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Economy Quilt Block - 10" finished paper piecing pattern

by Pamela

A Square in a Square in a Square AKA 'The Economy Quilt Block'

A Square in a Square in a Square AKA 'The Economy Quilt Block'

Pamela writes...

I am looking for a square in a square in a square that is paper pieced and is 10.5" unfinished.

Any chance you have one or would make one?

Julie replies...

Hi Pamela,

One of the names for this block is the 'Economy' quilt block. There is a tutorial on the website for it in 2", 3", 4" and 6" finished sizes. (The link to it is a bit further on down this page.)

I can completely appreciate your desire for a paper pieced 10" finished block. I much prefer the accuracy of paper piecing over that of traditional piecing for this type of block.

In my humble opinion, it's also more efficient to print a pattern than marking connector corner squares or cutting patches that are all rounded to a rotary-cutter friendly size—which is what this block requires.

However, the size of your block exceeds the standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper used in your home printer.

As a rule I don't provide foundation patterns that exceed 8" wide. Even an 8" pattern is pushing it because many printers do not print to the very edge of the paper and the seam allowance is cut off.

For bigger blocks, the paper patterns need to be taped together. That takes extra time and the patterns must be lined up exactly for accuracy.

But rules were made to be broken...

...and in quilting, many rules can be viewed simply as guidelines.

There's nothing like trying it out for yourself to test whether or not the technique works for you! Knowing what you like based on experience makes you a better quilter.

So to help in this endeavor, I created a 10" finished (10-1/2" unfinished) Economy quilt block paperpiecing pattern. Click here to download the 2-pages you need for each block.

Use the latest version of Adobe to do so. Click here to get it if you don't already have it. The dashed placement guides show up reliably in Adobe—not so much in other PDF programs. Don't know why.

If you have any problems printing, refer back to our Free Paper Piecing Patterns Library page for assistance.

Use a paper intended for paper piecing

I use and recommend Carol Doak's Foundation Paper.

It's a light weight newsprint and is easier to remove than your ordinary printer paper. (Remember, part of the pattern will be stitched through two layers of paper and then there's the tape holding it together.)

After printing the two pages, trim away some of the excess paper past the dashed AB line on the second page.

Tape the two pages together so that the solid AB and dashed AB lines are directly on top of each other. You might need to hold them up to a window or use a light box to do so. I suggest tape and not gluestick. For that big an area, the moisture in the gluestick rumples the paper. (That's kind of a pain.) I prefer Scotch Brand Magic Tape for this job. Just remember don't iron the tape—it will melt. There'll be a 1" overlap of the pattern.

The two pattern pages must be taped together

Choose your fabrics and cut the following patches:

Cutting Chart for 10” Economy Block
FabricPatch #Qty10”Sub Cut
A115-1/2” sqna
B224-7/8” sqSymbol for a half square triangle
C326-3/8”sqSymbol for a half square triangle
Grid Size5”na

Cut all the #2 and #3 squares in half once on the diagonal to create four triangles each. All are larger than needed.

If you are making several blocks, I suggest using these dimensions for the first block and then adjusting if you prefer a larger or smaller patch.

Click here for the step-by-step instructions to make this Economy quilt block.

Good luck on your project, Pamela. I'd love to see it when you're finished. You can share your thoughts and photos of it here.


Julie Baird

Comments for Economy Quilt Block - 10" finished paper piecing pattern

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by: A. Walker

Thank you for sizing this up. This is exactly what I needed for a children's quilt with embroidery in the middle square. I wasn't looking forward to all the precise cutting. I'm a paperpiecer to the core.

Well done.

muliple copies
by: Anonymous

I go to dollar Tree buy a kids big news paper tablet. Cut it down for the over sized pattern. Take it to Staples, or office supply place where they do copying. Very cheap under 2.00. For 25 copies.

From the Editor: Good Share!

Thank you!


Taping together
by: Karen J.

Instead of tape, I like to use those endless address labels that appear in my mailbox. They don't gum the needle and are easy to sew through. Especially useful when the paper tears while stitching (or ripping!)

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