Welcome to the second week, and the second project, of How to Quilt: A Beginner’s Guide. This week we’re learning how to make a Nine Patch block using strip piecing. From there, we’ll use it to embellish an apron.
To get started, we’ve made a playlist of uquilt videos that show you pre-sewing skills, how to thread a sewing machine, how to strip piece, and more. Take a moment to watch and review. Be sure to refer to your sewing machine’s manual for specific threading and setup guidance. We add skills videos relevant to the projects before each project in the playlist, so be sure to scroll through for the related skills.
Now that we’re caught up on our skills, let’s make a Nine Patch Apron!
Follow along with the written instructions below.
Nine Patch Apron
The fabric to make the Nine Patch pictured above are part of the How To Quilt Fabric Bundle, which includes all the fabrics for the series. There’s also a starter kit with sewing and quilting supplies.
1/8 yard of Light Value fabric
1/8 yard of Dark Value fabric
1 pre-made apron
Topstitching thread (sewing thread that color coordinates with your Nine Patch)
From the Light Value fabric, cut:
(1) 3 1/2″ x 8″
(2) 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
From the Dark Value fabric, cut:
(2) 3 1/2″ x 8″
(1) 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Note: We recommend using a 1/4″ foot to assemble this project, but if you don’t have one try marking your 1/4″ seams on the wrong side of the fabric with a ruler and pencil.
Lay a light value 3 1/2″ square on top of a dark value 3 1/2″ square, right sides together. Sew a 1/4″ seam. Press towards the dark. Lay a light value 3 1/2″ square over the dark value square, right sides together. Sew a 1/4″ inch seam. Press towards the dark. This makes a center row that measures 3 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ unfinished.
Lay a dark value 3 1/2″ x 8″ strip on top of a light value 3 1/2″ x 8″ strip, right sides together. Sew a 1/4″ seam. Press towards the dark. Lay a light value 3 1/2″ x 8″ strip over the dark value strip, right sides together. Sew a 1/4″ inch seam. Press towards the dark. Measuring from the inner seam allowances for a straight line, trim the ends of the strips to make a clean edge cut. Cut two 3 1/2″ segments from the strip. This makes the top and bottom row which measure 3 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ unfinished.
Lay the top row on top of the center row. Match seams and pin. Sew a 1/4″ seam. Press away from the center. Repeat with the bottom row. Nine Patch measures 9 1/2″ unfinished.
Note: Set your machine up to zig zag following your machine’s manual. We recommend using a sewing stitch plate (the hole is a rounded line instead of a circle) and a foot with an opening as wide as the sewing stitch plate hole like a satin foot.
Fold the pre-made apron in half and press a light crease on the fold to mark the center. Lay the apron on a flat, hard surface and set the Nine Patch block on the apron oriented as you desire; we set our block on point (standing on its corners). Pin in place, making sure to place the pins well inside the block so they cannot be sewn over and don’t have to be removed while sewing.
Stitch around the Nine Patch Block using a zig zag stitch. When using a zig zag stitch, it’s easiest to start with the needle in the farthest right position of the stitch and line up the edge of the fabric to that position. At the corners, leave the needle down, raise the presser foot, and swivel the apron to the next side in need of topstitching. Stitch a few stitches over where you began to complete the topstitching.
Trim the threads and enjoy wearing your embellished apron! It’s great for wearing in the kitchen, but we mostly wear ours while sewing. It saves our outfits from all the threads we trim which inevitably get stuck to clothing.
Want more practice with Nine Patches?
Check out the Bright Shadow Play Baby Quilt, a free pattern from AQSblog.
Ready to join a community of beginners, share your progress and get exclusive tips?
Join the How To Quilt AQS Facebook group. We can’t wait to see what you make!