Disappearing Nine Patch: Step by Step

I took a little dip into the traditional quilting realm this past with a simple disappearing nine patch quilt top.

I've been slightly obsessed with precuts lately- more specifically charm packs. SO. MANY. SQUARES! I've spent way too much money (accidentally) online... the Missouri Star Quilt Company is to blame this time! They have such a great selection of charm packs, jelly rolls, layer cakes, etc. and it makes it so hard for me to just pick one (or two or three).

Oddly enough, I ended up cutting yardage into 5" squares for this project. Charm packs are amazing, but I really wanted a specific color scheme and consistent pattern for this baby quilt instead of the scrappy look I'd get from a charm pack. I originally planned to pick up 9 fat quarters (which would give me 108 squares), but I found a beautiful floral print with butterflies, passport stamps and French script that just reminded me of the mama of the baby I'm making it for.

I bought enough of this pretty print for the backing and some accent squares, then matched up a tiny print with each of the colors in the fabric. I knew I wanted green, pale yellow, light blue, dusty grey and just a tad of pink. I bought half a yard of each one, plus extra blue for the binding, and got to cutting.

I cut a dozen 5x5" squares of each color, plus 24 each of the grey and floral prints for the "anchor" squares (the ones that wouldn't be cut into smaller pieces... more on this later). This gives me enough pieces for 12 quilt blocks at about 13" each, or roughly a 39" x 52" quilt.

Time Saver Tip: 
I probably could have saved a bit of time by sewing long 5" x WOF strips into groups of three, and then sub-cutting those and sewing three pieces together to make my blocks, but I wasn't entirely sure I wanted every block the exact same yet. Plus, I needed some corner matching practice.

I laid out the squares in the order I wanted to sew them together. I decided I would switch the two green fabrics for every other square, just to add a bit of interest to the finished pattern.

Chain-piecing the squares together makes this go nice and quick, and also keeps the pieces in the right order so you don't have to think too much. I did keep all the butterfly/floral/script print pieces going the same direction- this is a very directional print and I didn't want some of them to be upside-down or sideways.

I pressed my seams in alternating directions; inward on the upper and lower pieces and outward on the center strip (the pink fabric is pretty stiff, so it worked out well that way). Pressing the seams this way allows the seams to nest together nicely, and makes it simple to get really nice matching points. Just "lock" the two seams together, pin and sew!

And we have a nice nine patch block!

Here's where it gets fun. Now we slice the block into four pieces, right up the middle. I aligned my ruler to the edges of the center blocks, 2 1/4" in, which is half of the 4.5" square.

Now that we have four different little blocks, we can rotate them around and try out designs to decide what we like most.

There are lots of options here... and it's a bit hard to imagine what the whole quilt will look like by looking at a single block. I took pictures of each combo I liked, and then duplicated them in Photoshop to see the bigger picture.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

I decided to go with Option 1, with a slight variation in the placement of the two shades of green. Now that I look at it, I could have achieved a similar effect by choosing Option 2, but alternating the green squares made it a little less organized in the completed quilt top:

And it's done! I just need to pick up some batting so I can sandwich, quilt and bind this cutie. It's definitely different from anything I've really done before; the colors, prints and block style are all much more traditional than my normally modern aesthetic, but I like it! I think it will be perfect in little Miss Nora's nursery.

The blue binding will be an awesome touch!


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