From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
Our New Irish Chain quilt block is a variation on the Double Irish chain.
But instead of being drawn on a typical 5x5 grid, here we use a 9x9.
The block is assembled using traditional nine patch techniques. That greatly simplifies the process because there's only two units to construct.
You won't need any luck to make this New Irish Chain!
Let's get started.
Not quite the 'chain' block you were looking for? Click here to find more blocks that form chain designs.
These abbreviations are used on this page:
SA are 1/4" and pressed towards the darker fabric unless otherwise instructed.
Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow throughout the tutorial to make them easy for you to find. Nested SAs make matching seams so much easier!
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Sample Size: 9" finished / 9½" unfinished
Design Type: Irish Chain
Attributed to: American Woman
AKA: On the Square - Hearth & Home
The strips for Patches #1, #2 and #3 are cut a bit longer than needed so that you've got enough to straighten the edges.
As you play with the patchwork design, you might consider using a single dark fabric for #1 and then a variety of like-value, though different colors, for #2.
Have some fun scrapping it up!
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||Dark||2||1'' x 9''||1½'' x 13''||2'' x 17''|
|2||Med||3||1'' x 9''||1½'' x 13''||2'' x 17''|
|3||Bac||1||1'' x 9''||1½'' x 13''||2'' x 17''|
|4||Bac||4||1½'' x 2''||2½'' x 3½''||3½'' x 5''|
|5||Bac||1||2'' x 2''||3½'' x 3½''||5'' x 5''|
|Unfinished Block Size||5 ''||9½''||14''|
Make 1 each: #2/#1/#2 and #1/#2/#3
Since the same groups of patches are used in both the sides and 9-patches, we'll start with our strip sets.
With right sides together (RST), sew a #1 to a #2 strip. Repeat for a total of two pairs.
Press with the SA toward the medium, #2 fabric to avoid shadowing later on. The medium for this sample block is the orange dotty fabric.
With RST, add a #2 to one pair so that the fabrics alternate—medium-dark-medium or #2/#1/#2.
With RST, add a #3 to the medium (#2) side of the remaining strip set so that you have a #1/#2/#3 or dark-medium-background fabric arrangement.
SA are again pressed toward the medium (#2) fabric.
Use the chart below to check that your sewn stripsets are the correct width. Make any adjustments now, if needed.
|Stripset Width after stitching||SubCut Width|
Straighten one short edge of each stripset with your rotary cutter as shown below.
From the chart above, find your finished block size and corresponding 'Subcut Width'. Cut each into 8 segments.
For our 9" finished sample, the Strip Sets measure 3½" wide and are subcut into eight 1½" segments.
We're now ready to stitch the units for our New Irish Chain quilt block.
Arrange and stitch the subcuts as shown below, first joining one pair and then adding the third to it.
The two SAs that join the subcuts are pressed toward the center so that they will nest with other SA.
With RST, sew a #2/#1/#2 unit to #4 rectangle, repeating for a total of 4.
SA are pressed away from #4 to prevent shadowing.
Arrange your units into the Irish Chain design. The dark #1 patches all point in towards the center.
With RST, stitch the units in each rows together.
Press the SA toward the side units.
Sew the rows together. The SA in the nine-patches and sides nest. Pin if it helps you to keep them aligned—I do :D !!!
There are many patterns on this website that form chain designs just like this New Irish Chain. Each of them has either a four- or nine-patch in the corner to create the design.
Note, too, that sometimes it's all four corners. Other times it's only two diagonal corners. Then the chains run in only one direction through your quilt design.
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