Wednesday, April 23, 2014

tiny nine patch {a tutorial}

Hello, happy Tuesday to you all.

Last time when I talked about sewing with 1" finished squares quite a few of you said you love these little squares but find them too fiddly and tricky to work with. I agree. The smaller the blocks, the trickier things get.  But, when I made my tiny nine patches I used strips of fabric instead of individual tiny squares and it made for incredibly fast and precise blocks. Really.
Would you like to see? Here's how I make my blocks - I work on two blocks at a time which not only speeds things up, I also waste a lot less fabric this way :)

A few tips before we start, though.

* A consistent seam allowance is extremely important. These blocks are tiny, so every little discrepancy shows. I used the edge of my sewing machine foot as a guide for all my seam allowances.

* Pressing your seams a certain way helps the little pieces "lock in" a lot better so pay attention to how you press (pressing towards darker fabric is usually the best)

*Slightly reduce your stitch length. I usually use 2.5 stitch length on my Juki but I reduce it to 2 when sewing such small blocks.

*One last thing - use a sharp blade in you rotary cutter. It can make a world of difference.

Each blocks finishes at 3.5" square.

For two 3.5" nine patch blocks you will need three 1.5" x 5" strips of fabric A (my red fabric) and three 1.5" x 5" strips of fabric B (my black fabric).

Arrange your fabric strips in two sets. One set will have two strips of fabric A on the sides and fabric B in the middle. Second set will have two strips B on the side and strip A in the middle.

Stitch the strips of fabric in both sets together, press all the seams towards fabric B.

Place your sets on cutting mat and subcut each set into three 1.5" strips (as shown in the above picture).

Take two subcut strips from first set and one from the second set and arrange them into a nine patch block, arrange the other three strips into another block (picture above).

Stitch the strips together to make nine patch blocks. See how the seams should go in opposite direction making for a very easy and precise assembly?

You can use pins to hold your strips in place. I don't think it's necessary though since we're dealing with very short seams here.

 Press the final two seams open. It will help your blocks lay nice and flat.

Give your blocks one more press and you're finished!!! Now, wasn't that easy? And quick too?

I do hope you give these little cuties a try.

Oh, one more thing before I go. I opened a new inspired by s.o.t.a.k handmade group on Flickr. Would you consider adding projects you make with either this or my other tutorials to the group? I would love to see all your creations in one place.

Wishing you all a very lovely evening. Svetlana


  1. thank you for sharing how you get your points so accurate, a great tutorial and I will try it sometime, probably with bigger squares though!

  2. Tranks for those great pics, i feel i have to do some of them right now haha.
    Did you see my giveaway on my Blog, maybe it could interstellare you ;-)
    Aylin xo

  3. I meant: could interest you... Sorry for this autocorrect thing

  4. Thanks for this. I started following you when I saw the drawstring bags on Hadley's blog. I'm not very good on Flickr but you can see the bags a friend at I made at, thanks for the tute

  5. Thank you for posting this! I love the "mini" quilt concept but have been concerned about handling the small pieces. Your tutorial demystifies the perfect tiny piecing for this newbie quilter. Your work is all so lovely - I really enjoy your blog.

  6. Svetlanko, paradni! Moc dekuji. Urcite bych se do toho rada pustila :) Jola

  7. Very cool about the Flickr page! I have at least two projects (pincushion & tiny trees bunting) I can add in there. Thanks for all the wonderful tutorials these past years!!!!

  8. thank you for sharing your tutorial- do you ever use spray starch with such small pieces?


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