An Amish Squares quilt block is one of many variations on the Courthouse Steps patchwork design.
It's quicker to piece than a standard Log Cabin because you can add patches (logs) to two opposite sides before having to jump up to press. This makes for much faster piecing without sacrificing accuracy.
In this tutorial you'll find:
It's time to cut up and sew!
A couple abbreviations are used in this lesson to make an Amish Squares block. They are:
1/4" SA are used through this tutorial.
When instructed to press, first press the patches in the closed position just as they came off your sewing machine. This sets the seam, melding the fibers of the threads into the fibers of the fabric.
At this point the SA can be pressed either:
Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow like this throughout the tutorial to make them easy to find.
There are two articles on the site that may be of interest to you:
Let's cut up and sew!
Sample Size: 7" finished / 7-1/2" unfinished
Design Type: Log Cabin
Please label all your patches. We refer to their numbers throughout this tutorial.
To print a copy of just the block design here and cutting chart below to use at your cutting table, click here.
I've used a creamy Moda Fabrics Grunge for my light fabric.
Do you have any Grunge in your stash? It's become a staple in mine.
The turquoise is from, I believe, an older line from Craftsy.
Cutting Chart for an~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||Med||1||1½'' x 1½''||2" x 2"||2½'' x 2½''|
|2||Light||2||1½'' x 1½''||2" x 2"||2½'' x 2½''|
|3||Light||2||1½'' x 3½''||2" x 5"||2½'' x 6½''|
|4||Med||2||1½'' x 3½''||2" x 5"||2½'' x 6½''|
|5||Med||2||1½'' x 5½''||2" x 8"||2½'' x 10½''|
|6||Dark||2||1½'' x 5½''||2" x 8"||2½'' x 10½''|
|7||Dark||2||1½'' x 7½''||2" x 11"||2½'' x 14½''|
|Unfinished Block Size||7½"||11"||14½"|
With RST add a #2 square to the left and right sides of #1. (The red arrow points to my 'spider'—a scrap piece of fabric that I start my stitching on. The first stitch on to the cut patches is so much nicer that way.)
Choose your pressing method for your SAs—either away from the #1 square or open. In this sample, the SAs are open to eliminate bulk and to prevent the darker fabric from shadowing through the lighter one.
Shadowing can happen where you add a light patch to a darker one and the patches are pressed toward the lighter fabric.
By pressing the seams open (shown below) we won't need to worry about shadowing. There's never a dark seam allowance directly below a lighter patch.
Add a #3 to each long side of the #2/#1/#2 unit. If your seam allowance is exact, these patches will match exactly.
If not, adjust your seam allowance now to make the rest of the block effortless to piece.
Use the chart below to check the accuracy of your stitching before proceeding to the next round of logs.
Block Dimensions During Construction
Amish Squares Block Size
|Patch #3||Patch #5||Patch #7|
|7"||3 1/2"||5 1/2"||7 1/2"|
|14"||6 1/2"||10 1/2"||14 1/2"|
Here's our Amish Squares from the front after completing the first round.
Continue with the next round of logs.
With RST, add a #4 to opposite sides that contain both #2 and #3 patches—the first log in a new round is always added to a pieced side, not a solid cut side.
Now that the block is a bit bigger, it's easy to pin the patches for both sides at one time (if you're a pinner, like me).
With RST, add a #5 to the two remaining opposite sides.
Two rounds complete! One left to go.
The #6 and #7 patches are added in the same manner.
One final press.
Can you see how adding a log to both sides before needing to press makes this version of a Log Cabin so much quicker to piece?
It's one of my favorite block-types to make when in need of some mindless sewing time to unwind!
Here is our finished Amish Squares from the front...
...and from the back so you can see the final result of pressing the seams open.
When they're pressed open like this, you never have to worry about dark fabrics shadowing through lighter ones.
And there's less bulk overall.
Well worth the effort, IMHO.