Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Making Four Patches

I recently discovered a way to make four patches that is a little different than the standard way of cutting four squares of equal size and sewing them together. This probably isn't a new method, but it was new to me so I thought I'd share.

For this method you start with two larger squares. For this tutorial I started with two four inch squares. This will make two four patch units with a finished size of 3". (Note: the traditional way to do this would be to cut four 2" squares and sew them together for a single finished 3" four patch unit.) If you start with different size squares, your finished unit will of course be a different size. The finished size of your four patch units will be 1" smaller than the cut size of your starting squares.

Two 4" squares
Arrange the squares right sides facing and sew a 1/4" seam on two opposite sides.

Sew on opposite sides
Cut this in half parallel to the sewn sides.

Cut in half
When you open these up they look like this. Press the seams open or to the same fabric on each unit. I pressed toward the darker fabric.

Half way through the process
Again arrange these right sides facing with the fabrics opposite. That is, pair up the darker fabric with the lighter fabric when you arrange them right sides together.

Lay right sides together again

Sew 1/4" seam on opposite sides perpendicular to the seams previously sewn.

Sew perpendicular to previously sewn seams
Cut this in half parallel to the seams you just sewed.

Cut in half again
When you open these out and press you have two identical four patches!

A pair of four patches
In the above two four patches, the seams will spin in opposite directions. If you need them to spin in the same direction then you have to fiddle with the first sewn seam when you sew on opposite sides the second time.

Seams have to go opposite ways on both sides
If you do this, then when you cut this in half your seams will all spin the same direction.

The back of the four patches with the seams spinning the same way
It doesn't make any difference on the front.

Front of the pair of four patches
However, if you will be sewing together a bunch of four patches and would like the seams to be opposing no matter how you turn them, then doing it this way is necessary. I used this method to make the quilt below.

Summer Kit Quilt - 2nd version
This is the second quilt I made from this kit. I ended up purchasing a second kit because I wanted to give the quilt as a gift but the first one is hanging as a sample at my LQS, Heartstrings & Heirlooms.


Anonymous said...

What a useful tutorial! Thanks very much!

Rosa said...

Love your colorful and beautiful quilt!
Thanks for the tips.Sure I will try it.

West Michigan Quilter said...

Great tutorial! Thanks.

Gene Black said...

Ah.. that is a new way for me. I usually do long strips and subdivide them to make four patches. Once the pieces are cut from the strips, it is the same.

Ann said...

I hadn't seen this method before either. Thanks for such good instructions.

Mama Pea said...

What a neat trick. I haven't seen that trick before! Nicely done and thanks for sharing!