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Give Four Patch Blocks a Contemporary Look
The Framed Four-Patch quilt block pattern is exactly what its name implies, a four-patch quilt block surrounded by framing strips. Adding frames around this simple quilt block is one way to give an easy traditional quilt block a contemporary look.
The illustration shows quilt blocks made with frames that are the same width as the strips used in the four-patch interior, but you'll see other, similar quilt blocks where the outer frames are narrower or wider – or where two frames are used per block instead of one.
- Try using coordinating jelly roll strips or any 2 1/2" strips of quilting fabric to make the 8-inch finished quilt block.
- Increase block size to 12-inches square by adding a second 2-1/2" wide frame around the first. Choose different color values to alter contrast.
Use any color scheme you like for the blocks. Bold colors and whimsical prints are perfect for baby quilts and quilts for kids, but you could go with subtle florals that blend into each other somewhat, or with reproduction prints from any time period.
We'll strip piece the center four-patch units, and save a portion of the long strips to use as frames. Use shorter strips for four-patches if you would like a scrappier set of blocks.
If you like this block, take a look at an easy contemporary baby quilt pattern. Blocks are similar but sewn with frames and four patches of two different sizes.
Cutting Chart for Ten 8-inch Finished Scrap Quilt Blocks
Four Patch Centers
- Sixteen unique strips of fabric, 2 1/2" x 13" each – choose fabrics that can be sewn in contrasting pairs unless you prefer a more blended four patch.
Quilt Block Frames
- Ten different strips, 2 1/2" x 27" each. Strips should contrast with the center four-patch blocks. Four patches will be scrappy, so it's fine to repeat their fabrics in a few frames, but keep the frame fabric in each block unique.
- From each strip, cut two 2 1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangles and two 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" bars.
Make less scrappy blocks by cutting frames from longer strips of fewer fabrics.
Option -- Individual Pieces to Make One Quilt Block
Continue to 2 of 2 below.
- Four 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares for four patches
- Two 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" bars for frame
- Two 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" bars for frame
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Sew Framed Four Patch Quilt Blocks
Use a 1/4" seam allowance to assemble the quilt block, placing fabrics right sides together for sewing and matching raw edges carefully. Use straight pins to secure patchwork and help keep patches aligned.
Your accuracy will improve if you press to set each seam before pressing the seam to one side.
- Sew two contrasting 2 1/2" x 13" four patch strips together lengthwise — Press seam allowance towards the darker strip.
- Square up one end of the strip set and cut five 2 1/2" segments from it.
- Repeat, sewing together two more 2 1/2" x 13" contrasting strips and cutting five more segments. Repeat until you've assembled and cut eight strip sets – or forty segments of 2 1/2".
- Choose two, unlike segments. Align them as shown in the illustration above, butting the seam intersections and matching edges. Sew together and press the seam allowance either direction. If the seams are too bulky, loosen a few stitches at the unit's center and fan the seams.
- Repeat to make a total of ten four-patch blocks from your forty segments.
- Sew matching 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles to opposite sides of a four-patch unit — Press seam allowances towards the rectangles.
- Sew matching 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" bars to the top and bottom of the unit you just assembled — Press seam allowances towards the bars.
The quilt block should measure 8 1/2" x 8 1/2". If your block is smaller than it should be, or skewed, press again and recheck, if it still isn't quite right, use an easy squaring-up method before sewing it to other blocks.
- Repeat to make a total of ten framed four-patch quilt blocks.
If you prefer, mix up your frames – the four frames around a single four patch do not need to match.
Make additional groups of ten quilt blocks until you have enough to assemble the quilt you plan to make.