How to Sew a Nine Patch Block

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This tutorial on sewing a nine patch block is one of five tutorials that are part of a larger sewing project, How to Sew a Tic-Tac-Toe Board.

The following five tutorials make up most of the steps involved in sewing a Tic-Tac-Toe board:

What is a Nine Patch Block?

The nine patch is a quilting block made up of 3 rows of squares with 3 squares in each row. In one block all the squares are the same size. However, the size of the squares can vary from one nine patch block to another. The simplicity of the nine patch block allows for an unimaginable number of size and fabric variations. As a result, this a popular block among quilters.

Nine patch block

How to Construct a Nine Patch Block

Tip: Read all of the steps before you begin so you know what you’ll be doing.

Fabric

  • two different cotton or cotton type fabrics
  • cut five 6-inch squares out of each fabric

(This is the size and color combination for the Tic-Tac-Toe board sewing project.)

Step 1: Lay out the fabric squares in a grid with right sides up

Put the darker fabric in the middle of the top row. Alternate the fabrics in the other two rows to make the Tic-Tac-Toe board. You’ll have one square left over.

Step 2: Sewing the nine patch together

  1. Label the first square in each row. Use a pin so the label doesn’t come off. lay out squares and label rows
  2. Place the middle square on top of the first square in each row. Right sides should be together and edges lined up. Pin in place along the right edge. Place middle squares so they are on top of the first squares
  3. Use the presser foot edge as the guide and sew the squares in each pair together. You don’t need to backstitch. sew each pair together
  4. Lay the pairs of squares you just sewed next to the third square in each row. Right sides should be up. lay sewn pairs next to last square
  5. Place the last square on top of the middle square in each row. Right sides together. Line up the edges and pin in place along the right edge.last square gets placed on middle square
  6. Again, use the presser foot edge as the guide and sew the squares in each set together. You don’t need to backstitch.
  7. Lay the rows out in order and check the placement. Make sure you have a tic-tac-toe pattern. squares in each row are sewn together

Step 3: Pressing the seams

There is a certain direction the seams need to be pressed. You’ll be pressing the seams toward the darker fabric. This will help when you sew the rows together.

  1. Press the seams in the first and third row toward the center square.
  2. Press the seams in the second row to the outside squares.

Be careful not to press over the labels that identify the rows. You may want to remove the labels when you press, but put them back when you’re done.

Press the seams

Step 4: Preparing and sewing the rows together

  1. Lay the rows out in order with right sides up. Make sure the first square in each row has the label on it.
  2. Place the first row on top of the second row with right sides together. The edges of each row that were next to each other when they were laid out, should be together. prepare rows one and two
  3. Align and snug the seams together. If the seams were pressed correctly, you should feel them butt up against each other. They should fit together easily. Make sure the raw edges of the rows are lined up. Pin the rows together.

    snug up seams
    Making sure the seams are snuggled next to each other ensures the corners of the squares will align on the front of the block.
  4. Sew rows one and two together. You don’t need to backstitch.
  5. Align the edges of rows two and three with right sides together and snug up the seams. They should butt up against each other. With the edges lined up, pin in place and sew.prepare to attach row three
  6. You can now remove the labels that number the rows.

Step 5: Press the seams to the middle

Press the seams toward row 2. The finished nine patch should be approximately 17″ x 17″.

Press the seams toward the second row

That’s It. You’re Done!

You have successfully sewn a nine patch block together. The next step will be to square the block up.

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