Dancing Nine Patch Quilt Pattern

  • 01 of 04

    Sew a Nine Patch Quilt That Dances Across its Surface

    Dancing Nine patch quilt pattern
    Janet Wickell

    .Sew a Unique Nine Patch Quilt 

    Here's Dancing Nine Patch, a unique nine patch quilt pattern that's assembled with a flip-flopped block arrangement to give the design a slightly curved appearance that 'dances' across the surface of the quilt.

    The Dancing Nine Patch quilt has two borders. The inner border is made up of rectangular patchwork scraps left over from the fabrics used in the blocks (along with a few others that can be gathered from your leftover stash of fabric). The outer border is sewn from the same dark fabric used to frame individual quilt blocks.

    This quilt is a scrap quilt, although the small nine patch blocks that sit at the center of each larger block are the same. Use different fabrics for the small blocks to make them just as scrappy as the rest of the quilt.

    Even though the quilt is scrappy, it is easy to use strip piecing techniques for assembly.

    Choose Fabrics for Your Quilt

    We recommend that you use the same fabric for the background of all blocks—shown as an ivory print in my example. Other than that, sew as scrappy as you wish. You could also create a more orderly quilt by using a smaller selection of fabrics.

    Finished Sizes

    Quilt blocks finish at 12" x 12"

    Number of Blocks: 30

    Quilt Size with Both Borders: 60" x 72" (alter borders or add more blocks to increase size)

    Fabric Yardages and Other Materials

    Neutral Fabric for Backgrounds

    • 1-1/2 yards

    Backing & Batting

    Doublefold Quilt Binding

    Remaining fabrics are variable and listed on the following pages.

    Read all instructions before beginning your quilt.

    How to print these patterns.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Make the Nine Patch Centers

    How to sew a Dancing Nine patch quilt block
    Janet Wickell

    Cutting for the Block Centers

    Cutting instructions assume all small nine patch blocks are the same. To make scrappy nine patch blocks, work with shorter (but more) strips of fabric. Your blocks will be fine as long as you cut the correct number of segments for each area.

    It does not matter if your small blocks are sewn with the contrast arrangement as mine. The contrast in all three rows of the small nine patches can differ in any way you wish.

    Replace my colors with your own choices. We used mostly cool colors for center nine patches and warm colors for the patchwork frames.

    Follow the links to learn techniques that are new to you. 

    Light Background Fabric

    • (60) 3-1/2" x 6-1/2" rectangles (can cut 3-1/2" segments from (5) 6-1/2" wide strips of fabric cut from selvage to selvage - may need a few extra patches. (How to Cut Patchwork Shapes)
    • 1-1/4 yard

    Blue Fabric for Outer Corners of Nine Patches

    • (8) 2-1/2" wide strips cut from selvage to selvage.
    • 3/4 yard

    Dark Purple for Nine Patch Centers

    • (2) 2-1/2" wide strips cut from selvage to selvage (enough for an extra strip if possible -- in the case of errors).

    Green for Nine Patch Centers

    • (7) 2-1/2" wide strips cut from selvage to selvage.
    • 3/4 yard

    Quilt Assembly Tips

    • Work with shorter strips—these techniques often improve accuracy if you have a difficult time cutting long strips.
    • Shorter strips of different colors yield more unlike segments for scrappier quilts.
    • The same tips apply to strip sets you'll create on page 3.

    Use a quarter inch seam allowance throughout and measure results as you work.

    1. Figure 1. Sew a 2-1/2" wide x selvage width blue strip lengthwise to one side of a green strip of the same size. Repeat to sew another blue strip to the opposite side of the green strip.
    2. Press to set the seam allowances (always a good method) and then press the allowances towards the outer strips. The strip set should measure 6-1/2" in width along its entire length.
    3. Repeat to make three more identical strip sets.
    4. Square up one end of a strip set and then cut as many 2-1/2" segments from it as possible.
    5. Repeat with remaining strip sets and cut a total of (60) 2-1/2" segments.
    6. Figure 2. Make a strip set by sewing a green strip lengthwise to a purple strip of the same size. Press seams towards the middle strip, square up and then cut as many 2-1/2" segments as possible.
    7. Repeat and cut a total of (30) 2-1/2" strip sets that are 6-1/2" wide.
    8. Figure 3. Arrange two Figure 1 segments and one Figure 2 segment into three rows as shown.
    9. Sew the rows together to create a small nine patch block that measures 6-1/2" x 6-1/2". Press seam allowances any direction.
    10. Figures 4 and 5. Sew a 3-1/2" x 6-1/2" background rectangle to opposite sides of a small nine patch. Press seam allowances towards the background rectangle unless it is light enough for allowances to show through from the front.
    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Assemble Framing Patchwork for the Dancing Nine Patch Quilt Blocks

    Directions on sewing a Dancing Nine patch quilt
    Janet Wickell

    Start Sewing the Framing Patchwork

    Cut an Assortment of 2-1/2" wide strips from selvage to selvage. 

    For a scrap quilt, start with six different 2-1/2" wide strips (you will probably need (24) 2-1/2" strips total). That's about 5/8 yards each if you work with six different fabrics.

    You'll need extra fabric for the patchwork border (the same six fabrics or a scrappy assortment -- see cutting below).

    Use straight pins to keep fabrics in place as you sew.

    1. Figure 6. Sew the strips together lengthwise to create a long strip set. Begin sewing the next set in the group at the same end where the seam for the first two strips ended. Continue that motion to help prevent warped strip sets.
    2. Press to set the seams and then press seam allowances any direction.
    3. The strip set should measure 12-1/2" wide along its entire length. The two outer strips should be 2-1/4" wide, and the inner strips should each be 2" wide.
    4. Square up one end of the strip set and cut as many 2-1/2" segments from it as possible.
    5. You'll need additional strip sets—enough to cut (60) 2-1/2" segments. The sets can be sewn from the same fabrics or different fabrics.
    6. It's difficult to estimate yardage for scrap quilts, but you will probably need four strip sets, each with six 2-1/2" x selvage width strips of fabric.

    Create Narrow Top and Bottoms of Quilt Blocks

    Cut (60) 1-1/2" x 12-1/2" dark strips to use on two sides of each block.

    1. Figure 7. Sew a 1-1/2" x 12-1/2" dark strip to one long edge of each patchwork framing strip.
    2. Press seam allowances towards the narrow strips.

    OPTION: An alternative is to cut longer 1-1/2" wide strips and sew them to one long side of each patchwork framing strip in a series, chain piecing style and leaving a little gap between the end of one and beginning of the next. When complete, press seam allowances towards the dark strip and cut flush with the sides of each block. Repeat on the opposite side of each patchwork frame. 

    Sew Framing Strips to Partial Quilt Blocks

    1. Sew a patchwork framing strip to the long top and bottom edges of each partial quilt block. Dark, narrow strips are on the outer edges of the block. You might want to refer to page 4 and arrange blocks and framing strips on a design wall before you sew to make sure colors are balanced.
    2. Press seam allowances either direction.
    3. Quilt blocks should each measure 12-1/2" x 12-1/2".
    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Finish Assembling the Dancing Nine Patch Quilt

    Dancing Nine patch quilt layout
    Janet Wickell

    Sew the Dancing Nine Patch Rows

    Notice that the layout is shown in a vertical orientation on this page, rather than the horizontal view illustrated on page 1.

    1. Arrange the quilt blocks into six rows, each with five quilt blocks.
    2. The quilt blocks are rotated within each row and in the adjacent rows so that the patchwork frames do not touch.
    3. Sew the blocks in each row together.
    4. Press seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions and join the rows.
    5. Use straight pins to keep the seam intersections from shifting.

    Add the Quilt's Borders

    1. The inner border is made up of leftover patches of fabric that measure 4-1/2" x 6-1/2".
    2. Sew 10 patches together on their short sides and press seam allowances either direction. Repeat. Sew these borders to the top and bottom of the quilt.
    3. To make side borders, sew 10 patches together along their short sides and press seam allowances either direction. Add an extra nine patch unit to the end of each border (cut squares in each 2" x 2") or use a plain 4-1/2" square of fabric.

    If your quilt is a bit smaller than it should be, or skewed, you should still be able to ease in any differences when you sew the borders to the quilt—that step helps square up the quilt.

    Refer to my quilt border instructions to create the outer border with 5" wide strips of fabric. You'll need about 1-1/3 yards to make borders (slightly more if you choose to miter).

    Finish the Quilt

    1. Mark for quilting if necessary.
    2. Make the quilt sandwich and baste (we like adhesive basting products).
    3. Quilt the quilt.
    4. Remove excess batting and backing, carefully squaring up corners and edges if necessary.
    5. Bind the quilt with easy mitered binding or another edge finish of your choice.