt. Perfect for a young child or new baby.

Let's get started!

Construction Instructions

Seam allowances (SA) are all 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

Pressing: First press with the patches in the closed position to set the seams, melding the thread into the fabric. Then open the patches and press with the SA towards the dark.

Step 1: Cutting

The Big O quilt block drawing

Though I've shown this as a two color block, there's no reason you couldn't make it scrappy.

Just keep the color values close together in your light and dark fabric selections.

The choice is up to you as the designer!

for the
Big O Quilt Block
Finished Block Size
Fabric Qty 3” 4-1/2” 6” 9” 12”
1, 3 Light 5 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” 2”x2” 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” 3-1/2” x 3-1/2” 4-1/2” x 4-1/2”
2 Dark 4 1-1/2” x 2-1/2” 2” x 3-1/2” 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” 3-1/2” x 6-1/2” 4-1/2” x 8-1/2”
Unfinished Block Size 3-1/2” 4-1/2” 6-1/2” 9-1/2” 12-1/2”
Grid Size 1” 1-1/2” 2” 3” 4”

Step 2: Assembling the Big O quilt block

Unlike the Bright Hopes quilt block (the first in our partial seams series), this time the rectangles are added around the center square in a counter-clockwise fashion.

With right sides together (RST), align three sides of #1 with a #2.  We'll be stitching just half of the bottom side of this pair for now.

Align a #1 and #2 with right sides together

Using the photo below as a guide, stitch on the bottom edge from the middle of #1 (the black arrow) to the edge. I do not backstitch at the start. To secure these stitches I will overlap my stitching at the end of adding the rectangles.

Sew from the middle of #1 to the edge

Here you can see my red stitching...

The first seam is partially sewn


With RST, align the edges of the pieced #1/#2 with another #2. Stitch from edge to edge. No partial seams to stitch until the last of the rectangles is added.

Add the second #2 rectangleThe black arrow points to the first partial seam in red.

After sewing and pressing two #2s, the unit looks like this...

Three patches sewn together

Add the last two #2s in the same manner. Remember to press after each.

At this point your Big O looks like this.

One partial seam to attach the last rectangle

All that's left is to sew the remainder of the first #2. Use pins if it helps. Sew, remembering to overlap your stitches by a 1/4" or so (the black arrow).

Stitch remainder of your first seam


To finish the Big O, we'll use the connector corners technique.

Draw a diagonal line on the backside of all the #3 squares.

With RST, align one square in a corner and stitch on the line. Notice I've switched to my open toe applique foot. It's easier to see the line and where my needle is going!

Repeat for the remaining corners.

Trim the SA a 1/4" from your stitching, on the side closest to each corner. Below you can see the process.

Finish by pressing just like in the two lower corners.

That's it! Your Big O Quilt Block is finished and ready for your quilt!

A finished Big O quilt block

Other blocks that use Partial Seams piecing

Once you learn a new technique, it's a good thing to practice it a bit. That helps commit it to memory.

Below are more blocks on this site that use this technique. Click the image to go to the directions to make it.

Bright Hopes quilt block tutorial Double Star quilt block tutorial Night Vision quilt block

Return to the top of these Big O quilt block instructions

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