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The Four Patch

4-patch quilt block

The 4-Patch considered to be  the easiest quilting unit to construct.  However, it can still be difficult for the beginner. Here are some tips to make it perfect.

The Four Patch is made from four squares of fabric.  This picture shows a simple Four Patch,  which usually makes use of contrast with a dark and a light fabric in opposite corners.

In the picture  you can see that what is important is that the corners of the squares all line up equally in the middle.

Just as important, as illustrated in the picture, is the direction you press the seams.  Notice how the seam going vertically down the middle is pressed to the right on the top half, and the bottom half is pressed to the left.

This is called "nesting the seams".  This is very important.  When you follow quilting patterns, they will tell you which way to press the seams.  When possible, you always want to turn your seams in opposite directions. 

Too many seams pressed the same way make unsightly bumps on the front of the quilt.  It also makes the quilting at the end of the project more difficult.

Most experienced quilters carefully plan the direction of their seams so as to keep the front appearance of the quilt as smooth as possible.

When two seams are going to cross each other, it is not necessary to back stitch when you begin stitching.  No matter how careful you are, you are going to be using your seam ripper A LOT...and backstitching makes ripping seams apart much more difficult.

Sew together four 4-inch squares by first sewing the top row and then the bottom row.  Press the seam in the top row to the right, and the seam of the bottom row to the left.  When you join the two rows, they should be going in opposite directions.

Another advantage of  nested seams is that they make your sewing easier.  The fabric "lock" in place and don't shift.  Most quilters do not use pins very often.

Practice until your 4-squares lay flat, measure the correct 7 1/2 inches, and all the points in the center match.

quilt using 4-patch quilt blocksHere is an example of one of the ways to use a 4-patch in a large project.  Alternate it with a square.  The picture shows part of a very large quilt that was made with a homespun print.   The alternating squares were cut the same size as the 4-patch. Very easy, and a good scrap quilt.

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