The 4 patch block is one of the most basic quilt blocks and, at first glance, you might think it’s too simple, it’s too basic, it’s not fancy enough. But, if you want to learn how to make those big, fancy quilts you need to know the basics, first, like how to make a 4 patch block. So, in the words of the great Julie Andrews…
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A, B, C…
And when you quilt you begin with the 4 patch!
What is a 4 Patch Quilt Block?
Like I said, a 4 patch quilt block is one of the most basic ‘building blocks’ of quilting. It’s constructed from 4 same-size squares, in 2, 3, or 4 different fabric patterns. So basically, when you’re finished, you have one big square that’s made out of 4 smaller squares.
Once you’ve made a few 4 patch blocks you can sew them together to make larger blocks. Make enough and you can make a whole quilt out of 4 patch blocks. Separate them with solid color background squares and you can create patterns in your quilt, like those fancy quilts you’ve itching to make.
But first.. you need to learn how to make a 4 patch block.
I like to work with pre-cut fabrics so I’m going to make my 4 patch block with some 5 x 5″ squares I have left over from a charm pack. You can cut your own squares from yardage or other pre-cuts if you’d like, just make sure they’re all the same size.
Choose 4 contrasting squares. Each one of these will be one of the four patches in your finished block.
Place 2 contrasting squares right sides together, and do the same with the other 2 squares.
On one side of each stack, draw a line directly down the middle. If you’re using 5″ squares then your line will be drawn at 2 1/2 inches.
Make sure your squares are lined up edge to edge and sew a 1/4″ seam on both sides of the line. Repeat on the other stack.
Now, cut the squares apart using the line you drew as your cutting line. Repeat on the other stack. Open up your new squares and give them a good press so they lie flat.
You should have 4 squares that look like this:
Now it’s time to match up the opposites and complete the 4 patch. Lay one pair of rectangles on top of a different pair of rectangles, right sides facing and seams going the same direction.
On one side of each stack, draw a line directly down the middle, perpendicular to the seam line. Again, if you’re using 5″ squares then your line will be drawn at 2 1/2 inches.
Now, make sure your squares are lined up edge to edge again and sew a 1/4″ seam on both sides of the line.
Cut the squares apart using the line you drew as the cutting line.
You now have four 4 patch quilt blocks. Open them up and give them a good press. Square ’em up to a 4″ square and you’re done!