A Single Nine Patch Quilt Block

YES! It can be strip pieced!

Technique #3: Four strips = One 9-Patch

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You CAN strip piece single 9 patch quilt blocks

Sometimes a single nine patch quilt block is all that's needed in a block like the Daisy Chain, Heart or Mrs. Keller's Nine Patch shown below.

Other times a super scrappy pattern calls for lots of nine-patches...and they are all SUPPOSED TO BE DIFFERENT.

Who wants to cut all those individual squares???

Not me, that's for sure!

And I bet you don't either.

With a little ingenuity and our handy M.A.T.H. cutting chart, you'll be strip piecing these little bite size wonders in no time.


Daisy chain quilt block Heart quilt block Mrs. Keller's Nine Patch quilt block

A sampling of blocks that use a single nine patch quilt block
Daisy Chain (l), Heart (center), Mrs. Keller's Nine Patch (r)




The Technique


You can either use the formulas below or just print the cutting chart and choose your finished block size.

I'll run through an example to show you that the formula only looks icky...it's not really though...promise! It's all based on the grid size of the block and then adding a little wiggle room for trimming.

The Formula

The cut Strip Width (SW is the finished block size divided by 3 plus 1/2" for seam allowances (SA).

Cut one each of the following lengths:

From Fabric A (corners and center squares)

- ( 3 x SW ) + 1"
- ( 2 x SW ) + 1"

From Fabric B (4 side squares)

- ( 3 x SW ) + 1"
- ( 1 x SW ) + 1/2"


I suggest that you write down the steps as you do them. It's easier to keep track of the calculations and much faster to double check your math.

Step 1: Calculate/cut your patches


Nine patch quilt block drawing

For this example we'll create a 4-1/2" finished block.

The calculations are...

Finished Block Size = 4.5"
Grid Size for block = 4.5" ÷ 3 = 1.5"
SW = 1.5" + 0.5" = 2"

For a 4-1/2" finished nine-patch, cut 2" wide strips from two fabrics. To calculate the lengths for each fabric, substitute 2" into the equations for SW.

For Fabric A, corner and center squares:

  • ( 3 x 2" ) + 1.0" = 7"
  • ( 2 x 2" ) + 1.0" = 5"

For Fabric B, the center side squares:

  • ( 3 x 2" ) + 1.0" = 7"
  • ( 1 x 2" ) + 0.5" = 2.5"

If you printed the cutting chart, you'll find these same numbers under the 4.5" finished block size.

These are the patches for this block laid out the way they'll be sewn. The white/black is my 'A'; the blue is my 'B'.


Cut strips for strip piecing a single nine patch block

Step 2: First two strips


With right sides together (RST) stitch with a 1/4" seam the long edges of two 7" A and B strips. (All SAs are 1/4" for this block.)

Press, first flat to set the seam and then open with the seam allowance (SA) towards the darker fabric (white arrow). In this example the darker one is the B fabric.


Join the two longest strips

Step 3: Finish complete the stripset


With RST, aligning the short side and one long edge, stitch the remaining B patch to the A side(white and black print).


Add the short 'B' strip


Press as before.

With RST, and again aligning the short edges and one longer edge, stitch the remaining A to the longest B side of the strip set. Press as before.


Add the remaining A strip to the opposite side


The resulting unit looks kind of strange, don't you think? But it's correct!


The finished strip set before trimming. Wonky looking, isn't it?

Step 4: Create the nine patch


Square up the short edge made up of two As and one B by aligning a line on your ruler (white arrow) with one of the seam lines. Trim with your rotary cutter.

Straighten the edge before cutting the sub-units


Flip the block (or the cutting mat if you're using a small one) 180 degrees so that the strip-set is in the proper position and cut two units from the left hand side that are the 2" wide or the SW (we calculated this number in Step 1).

If you're working with the cutting chart, you'll find this number in the last row marked "Sub-cut/SW".


The first two sub-cut units


Those four white/black squares are the outside corners of this unit.

Now remove (white arrow below) that scrap of white from the remainder of the unit. The white circle shows the remaining straggly threads. 

Straighten one of its long edges just like we did before with your rotary cutter.


Prep the remaining patch before trimming to size


Cut this down to a 2" wide unit.


The third unit is ready

Step 5: Stitch the nine patch quilt block together


The units are all ready for assembling. The waste is on the right below. As you practice this method, you may find that you can add a bit less than the 1" and 1/2" to the formula for squaring up and trimming.


The units are laid out in order. Not much fabric wasted!


Because we've pressed to the dark, the seams nest and make matching a breeze. Use pins if you need to (I do!).

The finished nine patch quilt block in all it's glory...!


Your finished nine patch all ready to be sewn into your quilt project

The promised cutting chart...!

Click here for a free cutting chart for this technique.


Click on the image to the right to download the free cutting chart for this nine patch quilt block technique. It has the instructions for finished block sizes: 3", 4-1/2", 6" 7-1/2", 9" and 12".



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