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Disappearing Nine Patch Block Variations

Updated on January 24, 2016

Pinwheel Disappearing Nine Patch

Do you have trouble making pinwheels that match up perfectly? Pinwheels are one of my favorite blocks in quilting, but after trying a number of times, I realized I had problems matching them up accurately to make a block, so I had to find a better way to make them so they match up perfectly. As you know from my previous tutorials, , I also have a fascination with the Disappearing Nine Patch (D9P).After searching, I finally came up with a method to make them so they match up accurately. I also came up with a method to incorporate them into a nine patch block so you don't have to do any further matching, and then continue on with making a D9P block. I am using the fabrics in the photo which was taken by me. There are only 3 fabrics in this photo, as you, the viewer are going to help me choose the 4th fabric.Also in this tutorial, I will feature different layouts for the 9-Patch Block.

Measuring For Half Square Triangles - Measuring For Your Fabric Strips

square rulers
square rulers

Let's have more fun with D9P. As you know, when you cut vertically and horizontally down the middle of your newly made 9 patch, the corner pieces are left intact for you to display some interesting fabrics.You could show off particular color that you likeYou could show off a particular print that you likeYou could fussy cut a particular fabric with scenes on it, an xmas scene, such as Nativity Scenes, Santa Clauses, Xmas Trees, etc.Today, we are going to take the process of making those corners squares a little more interesting. Why not make those corner pieces into separate quilt blocks that you really like, but do not want to make a whole quilt out of them.Let's start with 4 patches. You can make some interesting pinwheels or hourglass blocks, using some unique fabrics you liked, or display some unique color combinations. I like mixing greens and purples, greens and pinks, green, purple and pink. This method is also a great way to use up all your leftover pieces of fabric.As you know, pinwheels require you to make Half-Square Triangles with 2 different colors of fabric. There are many ways to make these, but I prefer making them with strips of fabric sewn together, and then cutting out the square with a special ruler. This method is more accurate ( for me ).To decide how wide to cut these strips, measure from the diagonal line running down the square to the outside edge. In the case of the 4-1/2 inch square, it measures 3-1/4 inches. Add 1/4 inch for a seam allowance. Add another quarter inch for another seam allowance later. You will end up cutting those strips of fabric 3-3/4 inches. I cut mine 4 inches to be on the safe side., since I don't trust myself to sew an accurate quarter inch seam allowance.

How I Make Perfect Half Square Triangles

Cutting accurate squares
Cutting accurate squares

After your strips have been sewn together, place your square with the diagonal line on the seam allowance. Cut out your squares. You will now have a perfect 4-1/2 inch square. For this project, I will need to cut 16 of these squares. This method is so much easier, as you only had to sew one seam allowance.In the photo, you will see that you can now take the right leftover fabric, and flip it over to the left fabric, and sew right sides together and make more perfect squares. That's where that extra seam allowance that I allowed for comes in.Make Your Pinwheels. Since they were cut perfectly, they should match perfectly.

Quilting rulers

I love square rulers for quilting. They make life so much easier when making HST's and squaring up your blocks. I will never quilt without them. I have several square rulers, but, if you know how to use one properly, then the one below is the ruler to get..

Omnigrip Neon Quilters Ruler - 8-1/2 Inch x8-1/2 Inch
Omnigrip Neon Quilters Ruler - 8-1/2 Inch x8-1/2 Inch

This square size will complete your set of square rulers.


Make the Pinwheels

Cut 16 pieces and make 4 Pinwheel blocks. I need 4 more squares. Sew the top 2 squares together, then the bottom two, and then sew the 2 rows together. Make sure the seams are matched in the center. The outer edges can be squared up if necessary.

Creating Your Nine Patch


Position your pinwheel blocks as shown. Measure your newly made blocks. This measurement will be the size that you cut your next five squares. Now you need to chose a fabric for the outside middle pieces, and they will be all one color (4 of them). You now need to choose another color for the middle piece. This will now make your nine patch quilt block. By choosing a different color for the middle piece, you will have more ways to arrange your pieces in your finished project.

Choosing The Center Square

Help me finish my Nine Patch, so I can finally do another disappearing act by making a D9P.Going from left to right, the squares are numbered 1 to 5. These are the fabrics that I chose for the center square of my nine patch. I need your help in choosing which fabric to use. Vote in the Poll below

Choices For The Center Square

Click thumbnail to view full-size

The Center Square Question

Which Square Should I Use For The Center Square?

See results

The Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt Block Poll

Do you like the D9P quilt block & all it's variations?

See results

The Final Reveal

You, the viewers chose the yellow fabric for the middle square, so I could finish my project. Below, in the Photo Gallery, I have shown the finished nine patch cut into 4 pieces. I have also shown 6 different ways you can arrange your newly made pieces.Yes, some of the arrangements do involve matching up the pinwheels, but if they are made perfectly, it can be done.I hope you enjoyed viewing this tutorial as much as I enjoyed making it. This fun.

Different Layouts For D9P - Nine Patch Cut Into 4 quarters, and 6 possible arrangements.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

What If 2 colors chosen?

Someone was asking me what would have happened if the viewers had chosen 2 colors for the center square with equal number of votes on both colors. I would have used both of the colors and made a half square triangle with both of them The photo gallery below shows the cut pieces, and then 3 possible arrangements..

Re-arranged quarters

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Framed Pinwheel Blocks

This is not a D9P, just a 9-patch showing how you can show off your perfectly made pinwheels This block is called an "Attic Window", or at least that is what other people are calling it. When I first saw this way of making an attic window, I had to study it for a long time before I realized everything depended on color value, and placement of the dark, medium, and light fabrics. I got my scraps out and played around with different fabrics until I came up with something that looked illusional With the fabrics I had on hand, this is what I came up with. It also depends on which way you turn it as well. I have shown it both ways.In the image on the left, I see the center square as a gate with 2 posts, and a medium green path to walk down and through the gate. In the image on the right, I will have to look at it more closely to see if I can pick out an illusion. I like the block layout whether or not I can see an illusion or not.How about you, do you see an illusion of an attic window in either of the blocks? Let me know in your comments.

Another 9-Patch Layout

I wanted to display another layout for a 9-Patch, but as you can see by the photo, if I wanted to make 2 more HST's the way most people make them, I would need 2 squares at least 5 inches square. On fabric on the left, I don't have enough fabric, but I do have 4 inches.By sewing the 2 fabrics together, and then cutting out my square, I now have enough fabric. I then made another pinwheel block and finished the display.

After the first one was cut, I turned both fabrics around,sewing them together again, can then cut another one.

Now I can finish my display.

When you have perfectly sewn pinwheels, here is the result. When sewing together, make sure all seams are matched. The outer edges can be squared off if needed. Did you notice the magic? You created 5 pinwheels out of 4, and you also created a secondary pattern of 4 hourglasses.


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    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      You are extremely crafty, notsuperstitious13! Lovely patch variations.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 4 years ago from Texas USA

      You have an excellent eye for color schemes. My approach to doing a quilt is cutting the squares, finessing them to fit, and then calling it good. I like this lens and think I might up my game a bit in the quilting dept. I have a kotatsu table for which I need to make a quilt.

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      It looks like magic when you rearrange the pieces! So generous of you to share these tricks!

    • shewins profile image

      shewins 4 years ago

      Great job of showing so many ways to arrange the quilt blocks. How fun!

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 4 years ago from Canada

      @julieannbrady: Thank you. My goal was to make clear instructions, as I find a lot of instructions that are posted on the Internet are not complete.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 4 years ago

      My dear, you did a splendid job on your presentation and pictures! I feel I could try this myself.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Looks cool but slightly too complicated for me...

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      Lovely arrangements and instructions. I love your colors.

    • Coffeebreaker profile image

      Coffeebreaker 4 years ago

      Great instructions! I plan A lot of quilting this summer!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      You have some beautiful arraignments with your 9 square. I never seem to get the time to work on my quilting much.

    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 4 years ago from Here

      Very nice lens!!! Thanks a lot for sharing!!!

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 4 years ago from Arizona

      Well presented. This is very cool!