How to Make the Easy 8-Grid Chain Quilt Block - a Great Alternating Block

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Welcome to our beginner-friendly tutorial on creating the charming 8-Grid Chain quilt block! Perfect for quilters of all skill levels, this block is not only quick to sew but also offers endless possibilities for variation. Its simple construction relies solely on squares and rectangles, making it an ideal project for those just starting their quilting journey.

Whether you're looking to add a delightful touch to your next quilt or searching for an alternating block pattern, this tutorial will guide you through each step, unlocking the creative potential of this versatile pattern. Let's dive in and start stitching together this delightful quilt block!

8 grid chain quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished 8-Grid Chain Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 4 - 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles, and 8 - 2" squares
  • Medium/Purple: 4 - 2" x 3.5" rectangles
  • Dark/Blue: 1 - 3.5" square, and 12 - 2" squares
8 grid chain fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Center Unit:

Step 1:

Lay out the Dark/Blue 3.5" square, the four Medium/Purple 2" x 3.5" rectangles, and four of the Dark/Blue 2" squares as shown in the picture below. From here the unit goes together like an uneven Nine Patch block.
8 grid chain 1

Step 2:

Sew the patches into three rows as shown.
8 grid chain 2

Step 3:

As you can see in the picture below, I've pressed the seam allowances toward the Dark/Blue fabric. You can press however you wish but generally pressing toward the darker fabric is the best option. This ensures the darker fabric won't create a shadow on your quilt top.
8 grid chain 3

Step 4:

Sew the three rows together to complete the unit. This is an uneven Nine Patch block which is also very versatile on its own.
8 grid chain 4

Step 5:

In the picture below, you can see I pressed the seam allowances toward the center of the unit but you can press either way.
8 grid chain 5

Four Patch Units:

Step 6:

Using the eight Light/White 2" squares and the remaining eight Dark/Blue 2" squares, sew together four Four Patch units. For a detailed tutorial on making  Four Patch blocks in several different ways, check out this post:
Repeat for a total of four Four Patch units.
8 grid chain 6

Putting It All Together:

Step 7:

Lay out the Center unit, the Four Patch units, and the four Light/White 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles as shown in the picture below. Once again the units go together like an uneven Nine Patch block.
8 grid chain 7

Step 8:

Sew the units into three rows as shown.
8 grid chain 8

Step 9:

Press the seam allowances toward the Light/White rectangles as shown below.
8 grid chain 9

Step 10:

Sew the three rows together and...
8 grid chain 10

Step 11:

Press the seam allowances away from the center of the block. You're done!
8 grid chain 11
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Layout Ideas:

Here's your basic 4 x 4 layout:
quilt 1
In this example, I've alternated the original block with the same block but the colors are switched around. Very interesting quilt.
quilt 2
This version has a pretty applique block and alternating with an 8-Grid Chain block. This is a typical way that alternating chain blocks are used. 
quilt 3
Here's another similar example but with a dark background. You know how it is when you just can't make another difficult block? The 8-Grid Chain as an alternating block is a great way to quickly get that quilt put together.
quilt 4
quilt 5
Here's the same idea but the blocks are set on-point.
quilt 6
This is an on-point layout using just the 8-Grid Chain but the dark and light versions.
quilt 7
This is a striking example of an on-point layout and with sashing and cornerstones added.
quilt 8


The 8-Grid Chain block is so easy and versatile. As you can see from the layout ideas, you can do a lot with this simple block!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you like it and want to see more, just click HERE to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free PDF quilt pattern called "Chained Weathervane".

Happy Quilting!


P.S. For more easy quilt blocks that only use squares, rectangles, and Half Square Triangles, take a look here:

P.P.S. Check out my patterns I have for sale on Etsy at

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