Skill Level: Confident Beginner
The Four Crowns quilt block is easy to stitch when it's paper pieced.
Perfect points every time!
If you regularly cut your patches larger and then trim the units to the exact size after stitching, this technique will save you time, too.
There's much less trimming AND you create more accurate units at the same time. Sweet!
This block is closely related to the Union Square quilt block—all the same units are used. Just the fabric placement is reversed and then each border is flipped 180 degrees.
Let's get started on our Four Crowns block!
These abbreviations are used on this page:
SA are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.
When instructed to press, do it first with the sewn patches flat, just as they are sewn, then open the patch and press again, from the front this time.
Choose the finished size of your Four Crowns. Click the link below to print.
Cut out the patterns just beyond the dashed lines.
Sample Size: 6" finished / 6½" unfinished
Attribution: KC Star
AKA: Effective Square (Ladies' Home Journal), Union (Ladies Art Company), Union Block (Nancy Cabot), Union Square (Carrie Hall and Rose Kretsinger)
Design Type: Uneven 9-patch large center
You'll need good contrast between your light, medium, and dark fabrics.
Choose small scale prints or fabrics that read as solids (or are solids) for the smaller half square triangles so that the points don't get lost.
With the exception of the first patch, all the rest are cut generously. Make a few blocks. Then, fine tune the patch sizes if it'll make piecing easier FOR YOU.
And finally, don't forget to subcut #2-7 (last column on the right—#4 is cut twice on the diagonal; the rest are cut once diagonally to form the necessary triangles for the sides units).
Cutting Chart for a~ Paper Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size||Sub|
|1||Dark||1||2” x 2”||2½" x 2½"||3½" x 3½"||--|
|2||Light||2||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2¾" x 2¾"||3½" x 3½"|
|3||Medium||2||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅜" x 3⅜"||4⅜" x 4⅜"|
|4||Medium||1||3⅛" x 3⅛"||3⅝" x 3⅝"||4⅝" x 4⅝"|
|5, 7||Light||8||2⅛" x 2⅛"||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"|
|6||Medium||4||2⅛" x 2⅛"||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"|
|8||Dark||4||1¾" x 1¾"||2” x 2”||2½" x 2½"||--|
|Unfinished Block Size||5”||6½"||9½"||na|
Use some Elmer's Glue Stick to attach the #1 patch backside to the unprinted side of the pattern.
With right sides together (RST) match the long edge of a #2 to #1.
Stitch, starting approximately a 1/4" before and ending a 1/4" after the solid line. (white arrows) Future lines of stitching secure these seams...just like in traditional piecing.
Repeat for the opposite #2. Press. (For the 4-1/2" block you may need to add/press each #2 individually because the pieces are so small.)
Add the remaining #2 in the same fashion.
Use a scissor to trim away any dog ears.
After pressing, it's time to trim to establish the next placement lines.
To do this, lay the unit printed side up on your cutting mat. Lay the edge of the ruler directly on the sewing line between the #2 and #3 patches.
Crease the paper with your fingernail along the line.
Lift the ruler and fold back the paper. You need to pull the pattern away from the stitches.
Replace the ruler, this time with the 1/4" marking on the folded edge of the pattern. Trim away the excess fabric.
Repeat for the remaining three sides.
Next position the long edge of a #3 with the freshly cut edge of the #2s.
Add the opposite #3. Press.
Add the final two #3 in the same manner.
After pressing, we'll trim the block to the needed size.
With the printed side up on your cutting mat, place the 1/4" line of your ruler on the solid black outline around the perimeter of this unit. Trim. Repeat for the remaining sides.
This is the perfect center for our Four Crowns quilt block.
Make 2 short and 2 long
Use a bit of your glue stick adhere the back side of a #4 in position on the unprinted side of each of the four border patterns between the placement guides.
With RST, match the long edge of a #5 to #4.
When the point of the #5 is opposite the corner on the pattern (white arrow) your patch is in perfect position.
To prevent the darker #4's SA from shadowing through to the top, nudge the cut edge of #5 just an teeny-tiny bit past the cut edge of the #4 (black arrow).
Stitch and repeat for the second #5. Press.
Trim the seam allowance of the #5s just like you did for the #2 patches in the center.
Add the #6s and #7s to all four border units, and then the #8s to the two longer borders, pressing and trimming seam allowances as you go.
After all the sewing is complete, then trim the units to size by placing the 1/4" line of your ruler on the solid black line at the edge of the block. Trim with your rotary cutter. Repeat for all sides.
Arrange the sewn units into rows. Make sure that all the points in the borders point to the outside edge of the blocks.
With RST, stitch the short borders to the left and right side of the center. Press the SA toward the center. Pinning helps keep the cut edges even as you sew.
With RST, stitch the rows together. Use pins to help match the seams.
With all the pointy action going on in our Four Crowns, the seams can get rather lumpy. Try our favorite pressing technique for amazingly flat blocks. It's really simple.
Your Four Crowns quilt block is complete!