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 are 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 for 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.
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|
|4 1/2"||9"||13 1/2"|
|1||D||2||1” x 9”||1 1/2” x 13”||2” x 17”|
|2||M||3||1” x 9”||1 1/2” x 13”||2” x 17”|
|3||Background||1||1” x 9”||1 1/2” x 13”||2” x 17”|
|4||Background||4||1-1/2” x 2”||2 1/2” x 3 1/2”||3 1/2” x 5”|
|Unfinished Block Size||5"||9 1/2"||14"|
|Grid Size||1/2"||1"||1 1/2"|
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.
|Width of Strip Set|| Subcut|
|9 "||3 1/2”||1 1/2”|
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.
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, repeating for a total of 4. SA are press 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.
Click any image below to go directly to instructions to make that block.
You're sure to find the perfect blocks for your next quilt in our Free Quilt Block Patterns library.
Just click the image to the left and go there now.
Strapped for time?
Then Pin It without delay and come back when you have time to indulge your creativity!
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
Can you tell?
It's in color.
It's got a ton of blocks.
What's not to love?
Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.
This book is no longer in print.
If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.
Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.
Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.
And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!