How to Piece the Two Easy Blocks used in Making a Scrappy Double Irish Chain Quilt - a Free Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Welcome to our Double Irish Chain quilt blocks tutorial, where you'll learn how to create one of the oldest and most cherished quilt patterns with ease! This scrappy version is perfect for quilters looking to bust their stash and make the most of their fabric collection.

The Double Irish Chain pattern is renowned for its elegant simplicity, formed by two alternating blocks that create a stunning woven effect. Whether you're a seasoned quilter or a beginner, this tutorial will guide you step-by-step to craft a beautiful, timeless quilt that combines tradition with a delightful mix of fabrics.

double irish chain quilt blocks

Fabric Requirements for the two 10" Finished Double Irish Chain Quilt Blocks:

  • Light Background: 1 - 6.5" square, 4 - 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles, and 4 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium/Dark Green: 9 - 2.5" squares
  • Medium/Dark Purple: 16 - 2.5" squares
I would call this a planned scrappy quilt in that I'm using the same background throughout, and only purple and green fabrics. For an example of a totally scrappy quilt check out the Layout Ideas section toward the end of this tutorial.

Sewing Directions:

5 x 5 Patch Block:

Step 1:

Lay out the four Light Background 2.5" squares, the nine Green 2.5" squares, and 12 of the Purple squares in a 5 x 5 grid as shown in the picture below. Note that the Green squares form an X and the Light Background squares are in the center of the outside edges.

Step 2:

Sew the squares into five rows as shown below.

Step 3:

Press the seam allowances in opposite directions from row to row. In my example the seam allowances in Rows 1, 3 and 5 are pressed toward the right and Rows 2 and 4 are pressed toward the left.

Step 4:

Sew the five rows together. It kind of looks haphazard but it makes sense when made into a quilt with the other block.

Step 5:

Press the seam allowances toward the center of the block as shown in the picture below. 

Alternating Block:

Step 6:

This block is super easy too. Lay out the Light Background 6.5" square and 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles, and the remaining four Purple 2.5" squares as shown in the picture below. From here the patches go together like an uneven Nine Patch block.

Step 7:

Sew the patches into three rows as shown.
(Note: You could substitute the center 6.5" square and the two side 2.5" x 6.5" rectangles with one 6.5" x 10.5" rectangle.)

Step 8:

Press the seam allowances away from the Light Background rectangles as shown in the picture below.

Step 9:

Sew the three rows together to complete the block.

Step 10:

Press the seam allowances away from the center of the block as shown below.

Putting It All Together:

Step 11:

Here's a picture of the two blocks side by side. Check out the Layout Ideas section below to see how the blocks can look in a quilt.

Layout Ideas:

Here's your basic 5 x 5 layout. Odd numbers of rows/columns look best when alternating two blocks in a quilt - 3 x 3, 5 x 5, 7 x 7, etc. The light spaces are a great place to do some fancy quilting!
For this example, I replaced the Light Background 6.5" square in the Alternating Block with a Friendship Star block. 
You can replace that 6.5" square with most any 6" block to create a quilt uniquely your own!
How about a quilt made with soft pastels and pinwheels for a baby quilt? Too cute!
Here's an example of an on-point layout with a 6" Pinwheel block in place of the center 6" square of the Alternating Block. Light Background fabric was used for the setting triangles as well.
Here's a totally scrappy layout, also on-point, with little Sunbonnet Sues appliqued in the light areas.

Conclusion:

For such an easy quilt to make, the Double Irish Chain certainly has great design. Whether totally planned, planned scrappy, or totally scrappy, it is charming and timeless. The two blocks are super quick to make too!

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!

Elaine

P.S. For more easy quilt blocks that only use squares, rectangles, and Half Square Triangles, take a look here: https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/tagged/tutorials_beginning-blocks

P.P.S. Check out my patterns I have for sale on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/fabric406


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