How to Sew a Basic Four-Patch Quilt Block

Posted by Elaine Huff on

The Four-Patch quilt block is probably the simplest quilt block to piece together but it can be done in numerous ways and it is the building block (no pun intended!) for so many blocks. The following directions assume you are using a ¼” (or scant ¼”) seam allowance.

Fabric Requirements:

  • Light Fabric - Two 2.5" squares
  • Dark Fabric - Two 2.5" squares

Sewing Directions:

Step 1:

The simplest way to sew this block together is with 4 fabric squares. Lay them out as shown below.  

four patch 1

Step 2:

Sew the squares into two rows and press the seam allowances toward the darker square.

four patch 2

Step 3:

And sew the two rows together.

four patch 3

Step 4:

Now when you press the last seam allowance, you can tweek, twirl, pop (so many different terms for the same thing) the seam on the back and press so all the seam allowances lay in the same direction. This makes the unit lay flatter. Much easier to show than to tell. Sometimes you will need to snip the threads to get the seam allowance to open up.

four patch 4

Strip Piecing Method:

You can also make 4-patch units using the strip piecing method.

Step 1:

Take 2 strips of equal width (say 2.5” wide), right sides together, and sew them together on a long side.

four patch 5

Step 2:

Now cut this strip set into 2.5” segments.  Press the seam allowance to one side.

four patch 6

Step 3:

Take 2 of these segments, rotate one...

four patch 7 

Step 4:

and sew together. Press seam allowance.

4 patch 4

This is great method when you need to make lots of 4-patch blocks using only 2 colors.

Charm Square Methods:

Of course, you can also use 5” squares (charms) to make 4-patch blocks. You will need 2 charms. 

four patch 8

Step 1:

One method is to draw a line down the middle on the back of the charm, match it up with another charm right sides together, and sew a ¼” seam on both sides of the drawn line.

four patch 9

Step 2:

You then cut the fabric on the drawn line, open them up... 

 four patch 10

Step 3:

and press the seam allowances toward the darker fabric.

four patch 10

Step 4:

Then match up the two units right sides together and rotate one of the two units so the seams nest together. Draw a line down the middle of it, perpendicular to the previous seams, and sew a ¼” seam on both sides of that drawn line. 

four patch 11

Step 5:

Cut the fabric on the drawn line, press the seam allowances, and you have two 4-patch blocks.

four patch 12

Here's another way to make a 4-patch block with 2 charms.

Step 1:

Match up 2 charms, right sides together, and sew together on two opposite sides of the unit.

four patch 13

Step 2:

Then cut the unit down the middle between the 2 seams, open up and press.

four patch 14

Step 3:

Rotate one of the units so the seam allowances nest nicely, sew together on two opposite sides of the unit, perpendicular to the previous seams.

four patch 15

Step 4:

Then cut down the middle of the unit between the 2 seams.

four patch 16

Step 5:

Open up the units and press the seam allowances. You have two 4-patch blocks.

four patch 17

You may need to square up your 4-patch blocks, especially if using charms.

What is your favorite way to sew a Four-Patch quilt block?

Happy Quilting!

Elaine


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  • Thanks so much for the instructions. You gave very clear instructions. I am a new quilter and it really helps that the directions are clear. Thanks

    Terry on

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