Easy Charm Square Quilt Ideas
What Can You Do with A Charm Pack
Here’s an easy charm square quilt pattern and tutorial you’ll love to use over and over again! Precut fabrics are a quilter’s favorite timesaver! Whether you’re buying a precut pack of solids for your quilt background or selecting a complete selection of a new fabric collection, precuts are a perfect way to start your next quilt. Precuts save you lots of cutting time, especially for larger quilts. They are also an economical way to purchase a new line of fabric in small quantities.
While all the various size precuts have their advantages, 5-inch squares known as charm squares, are a popular favorite. A charm pack generally comes in a pack of 42 different fabrics cut in 5-inch squares. You may simply sew them together into a quilt top just as they are or add them to your existing pattern instead of cutting all those small blocks you may need.
How To Quilt with Charm Packs
How To Make a Quilt with Charm Packs
Charm Pack Quilting is amazingly versatile. They are a handy size to create some fun patchwork blocks such as the 4-patch or 9-patch quilts. Charm Packs can also be easily used to make lots of half square triangles quickly and accurately. Generally multiple charm packs are combined together to make a quilt. Here is simple, beginner friendly Easy Charm Pack Quilt. Just two charm packs and you’ll have a finished quilt in no time. Be sure to download the free pattern offered for complete instructions.
What Can You Do with Charm Squares
How To Quilt with Charm Squares
Charm Square Quilting is much the same as quilting with charm packs. Often times you may find some perfect charm square candidates in your fabric stash. Since I buy lots of fat quarters, there’s always at least a few 5-inch squares I can borrow from each fat quarter. Over a very short period of time, I’ll have acquired a wonderful selection of charm squares to work with.
When I like a new fabric collection that is sold in a charm pack, it’ll often come home with me. Then I like to see what I can combine from my own pile to create my next quilt. Buying charms packs is fun but once you learn how to cut charm squares, you’ll be sewing lots of charm square quilt patterns. Just take a look at fabric you may already have either in yardage, fat quarters, or layer cakes. It’s simple to learn how to cut your own charm packs. But more about that a bit later.
How To Make a Quilt with Charm Squares
How To Make Charm Square Quilts
Once you understand how to make charm square quilts, there’s no going back. First, they are quite easy to make because you’re generally working with a single 5-inch block. Best of all they sew together very quickly. You may choose to combine multiple fabrics to create a specific quilt design. There are many different 4-patch and 9-patch quilt blocks that can be made very simply with 5-inch squares.
There is always a substantial pile of charm squares in my sewing room. Either leftover from previous quilts or cut from excess fabric. Since I began quilting with 5-inch squares, I now have a way to use those extra bits of yardage that didn’t get used previously. Yes, now I have justification to buy more fabric than what I expect to use…just in case. 😊 The BIG question was how to use them all!
Make a 9-Patch Quilt Block with Charm Squares
What is a Switch & Stitch Quilt
As I began quilting with more charms, my stash pile seemed to grow enormously. My fat quarters were now being cut into precut sizes. It’s a perfect afternoon activity when you’re not quite sure what to work on next. As your sorting through fabrics there will be some pieces that really attract your attention. Next thing you know a new quilt is in the works.
The first step I took was what I called my ‘Switch & Stitch Quilt’ (video link). This began as a fat quarter quilt but ended up as a charm square 9-patch block. The idea is to stack a number of large fabric squares in a pile, cut them into smaller 5-inch blocks, switch the order of the cut pieces, and sew. It’s very easy and it goes together quickly.
The best part is that you can make this with a 5-inch square, a 10-inch layer cake square, a fat quarter, or even yardage. Better yet you can use your scrap fabrics! Essentially this is a 9-patch block made by assembling 5-inch squares together. But as you know sometimes there are a few other pointers you need to consider when working with lots of blocks in a variety of prints. I have some ideas to show you that will be helpful.
How to make the Stash Switch & Stitch Quilt
60 focal print 5-inch Charm Squares
48 low volume 5-inch Charm Squares
OR – 3 Charm Packs with a good variety of light, medium & dark fabrics. Also try this in different size blocks or you can even cut 5” squares from your scrap pile!
Recommended Quilt Supply List (aff links):
Schmetz Quilting Sewing Machine Needles #11
Select Your Charm Squares
The idea behind this quilt is its layout and assembly method. Your charms will be layered in a desired order that mixes them throughout your blocks. Each piece will be sewn in a manner that not only mixes up your fabrics, but they won’t repeat in the same location within each 9-patch block. This is where you can alternate colors, contrasts and add accents.
Many of these beautiful batiks are from Beyond the Reef, my favorite Etsy shop. There are at least 30 different fabrics combined in this quilt top. When using that many fabrics, you’ll want to ensure that all those colors are balanced throughout your quilt. You also want to avoid any colors that may not be a good fit. There are a couple steps I take with each of my quilts when getting started.
First, I pull all my focal fabrics together that I want to use. These are the basis of my quilt design. Since I’m using 9-patch blocks, I will be mixing these fabrics amongst many different patchwork blocks. While I don’t want each block to be exactly the same, I do want the colors to be balanced across the quilt.
In order to do that I stage my fabrics into color groups. For a 9-patch quilt, I’ll want 5 or 6 of my focal fabrics in each block. The remaining blocks will be contrast or accent fabrics to create some interest in my quilt design.
This quilt is made with twelve 9-patch blocks for a total of 108 charm squares. The charms are grouped into 8 stacks of focal fabrics and 4 stacks of low volume fabrics. Each stack should contain 9 charm squares that will create the twelve different 9-patch blocks.
Stage Your Charm Squares
Next consider the different colors you’re using and how you can arrange them. Choose your first color and lay it out in a 9-patch pattern. The next stack of 9-charms squares will be placed on top of the first layer. Each layer will represent a different color group. This way you are creating an orderly design with balanced colors across your patchwork blocks.
Continue adding layers until all twelve are in place. Be sure to insert your contrast or accent layers within the mix. This will tie the various colors and prints in your blocks together for a balanced blend of fabrics.
When all twelve layers are arranged, it’s time to sew your blocks. Before sewing, this is where we need to make the switch between the layers of fabric. If the block is sewn as it’s currently laid out, each block would only be a single color. Instead, we’ll mix things up a bit.
Switch Your Charm Square Layers
Once the charms are stacked, it’s time to switch the layers around. Beginning in the top corner, take the top charm and place it on the bottom of the stack. Move to the next stack, take the top two charms and place them on the bottom of the stack. Continue until all the stacks have been shifted around. Switching the blocks in this manner mixes them up so none of the colors will repeat themselves within the same block.
Sew Your 9-Patch Blocks
Each layer of your 9-patch stacks will become an individual block. The easiest method of sewing your blocks together is by chain piecing. Beginning at the top corner, place two charm right side together and sew a ¼” seam. Without cutting your thread, continue with the second pair of charms. Repeat again for your third row. Be sure you are selecting the top charm square from each stack as you’re sewing.
Cut your thread and go back to the top. Add the third block to each row chainstitching from one to the next. Then sew the three rows together to create your 9-patch block. You may choose to chainstitch all your blocks at once or sew each individually. Choose the method that works best for you.
Assemble Your Quilt Top
Arrange your twelve blocks into a three by four block layout. Check to be sure individual fabrics are not placed next to each other. Keep at least one block of another fabric between two of the same. Sew your blocks into rows and then sew your rows together. You’ll have a finished quilt top before you know it!
A patchwork quilt using 5” squares in this manner is a wonderful option. What works really well is that the accent fabrics are sporadically placed throughout the quilt. In some areas it’s heavier and with a mix of colors that looks very random.
This is a very versatile pattern and has the option of many different layouts depending on the size squares you cut. It’s really quick and easy to cut and sew.
Free Charm Square Reference Chart for Quilt Sized
Download Free Printable Fat Quarter Conversion Template
This quilt is made with lots of 5-inch blocks. Each block will finish at 4 ½-inches. Just use that measurement to decide what size quilt you want. Then you’ll know exactly how many squares you’ll need. Here’s a Free Charm Square Cutting Guide that also charts the quantity of charms for different size quilts.
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