Five Patch Quilt Block Instructions

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


Five Patch quilt bock tutorial

Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 9x9

The beginner-friendly Five Patch quilt block is made with strip-pieced 9 patches.

Like all blocks with a nine patch in the corner, you can easily create a chain design with the addition of a simple alternate block. Cutting instructions for that alternate block are found at the end of this page.

So what does it look like in a quilt? Six different quilt designs using this block are shared to inspire you!


Not quite the 'chain' block you were looking for? Click here for more blocks that form chain designs.





General Instructions


These abbreviations are used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • Bac - background fabric

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

Unless otherwise indicated, SA are pressed toward the darker fabric.


Step 1: Cutting

Five Patch quilt block design

Five Patch design

Choose fabrics with enough contrast between them so that the chains show up in the design.

For a 4-1/2" block, fabrics that read as solids are the best choice due to the small patch size. Save the large scale prints for larger blocks.

Patches #1-#6 are used in strip sets and are cut a bit longer than needed.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Five Patch Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
4 1/2" 9 "
1 Bac 2 1” x 9” 1 1/2” x 13”
2 M 1 1” x 9” 1 1/2” x 13”
3 M 2 1” x 5” 1 1/2” x 7”
4 Bac 1 1” x 5” 1 1/2” x 7”
5 Bac 1 1 1/2” x 9” 2 1/2” x 15”
6 D 1 1” x 9” 1 1/2” x 15”
7 Bac 1 2”sq 3-1/2”sq
Unfinished Block Size 5 " 9 1/2"
Grid Size 1/2" 1 "

Oliso Smart Iron


Step 2: Create the units for the Five Patch

Five Patch quilt block - nine patch units

Nine Patches

Make 4

With right sides together (RST) stitch a #1 to a #2. Stitch a #3 and a #4 to each other. Press.


Stitch the #1 and #2 together.The guide on my quarter inch foot makes sewing strip sets together virtually foolproof!

Alternating fabrics, add the second #1 to the #1/#2 strip set; add the second #3 to the #3/#4 pair. Press.

Straighten a short edge on each by lining up lines on your ruler with the seam lines (arrows)—this is also a quick double check that your SA was accurate.


Straighten the short edge of both strip setsStraightening the edge of the #1/#2/#1 patch

Use the chart below to subcut each strip set. Cut eight units from the #1/#2/#1 unit and four from the #3/#4/#3.

Nine Patch Units
Finished Block Size Stripset Width Subcut
Width
4-1/2” 2” 1”
9” 3 1/2” 1 1/2”

Arrange the subcut units into nine patches. This design has the lighter, background fabric in the corners. (below, left)


Stitch the nine patches.


With RST, join pairs together and press. Add the third unit to each pair (above, right) for a total of four 9-patches.


Five Patch quilt block - nine sides units

Sides

Make 4

With RST stitch the #5 and #6 together along the long edge. Press.


Stitch #5 and #6 together


Use the chart below to check that your stripset is the correct width after stitching.

Straighten a short edge with your rotary cutter.

Cut four units equal to the 'Subcut Width' below.

Side Units
Finished Block Size Stripset Width Subcut
Width
4-1/2” 2” 2”
9” 3 1/2” 3 1/2”

You now have...


The finished side unitsThere is a bit leftover on purpose.

Step 3: Assemble the Five Patch quilt block

Arrange the units to create the Five Patch design.


Arrange the units into rows


With RST, stitch the patches into rows. The SA nest nicely to make matching them a breeze.

SAs are pressed toward the Side units, i.e. away from the 9-patches and towards the solid center square.


The units are sewn into rows.


To finish the block, stitch the rows together. Press.

Your Five Patch quilt block looks like this!



Designing with the Five Patch quilt block


I've switched to a monochromatic color scheme for the patchwork designs that follow. The same exact coloring of the block is used for all six examples.

In this first one, Five Patch blocks are stitched edge-to-edge in a straight set. A nice secondary pattern appears at the corners of the blocks.

Five Patch, straight set
5x7

A simple sashing made of background fabric and a cornerstone in the medium value fabric is added to our design. Naturally, the secondary pattern changes. This design is a bit more open and airy.

Five Patch quilt design, straight set with sashing
5x7

Next, the blocks are turned on-point and set edge-to-edge with no sashing.

Five Patch quilt design, diagonal set
4x5

This time when the sashing is added, a dark value cornerstone is used.

Five Patch quilt design, diagonal set with sashing
4x5

In this last design, it's interesting to see how the sashing reduces the dominance of the dark square. I didn't expect that!

Note, too, that for all the quilt designs so far it doesn't matter whether there are even or odd numbers of blocks in the rows and columns. The design is symmetrical either way. That gives you more options when you're designing a quilt to fit a particular bed.


Adding an alternate block

Five Patch quilt design, alternate block

When paired with this simple alternate block a traditional-looking 'chain' design is created.

It's shown here first in a straight set. To maintain design symmetry you need odd numbers of blocks in the rows and columns.

Five Patch quilt design, straight set with alternate blocks
5x7

And now with the blocks on-point.

Five Patch quilt design, diagonal set with alternate blocks
4x5

Here the quilt is symmetrical regardless of the numbers of blocks in the rows and columns.


Cutting Chart for an Alternate Block


Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Five Patch Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~
Alternate Block Only

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
4 1/2" 9"
1M41” x 1” 1 1/2” x 1 1/2”
2 Bac2 1” x 4” 1 1/2” x 7 1/2”
3 Bac14” x 5” 7 1/2” x 9 1/2”
Unfinished Block Size 5"9 1/2"
Grid Size1/2”1”

Alternate quilt block

With RST sew a #1 to both ends of a #2, pressing SA toward #2. Repeat for a total of two.

Stitch one #1/#2/#1 to each long side of #3.  Press.

The alternate block is complete.


Click here for more blocks that form chain designs.



For more blocks to make, visit our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library.


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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