4-Patch Quilting with Charm Squares
What Is A 4-Patch Charm Quilt?
A favorite quilt block of many quilters and one of the most commonly used, the 4-patch quilt block is perfect for beginners. Many experienced quilters love this block for all its potential variations and design opportunities. Learning how to make a charm square 4-patch quilt is quite simple.
To make a 4-patch quilt block, simply sew four equally sized squares together in two rows of two blocks. Then sew multiple blocks by rows to assemble your quilt top. Here is an Quick & Easy 4-patch Charm Square Quilt pattern that is a great first quilt for beginners.
The quilts pictured above are 4-patch blocks, but are made differently. First you make a 9-patch block which is nine fabric squares sewn into three rows of three blocks each. Then the finished 9-patch block is cut in half both directions. Once cut there are four squares ready to create a new 4-patch block. This is called a disappearing 9-patch quilt block.
What makes this such a fun quilt design is choosing your fabric and deciding on a layout. A simple change in fabric selection will create a totally different look. Compare the fabric layout in the three quilts pictured together. It’s hard to believe they are the same quilt block pattern.
How to Make A Charm Square Disappearing 9-Patch Block
Charm square quilts can be quite simple to make. Precut 5-inch charm squares save time getting you started sewing sooner. If you purchase fat quarters or yardage, it’s very easy to cut them into 5-inch squares. Watch this video tutorial How to Cut Fat Quarters for Quilting to see how fast it can be.
Charm squares are simple to cut from any fabric you already have. With a rotary cutter and a medium to large size cutting mat you’ll have plenty of charm squares in no time. Once you know how many charm squares are in a yard, you’ll be figuring out your next quilt in no time at all. Not to worry, I’m providing a Charm Square Conversion Chart below with all the math done for you!
You can purchase precut charm packs in a variety of fabric collections. A charm pack is a collection of multiple charm squares sold in a pack of 42 coordinated pieces. Generally packaged by the manufacturer they include a sampling of specific fabric lines or collections. Sometimes each fabric may be different, but more often some of the fabrics may be duplicated.
To begin making your block, choose nine 5-inch squares and lay them out in a design you like. Begin by sewing the first two blocks together. Continue to the second row chainstitching the first two blocks for that row. Repeat one more time for your third row. Once all three rows have two blocks each, chainstitch one more block to each row for a total of three each. You now have nine blocks pieced together into three row. To finish, simply sew the rows together and you’re finished!
Easy Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt Block with Charm Squares
How to Make A Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt Block with Three Fabrics
The Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt Block is a different approach to patchwork quilting. Usually, individual patchwork blocks are made and then sewn together into rows to create your quilt top. The Disappearing 9-Patch takes it a step further by first cross cutting the patchwork block into four quadrants. Then the quadrants are each turned in various directions and sewn together for a totally different look. That’s the fun part. There are multiple ways to resew this block for many different looks.
This quilt not only relies on the layout of the cut blocks, but also the color placement within the initial 9-patch block. There are only three basic fabrics needed to create this quilt design. Or you can use all your fabrics and mix it up. Using a common background and contrast square will create a nice, cohesive design for a scrappy quilt.
Each 9-patch block requires 4 focal 5-inch squares, 4 background 5-inch squares and 1 contrast 5-inch square. This quilt is made with twenty 9-patch blocks, measuring 52” x 65”. For a larger quilt simply make a few more blocks until you reach the size you want.
There are many other different ways to reassemble your final blocks. Try turning your blocks or switching them around for a few different looks. Once your find your favorite, begin sewing all your blocks back together.
How to Cut Your Own Charm Squares
How to Cut Charm Squares from Yardage
Most quilting fabric is about 42” wide. After removing the selvage, you should have at least a 40” wide piece of fabric. That is a perfect dimension for cutting charm squares. You can plan on getting 8 squares of 5” x 5” charms per width of fabric. A yard of fabric will be 7 rows measuring 5”. With 8 squares per row, you will get 56 charm squares per yard.
For even quicker results, layer a few fabrics together and cut them at the same time. You’ll be sewing in no time at all!
How many Charm Squares are in a Fat Quarter
How to Cut Fat Quarters into Charm Squares
A lot of us quilters have a collection of fat quarters. If you have a coordinated collection of fat quarters, a charm quilt might be a perfect opportunity to put those fabrics to use. You can easily cut charm squares from a fat quarter.
These 18” x 20” fat quarter precuts are easily cut into charm squares, too. An entire fat quarter will give you 12 charms. A single row along the widest length will yield 4 charms, and a single row along the narrow width will give you 3 charms.
How Do You Cut Charm Squares from Layer Cakes
Another popular precut is the layer cake. Measuring 10” x 10”, these bundles are often sold in packs of 42 fabrics. They generally showcase a specific fabric line or collection. Cutting you own layer cakes may result in excess strips being added to your scrap pile. But layer cakes are perfect to cut into charms. If you have some left over pieces from another project, simply cut them in half in both directions. Voila, you’ll have four charm squares ready for your next quilt.
How Do You Cut Charm Squares from Fabric Scraps
Do you have a healthy scrap pile filled with fabric from previous quilts? Don’t forget to use your leftover border strips or backing fabrics to cut into charm squares. If you have larger scrap pieces from your quilt tops that will give you a 5” square, cut it and add it to the bundle.
Scrappy charm square quilts are a perfect way to use up extra fabric. Even better is that you can make them any size just by adding more rows of charms until you have just the size quilt you want.