Things I’ve Learned from Carol: 9 Patches

How to Correctly Sew a 9 Patch

Sew together three sets of two squares, right sides together, using a leader piece to sew on and off. (you should end up with three sewn pieces)

Important tip:  Don’t clip the threads between patches, and don’t press them yet.

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Sew on the last block for each row.  Again, don’t clip threads, and don’t press.

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match edges
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sew on third square of each row

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Match the first two rows, right sides together.  Adjust the fabric pieces so that they match on the first seam line in the middle. They should “kiss” each other.  As you sew the rows together, flip the seam allowance up away from you for the first square. This allows the corners to “snuggle” in together nicely.  Use your stiletto and hold the fabric on that middle seam allowance. Gently pull the fabric so that the two pieces “settle” into their proper, matching spots.

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Notice how the seams “kiss” each other.
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Top seam allowance is flipped up, away from you, and bottom seam allowance is flipped down, towards you.

Once you’ve sewn to the middle seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again.  The second square of the row is opposite:  Flip the top seam allowance down and towards you, the bottom up and away from you.  Because this “feels” funny for the fabric pieces, they will likely slip a little.  Hold the seams firmly, or better yet, put a pin ahead of the matched seams.  Once you’ve sewn to the second seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again, this time matching and then holding the bottoms of the fabric.

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Top seam allowance is flipped down and towards you, bottom seam allowance is flipped up and away from you.
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Placing a pin in front of, or ahead of, the seam allows the fabric to remain in place better.

Repeat this process with the third row of the block.

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You can see by this picture that I still need to work on getting those second seam allowances to snuggle better.   You don’t need to unpick the entire row, however!  Just a few stitches ahead of and behind those mis-matched seam allowances.  Re-position them, remembering to let them “kiss and snuggle.” Re-pin, and re-sew.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Pressing a 9-Patch

Similar to pressing a 4-patch, shown here, correctly pressing a 9-patch will give you flatter results.

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Start by clipping a thread from the seam allowance on the raw edge side.  Then, carefully open the center seam allowance so that it lays flat, and mimics a 4-patch.
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Press the seams one at a time, going around as if a clock.  The seams should lay down based on how you’ve opened up the center little 4-patches.

I finished my 9-patch off by adding a cute Around the World sort of border.  I love how it looks!

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Let’s Bee Social!

Things I’ve Learned from Carol: Four Patches

So… (pun intended)… I have pieced many a quilt.  I’ve been quilting for at least 20 years (yes, I started quilting while still in my mother’s womb!) and until last month, I didn’t realize how many bad habits I had, or even that although I had taught myself adequately, my techniques needed work.  And some things I have been doing for all these years were just plain wrong.  I could never figure out why my blocks would never come out square and the size the pattern would tell me it should be.  Instead of investigating, (remember I am the LAZY quilter of this bunch!) I just chalked it up to the weight of the thread, or the weave of the fabric, or rulers that scooted, or whatever other excuse we have all made for getting wonky squares.

And then I sewed with Carol.  And she taught me how to finally get a block to come out square and flat, and even have matching seams.

I pass along this information for two reasons.  The first is selfish:  I learn best when I have to regurgitate information and teach it to others.  The second is more altruistic:  I  simply hope that it will help someone out there in cyberspace take one more baby step on their journey to being a better quilter.

How to Correctly Sew a Four Patch

Sew together two sets of two squares, right sides together, using a leader piece to sew on and off. (you should end up with two sewn pieces)

Don’t iron the first two pieces you have sewn together!  (This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT step I never knew!)

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Sew them first to the other two patches, matching the top of your two pieces.

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Use a leader, sew onto the fabric and stop.

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Adjust the fabric pieces so that they match on the seam line in the middle. They should “kiss” each other.

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The seam allowance of the top piece should always face away from you and the bottom towards you. This will allow the fabric to “fall” or “snuggle” into it’s correct position.

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Use your stiletto and hold the fabric on that middle seam allowance. Gently pull the fabric so that the two pieces “settle” into their proper, matching spots.

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Once you’ve sewn to the middle seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again, this time matching and then holding the bottoms of the fabric.

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Sew off onto your leader.

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To iron your four patch:

Clip one of the seams from the seam allowance of the middle, bulky part of the patch. This will allow the seams to be pressed the correct direction.

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 Looking from the back, seam allowances should go clock wise around the square. So, press one down towards you (just the seam, NOT the whole patch), then move to the next one going clockwise around.

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Because you clipped that seam, the center seam allowances should now open up and lay flat- no more bulk!  It’s like magic! 🙂

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Once the seams are pressed, press again (from the back still), gently pulling the corners into square position.

Flip the four patch over and press again on the seams, going clockwise.

 

Pull the pieces gently to allow the iron to make sure the seam is nice and flat with no “lips.”

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Voila!  That is one good looking four-patch!

*A huge Shout-Out to my 16 year old photographer!*

Let’s Bee Social!