The nine patch quilt block is common in traditional, contemporary and modern quilts. Set off the nine patches with sashing, or sew them together to form an overall patchwork. Plan the nine patch block with coordinating or complementary fabrics, or make a block with your scraps for a scrappy nine patch quilt. Once you know how to make a nice patch quilt block, you can try some of the variations, shown below.
How to Calculate Nine Patch Quilt Squares
Because you are sewing same size blocks together, you can make the nine patch block any size without complicated math! Just determine the finished size of your block, then divide by 3 and add 1/2 inch for seam allowances! The calculation is: (finished size of block divided by three) + 1/2″ = size of cut units for the nine patch quilt block.
- 3″ finished block, cut 1-1/2″ squares
- 4-1/2″ finished block, cut 2″ squares
- 6″ finished block, cut 2-1/2″ squares
- 7-1/2″ finished block, cut 3″ squares
- 9″ finished block, cut 3-1/2″ squares
- 12″ finished block, cut 4-1/2″ squares
- And so on . . . .
Nine Patch Quilt Block Variations
There are variations of the nine patch quilt block, like the disappearing nine patch, where you make the basic block and then cut them in quarters and sew them back together again. See How to Make A Disappearing Nine Patch Baby Quilt.
Friendship Star Quilt block uses half square triangles as well as solid squares in a nine patch layout.
Churn Dash Quilt block uses half square triangles, one solid square and four squares that are made up from two rectangles, in a nine patch layout.
The Ohio Star Quilt block uses the quarter square triangle block and squares.
The Indiana Puzzle Quilt block uses half square triangles surrounding a square-in-a-square block in a nine patch layout.
The Variable Star Quilt block uses split quarter square triangles and squares.
The Calico Puzzle Quilt block uses squares, then places half square triangles in the corners.
The Air Castle Quilt block uses half square triangles, square-in-a-square as well as split quarter square triangles.
The Simplex Star Quilt block uses half square triangles and squares.
The Shoo Fly Quilt block uses half square triangles and squares.
Same pieces as above, The Eccentric Star Quilt block uses half square triangles and squares, but makes a very different quilt block.
The Virginia Worm Fence Quilt block uses units made from two fabrics.
The Spool Quilt block is another that uses half square triangles and squares.
Swamp Angel Quilt block uses quarter square triangles, half square triangles and a center square.
The basic nine patch layout has so many options! They work well together in quilts, and by just making different fabric choices can look so different. Here are four finished nine patch blocks in the same colors.
A layout option is to add sashing between the blocks. Still exploring different options, we do not have to sew them together (yet).
Here is another solid color option for the basic nine patch block layout.
I love vintage linens and quilts. I wish they could tell stories. Here is a strip of vintage nine patch blocks that were carefully cut from a quilt – see the bottom of the block? There is a very small strip of fabric. I will incorporate these into a quilt at some point in time – they are lovely!
Browse through more quilt tutorials on Create Whimsy.