Field of Diamonds is an easy scrap quilt pattern designed with a combination of two traditional quilt blocks: a block known by many names but most commonly called the X block, and the Sixteen Patch block. Pattern designers have written several variations of this type of traditional quilt layout, which looks complicated at first glance but is quite simple to construct. The instructions include a couple of different options to help you make the best use of existing fabrics when working the Sixteen Patch, and the X blocks are quick-pieced using a simple technique. A patchwork border extends beyond the outer blocks to continue the peaked extensions connected to the sixteen patch quilt blocks.
Size / Finished Measurements
Block Size: 8-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches
Finished Quilt: 56 x 72 inches
There are 32 Sixteen Patch blocks and 31 X blocks.
Increase its size by adding one or more borders to the quilt or by sewing additional quilt blocks.
Choose Fabrics for the Scrap Quilt
The sample quilt has a white background. We recommend that you use the same background throughout the quilt to provide a constant backdrop, but the color needn't be white. You might choose to change the color value (contrast) entirely and sew with a very dark background.
This quilt is very scrappy, but you can create a theme. You could even choose light to dark fabrics of the same color to create a monochromatic quilt.
The materials list gives the total yardage needed for the background and colorful pieces. You might opt to sew the quilt over time, accumulating the blocks or pieces for blocks as leftover fabrics are available. Jelly Roll strips of 2-1/2 inches can be used to make this scrap quilt, but you can also make rotary cut strips to use if that's better for you. Scrap quilts are all about variety, so don't obsess over color and color value placement when you sew components together. Work with a variety of fabrics and throw a bit of black into the mix to add depth.
Read through all the instructions to get an overview of how to cut, sew, and assemble the parts of the quilt top, as well as options. If you are still new to quilting, you may want to make sure you understand some basic terms and techniques. Make a few test blocks and check their size before cutting all of your fabric. Cut carefully and press and measure as you work so that all blocks and the patchwork border fit together just as they should when it's time to assemble the quilt.
Blocks: If the fabrics in each block are the same, you will need about 4 yards. Use that figure as a guide when searching for scraps in your fabric stash. If you're a little short of that amount, consider buying fat eighths or fat quarters in order to have a variety of fabrics from which to choose.
Backing: The backing should be 6-8 inches larger than your finished quilt top. Learn how to make quilt backing. If you are sending your quilt top and its layers out for quilting, consult the quilter on dimensions for backing and batting as well as any other preparations to make before bringing it in for quilting.
Binding: Since the quilt has a border on its outer edges you could use a binding wider than 1/4 inch, but take care to follow correct mitering instructions for sewing binding to the quilt with a wider seam allowance.
Seams. The Sixteen Patch blocks have lots of seams, no matter how you construct them. That means you must use an accurate quarter inch seam allowance or your blocks will be too small (typical) or too large (less likely). Why are seam allowances important? Because the Sixteen Patch blocks sit right next to X blocks with far fewer seam allowances, making the X blocks less likely to be off-sized or skewed. Test your seam allowance and you might find that you need to sew Sixteen Patch block with a 'scant' (narrower) quarter inch seam.
Equipment / Tools
- Sewing machine
- Rotary cutter and mat or other cutting tools
- Rulers, preferably quilting rulers
- Marking pens or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- 4 yard colorful fabrics for quilt blocks and borders
- 4 yard background fabric for X blocks and borders
- 66 to 72 inch backing panel, or size required by quilter if sending it
- Batting, same size as backing
- 285 inch binding, continuous double fold to finish at 1/4 inch
- Threads to match fabric
Cut Squares for X Blocks
Cut patchwork squares from the background and colorful fabrics.
- 124 4-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch background squares.
- 248 2-1/2 inch x 2-1/2 inch colorful squares
X Blocks (Make 31)
Each X quilt block is made up of four quick-pieced square patchwork units. Follow the diagrams left to right and top to bottom as you work.
- Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the wrong side of each smaller square.
- Right sides together, position a marked square in one corner of a larger square, with the marked line visible. Make sure the edges of both fabrics match. Pin to secure, if necessary.
- Seam diagonally on the marked line. Leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance, trim with scissors or a rotary cutter.
- Using a different small square, repeat on the opposite corner.
Carefully press the seam allowances towards the new triangles. Open up the square; it should still measure 4-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches. Using an assortment of the small colorful squares, make three more pieced squares.
- Arrange the four squares into two rows with colored triangles meeting as shown.
- Seam the two units of each row together.
- Press to set the seam; press allowance in adjoining row in opposite directions.
- Seam the rows—1 X block completed.
Press the quilt block. It should measure 8-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches. If it does not, check your pressing and cutting to figure out why, and how to adjust your technique.
Repeat all steps to sew a total of 31 X quilt blocks. Use chain piecing to speed up assembly after you've determined that units and blocks are accurate.
Sixteen Patch Blocks (Make 32)
The Sixteen Patch blocks can be created in a variety of ways, as long as the dimensions of the individual blocks is 2-1/2 inches square, you a 1/4-inch seam allowances, and the final block is 8-1/2 inches square.
- One By One. Sew all sixteen 2-1/2 inch squares together individually, first making four rows of four squares, then sewing those four rows into a square. To use this method, cut 512 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch squares.
- Strip Sets and Cut Segments. To use the strip piecing techinique, cut fabric into 2-1/2 inch wide strips of fabric, then sew four strips side by side to create a strip set. Cut each strip set into 2-1/2 inch segments to create multiple rows.
- Combination. Make one or more strip sets of any width—two, three, or four strips wide. Sew a 2-1/2 scrap square(s) on ends to add variation to the colors of your Sixteen Patch.
Using strips of fabric cross-cut from selvage to selvage will yield approximately 16 2-1/2 inch square units.
You will need a total of 128 patchwork rows, each composed of 4 squares, to make the 32 Sixteen Patch blocks.
Assemble the Quilt Top
The quilt top can be assembled in seven rows of nine blocks, as shown below, or as nine rows of seven blocks, whichever you prefer. Print the image and flip it as necessary to visualize how your blocks will come together. Use a design wall or arrange blocks on a flat surface to preview their arrangement before sewing your rows together.
Double-check all blocks measure 8-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches before you begin. If some do not, try one of these easy ways to fix problem quilt blocks before sewing them into the quilt top.
- Arrange your blocks in rows, alternating block types from side to side and row to row. In the seven rows of nine shown, 1, 3, 5, and 7 begin and end with a Sixteen Patch block and 2, 4, and 6 begin and end with an X quilt block.
- Seam the blocks in each row. Press the new seam allowances in opposite directions from row to row to make the block intersections easier to match.
- Use pins to match blocks to blocks and secure rows to each other before sewing. Seam the rows together. Press the quilt top.
Cut Squares for Borders
When cutting the colorful squares, try to get as big a variety as possible for a truly "scrappy" affect.
- 68 4-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch background squares.
- 64 2-1/2 inch x 2-1/2 inch colorful squares
Make the Border Squares
Each patchwork square on the border will have a colorful triangle in one of its corners. The same quick-piecing technique used for the corners of the X block is used to do so here.
- Draw a diagonal line on the reverse side of each of the smaller squares, just as you when making the X blocks.
- On each of the 64 larger squares, sew one small square to one corner. Set the seams, trim, and press the triangle open to the right side.
Set aside, along with the four remaining larger squares.
You could work with rectangles to create the border, but single patches sewn to individual squares offer more colorful layout options when putting your quilt top together.
Lay out two sets of eighteen 4-1/2 inch patchwork border squares in pairs of blocks, colorful corners abutting, plain sides end to end.
- When you are sure of your sequence, seam each long border row. Press seams between border squares to best match the quilt.
- Sew each long border to the quilt, matching and pinning endpoints and midpoints first, then matching and pinning remaining areas. Press seam allowances either direction.
Lay out two sets of fourteen 4-1/2 inch patchwork border squares in pairs of blocks, colorful corners abutting, plain sides end to end.
- When you are sure of your sequence, seam each short border row. Press seams between border squares to best match the quilt.
- Sew a plain 4-1/2 inch background square on the ends of each short border.
- Press as before and sew to the remaining short sides of the quilt.
Finish the Quilt
Mark for quilting if necessary and sandwich the quilt top with batting and backing.
- Baste the layers together.
- Trim excess batting and backing, squaring up corners and sides if they've become just a bit distorted.
- Sew easy mitered binding around the edges of the quilt.
Field of Diamonds Quilt Variations
There are many simple ways to vary the quilt. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Skip some of the patchwork on the border squares. This variation not include the extra border patchwork connecting it with the outer X quilt blocks.
Invert the background color. The quilt's appearance changes dramatically when you replace all light background pieces with black or another very dark fabric. This version of the quilt is reminiscent of a Jewel Box quilt.
Reverse the Quilt Blocks for a Completely Different Look. Here, the quilt block arrangement is reversed, with 32 X blocks and 31 Sixteen Blocks swapping places. A 5-inch border increases the quilt's size. Make one additional X quilt block if you'd like to experiment with this layout.