Big O Quilt Block Instructions

A Partial Seams Patchwork Design

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


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 (the first is 'Bright Hopes').

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, like the 'Cotton Boll', for a 'kisses and hugs' quilt. Perfect for a young child or new baby.

Let's get started!




General 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.

Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow to make them easy to find.


Step 1: Cutting for a Big O block

Big O quilt block designBig O design

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 groupings.

The choice is up to you as the designer!


Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Big O Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
3” 4½” 6” 9” 12”
1, 3 Light 5 1½” x 1½” 2”x2” 2½” x 2½” 3½” x 3½” 4½” x 4½”
2 Dark 4 1½” x 2½” 2” x 3½” 2½” x 4½” 3½” x 6½” 4½” x 8½”
Unfinished Block Size 3½” 4½” 6½” 9½” 12½”
Grid Size 1” 1½” 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 a #1 square with a #2 rectangle.  We'll be stitching just half of the bottom side of this pair for now.


Align a #1 and #2 with right sides togetherStitch a 1/4" seam from approximately the middle (short black line above) to the end of the patches.

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. These initial stitches are secured when you overlap your stitching at the end of adding the rectangles to the center square.


Sew from the middle of #1 to the edge


Here you can see my red stitching...


The first seam is partially sewn


Press.

With RST, align the edges of the pieced #1/#2 with another #2. Stitch from edge to edge. No more 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


Press.

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

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

With RST, align one square in a corner and stitch on the line (black arrow). 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


Share your work!


If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:

Please share your creations on social media with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns. Thank you!
  • On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns..
  • Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at julie@generations-quilt-patterns.com.

I love seeing your work!

Our readers do, too!


For even more blocks to make...

Click here to learn about my favorite quilt book resources that inspire my patchwork designs.

For you, are quilt block patterns like potato chips...

...you can't have just one?!!

Check the amazing resources I rely on for all the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of spot in YOUR quilting library, CLICK HERE.



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