Just as it was for Four Patches, the secret to the perfect Nine Patch is all about ironing seams so that they butt when they are joined.
Let’s make this one:
Cutting Individual Squares
Cut five A squares and four B squares of the required size.
Chain piecing, join a B square to only three of the A squares, right sides together, with a scant ¼” seam. No need to press, just yet. The result will be:
Next, take the remaining A and B squares and, chain piecing, join them to these units, right sides together, with a scant ¼” seam:
Your result will be:
Cut A and B strips of the appropriate width, and join them into A/B/A and B/A/B units. Note you would need twice the length of B/A/B strips, as there are two of these units. Once your strips are joined, right sides together, with a scant ¼” seam, press every seam towards the darker fabric.
Cut across your pre-joined strips to create the units needed for the Nine-Patch:
You will achieve the same result as above, only more quickly!
To make a standard Nine Patch, the width of the unit cut from pre-joined strips is the same as the width of the original strips!
Press all seams towards the dark fabric so that the seams butt-up.
Join the two B/A/B units to your the A/B/A unit with butted seams, right sides together, with a scant ¼” seam.
The direction of the final, central seam is optional. Be guided by the placement of the block in the larger scheme, and wherever possible, iron to facilitate butting the seam joints.
Just as was so for Four Patches, you can now apply this methodology to all kinds of Nine Patch blocks. As long as a block has an underlying 3 x 3 grid, no matter how many pieces, the basic principle applies. It is merely repeated over and over, each Nine Patch laying adjacent to the next. As long as you keep pressing seams in pairs of opposite directions, piecing will be smooth sailing.
Try these out. Each block has an underlying 3 x 3 grid, and can be pieced as a Nine Patch.
Cross and Chains
Storm at Sea
Brackman, B. (2012) BlockBase Version 2.2
The Electric Quilt Company: Ohio, USA
Sometimes, it’s not obvious which direction is the ‘dark’ with complicated blocks like those above. Just remember the basic ironing plan is:
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