Friday, August 21, 2015


One of the quilts I made last spring was a Disappearing Four Patch.  At first I followed the usual method.  You can find lots of tutorials on the net showing how to make this simple block.  But I was unhappy with the result because not all seams "nested" and this was a special problem when sewing blocks together,  So I worked out a method that created a block with all seams pressed toward the dark fabric.

I agreed to teach this technique as a beginner quilting class at the library here in town on Sept. 17, and also next spring at a Pieceful Stitchers meeting.  So this week I thought I should do some review in preparation, and also print up some instructions on how to sew the block this way.

Unfortunately, I couldn't remember how I did it!  I know it involved leaving some seams unfinished until you knew where the block would fit in the finished quilt, and then sewing and pressing them according to what direction you needed them to fit together smoothly.  I fiddled with the block this way and that.

Finally, I came up with an altogether different method, and this one WORKS LIKE A CHARM!!!  So here's the new method:
1.  Start with two dark fabrics and two light fabrics, each 5" x 5", for each block       (Yesterday I bought two sets of fabrics, already cut to 5" x 5", but found I did need to trim them to that size.  They were just slightly bigger.)
2.  Sew one dark fabric square to one light fabric square.  Repeat.  DO NOT sew these  two double squares together!  That's the usual method for disappearing four patch.
3.  Cut each double block as follows:
1 1/2" on either side of the center seams   AND
1 3/4" from the side of the double block, crossing the center seam.

   The cut block will look like this:

4.  Arrange the cut pieces from the two double blocks in order next to your sewing machine.

5.  Place the middle piece of the top row face down on the first piece of the top row. Repeat with all middle pieces.  Chain piece them together.  Don't cut them apart.
6.  Now do this same procedure with the third piece of each row.  In the photo only the top piece has been placed where it belongs.

7.  Press all seams toward the dark fabric.  They will line up in alternating rows.

8.  Sew the three horizontal seams.
9.  Pull apart or stitch-rip the cross seam of the center intersection of each of these last three seams IN THE SEAM ALLOWANCE. 

The intersections will turn into tiny, tiny four patches on the wrong side of the block.  You can see them in a vertical line up the center of the block.

10. Now you can press these last three seams all toward the dark fabric where they reach the outside of the block.  There will be places on the inside of the block where the dark fabric presses toward the light fabric, but THE CRUCIAL SEAMS on the outside of the
block will all press toward the dark fabric.

You've made a beautiful, perfect Disappearing Four Patch block!  Because you've sewed the block together in this unorthodox fashion, you can now NICELY NEST all the seams when sewing your blocks together!

Please leave a comment or send me an email ( if you've found this helpful.

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