A Partial Seams Patchwork Design
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!
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.
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!
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|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”|
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.
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.
Here you can see my red stitching...
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.
After sewing and pressing two #2s, the unit looks like this...
Add the last two #2s in the same manner. Remember to press after each.
At this point your Big O looks like this.
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).
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!
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.
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:
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