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This is a great technique for making half square triangles that eliminates the need to directly manipulate the stretchy bias of the triangle. It utilizes two easy to cut squares producing two half square triangles.
On the back of the lighter fabric, draw a pencil line, diagonally from corner to corner.
Stack a pair of light and dark squares, right sides together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side of the line.
You will end up with something like this.
Now cut along the diagonal line.
Press the seam together to set the seam. Then press towards the darkest fabric.
To trim the block to the exact size line up the diagonal 45°angle with the ruler on your seam.
And then carefully trim your block with a rotary cutter.
The secret to the perfect four patch is all about ironing seams so that they butt together when the seams are joined. You may make the four patch by cutting individual squares if you want to make a scrappy quilt or only a few blocks to make with pre-joined strips. I'll take you through both methods.
Cut two A squares and two B squares in your required size. Chain piecing, join A square to a B square, right sides together, with a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press towards the dark fabric.
This is your result:
This is also the result of cutting across pre-joined strips to create two units.
To make a standard four patch, the width of the unit cut from pre-joined strips is the same as the width of the original strips.
Press all the seams towards the dark fabric so that the seame butt-up.
Take the two A/B and place them right sides together, butting seams. Pin if required. Join with a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, then press.
You can apply this technique to all kinds of four patch blocks. As long as a block has a 4x4 grid, no matter how many pieces, the basic principles apply. It is repeated over and over again each four patch laying adjacent to the next. As long as you keep pressing seams in pairs of opposite directions, piecing will become easy.
All of the following blocks have 4x4 grids and can be pieaced as a four patch.
The secret to the nine patch is all about ironing seams so that they butt when they are joined.
Cut 5 A squares and 4 B squares in the required size.
Chain piecing, join a B square to only 3 of the A squares, right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. No need to press just yet.
The result will be:
Next, take the remaining A and B squares and, chain piecing, join them to these units, right sides together, with a one 1/4 inch seam allowance:
Your result will be:
To make this faster you can cut strips.
Cut A and B strips for the appropriate width, and join them into A/B/A and B/A/B units. Note you will need twice the length of B/A/B strips, as there are two of these units. Once your strips are joined, right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press every seam towards the dark fabric.
Cut across your pre-joined strips to create the units needed for the nine patch:
You will achieve the same result as above, but this method is faster.
To make a standard 9 patch, the width of the unit cut from pre-joined strips is the same as the width of the original strips.
Press all the seams to the dark fabric so that all the seems butt up.
Join the B/A/B units to your A/B/A units with butted seams, right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
The direction of the final, central seam is optional. But guided by the placement of the block in the larger scheme, and wherever possible, iron to facilitate budding the seam joints.
Just as the 4 patch, you can apply this methodology to all kinds of 9 patch blocks. As long as the patch has an underlying 3x3 grid, no matter how many pieces, the basic principle applies. It is repeated over and over, each 9 patch laying adjacent to the next 9 patch. As long as you keep pressing seams in pairs of opposite directions, piecing will be smooth sailing.
Try these out. Each block has an underlying 3x3 grid, and can be pieaced as a 9 patch.
Sometimes it is not obvious which direction is the dark with complicated blocks like those above. Just remember the basic ironing plan is:
How to Resize Quilt Blocks: