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.
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.
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.
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:
For Fabric B, the center side squares:
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'.
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.
With RST, aligning the short side and one long edge, stitch the remaining B patch to the A side(white and black print).
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.
The resulting unit looks kind of strange, don't you think? But it's correct!
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.
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".
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.
Cut this down to a 2" wide unit.
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.
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...!
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".