Friday, March 6, 2015

Fast and Easy Scrappy Four Patches


I'm still messing about with four patches.  The blue and white quilt isn't finished but since I started cutting strips for this other project before the blue and white I'm technically not starting something new.  Ahhh, rationalization.  

I wanted to share this technique for easily making very scrappy four patches so I had to work on this other project.


I keep a stash of 1.5" wide cut strips so they are ready when inspiration strikes.  Some days, cutting strips is all I can manage.


I am making 2" x 2" finished square four patches so I cut my strips into 1.5" x 3" rectangles.  I have a pile of darks and a pile of lights.


I found something I actually like about my new sewing machine.  I can move the needle position just a titch to the right.  Moving the needle from the center position to one place to the right gives me a scant 1/4" seam.  It's really cut down on my frustration with this machine.


Pair up a dark and light 1.5" x 3" strips and stitch together on the long edge with that scant 1/4" seam.


Press open with the seam toward the dark piece.


Stitch the pairs together into a long strip.  Alternate the position of the darks in your strips.


Here is a group of strips I made.  For ease of handling I sew about 8 pairs into one long strip.  Do not press these seams.  That comes later.


Lay your strip on your cutting mat and flip the first pair of strips over so that right sides are together and the stitched seam is on your left.


Measure 1.5" and cut.


After this first cut you will have a four patch (piece in center) and two squares sewn together (piece on left).  Set the latter aside for the moment.


Now flip the next little section over so the seam is to your left and cut another 1.5" section.


Keep cutting and flipping and cutting again for the whole strip.  When you get to the end, you will have another piece with just two squares.


                           That can be sewn to the piece you have from the start of this process.


Now is the time to press the seam.  I like to press it open.  It's quick and the four patch lays flatter.


The reason I like to sew with a scant 1/4" seam is so that it is just a bit bigger than I need and I can trim the finished four patch so that it measures exactly 2.5".  Now is the time to trim up the four patches.


It's not much but I got this little pile from trimming about 24 four patch blocks.


Voila!  A bunch of scrappy four patches that are all different and I didn't have to mess with a lot of little squares.  I think I'm going to need 320 of them for the quilt I want to make.

16 comments:

  1. I saw this posted on another blog and though how much work was that. Well I can see more accuracy in doing it this way. I do cut strips so it would be easy to get them sewn then cut. Thank you for the info again. Chris

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  2. Nice technique. I have some strips cut 1.5". I might give this a try and make a small quilt. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. You taught this "old dog" a new trick today! I have a small basket full of 1.5" squares, but will cut 1.5" x 3" rectangles from now on. Thanks for this wonderful tip!

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  4. That's so cool! I need to try that!

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  5. Wow--who up with this stuff? It is incredible!

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  6. Great information. 3” is about as far as I can sew a halfway accurate 1/4” seam.

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  7. This is so clever! Thank you for posting this!

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  8. You write you are frustrated with your machine, can I ask you which machine you have and why you feel this way (just curious)? I have looked at your labels but do not see one for 'machine' or 'sewing machine' so do not know if you have written about the before.
    Thanks!

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  9. This was a great post, thank you! I will use it next time on my four patches. Hugs,

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  10. The idea of cutting the strips twice as long as the width, then alternating light-dark when chain piecing is the "missing link" for scrappy four patches. Just in time to use in the American Patchwork and Quilting four patch sew along. Thanks! Cwoosley12@yahoo.com

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  11. this is simply brilliant I love it and will try it soon.

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  12. This is genius!! Thank you!
    Best wishes!

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  13. Nifty method. Is there a formula to use for other sizes?

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  14. Dear About that Quilt,
    There is a formula that works for any sized four-patch. Always start with the finished size, and add seam allowance later. If you wish to make, say, a 6" four-patch block, each square would need to be half that size: 3". If you want a square that finishes at 3", you must cut it at 3 1/2" to allow for 1/4" seams on each side. So cut your strip of fabric 3 1/2" wide. To find how long to cut each piece, just double it: 3 1/2" + 3 1/2" = 7". Keep on quiltin'

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