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4-Patch Quilt Blocks

4 patch quilt block

The 4 Patch quilt block is one of the first blocks that quilters learn how to make. You can strip piece this block very quickly, or you can sew them together one-by-one using 4 squares of a similar size.

If you want to piece them one at a time you start by sewing two blocks together. Then you sew another two blocks together. Then you sew the long seam to connect both of them.

When you strip piece 4-Patch you sew two long strips together, and then cut them apart the same size as you cut them. If you used 2 1/2 inch strips, then after two of them are sewn together, you cut them apart every 2 1/2 inches.

After making another similar sized strip set with different fabrics, and cutting it, you then join the units.

If you want you block to lay flat, you need to pull a few stitches on of the rows you just crossed. See the Pinwheel Block for a view of which stitches to remove.

With the 4- patch Block you are only looking at 4 pieces of fabric coming together. With the pinwheel block there are 8 of them. However, the stitches that you remove are the same ones.

The 4-patch block is often used in the center of a more complex quilt block. It is used to break up quilt squares into smaller units. Another popular layout is placing 4-patches and blocks alternately, as in the picture at the top of the page.

Value is important with 4-patches. It is important in the block, and in the design layout. Again, in the above picture notice how the placement of the dark part of the squares creates vertical movement.

The pictures below illustrate the front, back, and a close-up of the pinwheel center at the back when the stitches are removed and the seams are pressed in opposite directions.

Not all quilters go to the extra work of splitting the long seam. Try it both ways. If you don't need to do it, you can save the time.

Front and Back

picture of a 4-patch quilt block    the back of a 4-patch quilt block

Below is another view of the back of a 4-patch quilt block with the center opened by pressing the seams in different directions.

4-patch quilt block with center opened.

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