Below is a picture you can print of this pattern and colour in, so you can decide which colour you would like each patch to be before you start choosing fabric or cutting. It will also give you a good idea of what the end block will look like.
I am using a pack of templates from ‘Prym’, I have had them for 8 years, they are in constant use and they are still going strong. The pack contains 6 templates, 3 squares (2”, 2&4/5”and 4”) and 3 triangles (2”, 2&4/5”and 4”). I recommend buying some templates as they will last for many years and so they are definitely worth it if you are planning to do a lot of patchwork, but if you are unable to buy these templates, you can make your own. I drew around the templates and scanned the images for you to download with the following link, print them out and carefully trace them onto a vinyl template sheet and cut them out (it is very important to be accurate when tracing and cutting otherwise the patches will not match up).
1. Draw around the largest square (4”) 9 times onto paper and cut them out carefully. These are your paper templates (inserts).
2. Using the same plastic template (4”square) place it on the wrong side of your fabric and draw around it adding a ¼” seam allowance all the way around (the easiest way to do this is with a quilters quarter as shown in the photo). For the colour-way I have chosen you will need 5 squares in one colour and 4 squares in another.
3. Carefully cut out the squares following the drawn cutting line.
4. Pin a paper template to the centre of the fabric square. Tack the fabric to the paper by turning the seam allowance over the edges of the paper one side at a time, pressing lightly with your fingers and tacking as you go. When the patch is tacked remove the pins.
5. When all the patches are tacked with their paper inserts, lay them out in front of you right side up to see what the finished design will look like.
(The block is made up of three rows containing three squares. Two squares from the top row are sewn together, after which the third square is added, thus completing the top row. This is repeated for the middle and bottom rows, then the three rows are sewn together to complete the block. The photos, I hope will make this all clear.)
6. Take the first two squares and pin together right sides facing. Sew them together with very small oversewing stitches along the edge. Do not knot the end of the thread, start and end the piece of thread by sewing 2 or 3 stitches on top of each other through the same hole.
7. Un-pin and open out the two patches, one of the characteristics of English patchwork is to see the stitches, so don’t worry if they show. Take the third patch and making sure that the right two sides are together (double check before you start sewing) pin and sew together the second and third patch in the same way. You have now completed the top row.
8. Sew the middle and bottom rows in exactly the same way. Always double check that you are sewing the correct sides together. You will now have three complete rows.
9. Take the top and middle rows and pin them together right sides facing. As you pin, match up the joins where the sewn patches meet and the seams so that when they are opened out they all meet up together like in the photos. Use 2 or 3 extra pins along the bottom of the row to hold the fabric straight. Once sewn, take the pins out and open up. You now have two rows joined together.
10. Next join the bottom row to the middle row in the same way. Double check before sewing that the correct sides are pinned together (sorry for mentioning this again, but if you have ever sewn the wrong sides together and then had to un-pick them and re-sew as I have had to do before, then you will understand the importance of double checking). When sewn, remove pins and open up.
11. You have now completed the ‘nine patch block’! Do not remove the papers or tacking. This can now be made into a beautiful cushion or joined together with other blocks for a quilt or wall-hanging. I will show you how to complete these projects after we have made a few more blocks. So keep your 1st block in a plastic bag and put up somewhere safe until we are ready to complete a project. Most importantly…have fun!