Start with nine blocks of equal size. These are all 5" square (from a pre-cut charm pack of Domestic Bliss by Liz Scott for Moda). Lay them out how you like them.
Sew the blocks in each column together with a 1/4" seam. You can use a 1/4" foot to make this go even faster.
Press your seams flat. I like to press the seams to the side that has the darker of the two blocks, but you can press them open too if you like.
Now that the columns are made, we're going to sew them together.
Even though the pieces are not that big, pinning together is necessary to make sure the seams come together perfectly. Pin together matching seam lines. If you pin through the seam lines on both sides, this holds the seams together so it looks nice.
And on the other side. . . (the pin should be going through the seam exactly -- this one needs minor adjusting).
Repeat for the other column and you have your finished nine patch!
Now to make a Disappearing Nine Patch block simply cut your block into four equal pieces.
Then rearrange them however you like and sew them back together. In this particular arrangement, you don't have to worry about any seams lining up (except the center point), which makes it much easier.
So here's the all important table with sizes!!
**Note Seam Allowances in the table are 1/4". The block sizes listed are Unfinished block size. They will be 1/2" smaller when sewn into the quilt if using 1/4" seam allowance.**
|Square Size||Nine Patch||Disappearing Nine Patch|
One of the most common sized blocks (and the size we frequently make for swaps and charity quilts in the MMQG) is an unfinished 12.5" square. Notice that if you start with a 4.5" square block, you can make a nine patch that ends up being 12.5" square. You can't however make a disappearing nine patch with a final size of 12.5" square using a standard block size. There are a couple ways around this though::
#1 You can start with a block size of 4 2/3" -- This works out to be a perfect 12.5" square unfinished block when using 1/4" seams, however, this is a very difficult block size to cut accurately without a fancy cutting ruler.
#2 You can easily make one of the block sizes above and just trim it down - this is easy and ensures that you have the proper size even if you're not great with your seam sizes. The down side of this is that the pieces that make up the blocks aren't uniform in size. They'll be close, but you'll have some pieces that are larger than others.
#3 If you start with a 5" block, you can make a 12.5" unfinished block by changing the seam allowances that you use. First when making the Nine Patch, use a 3/8" seam. On most machines, the edge of your normal foot is 3/8" (but of course, measure to be sure). Next when making the Disappearing Nine Patch, use a 1/2" seam. If you do this, you may want to trim your excess seam allowance if you think it will get too bulky. This method should get your block pieces (that make up the block) to be more uniform throughout.
Let me know if you have any questions.