Fast Four-Patch Quilt Tutorial

One of my most popular, quilt tutorials: an easy, fast, beginner-friendly Fast Four-patch  baby quilt. Pefect for a scrappy look and showing-off cute fabric. It’s a great project for new quilters. If you are brand-new to quilting, besure to check out my Beginning Quilting series for all the basics on supplies, cutting, piecing, and quilting!Fast Four-patch quilt tutorial

This is one of my favorite go-to quilt patterns for a quick baby quilt. It works really well to show off a main ‘focus’ print contrasting with a variety of prints in scrappy four-patch blocks. The quilt shown here finishes at 40″ x 56″. I have fabric requirements, cutting and pieceing instructions for Throw, Twin, Queen and King sizes below. If you would prefer a printable PDF version of this pattern you can find one here.


For this quilt I used the Riley Blake collection Trendsetter. (available 2014)

This quilt design is great for showing off a big print and then pairing it with a variety of fabric that contrast well. I chose the big toile-looking print in Mint for the ‘background’ squares and then used the navies, corals and a few of the mint pieces as the contrast. (I personally chose to avoid the other light-background fabrics as they didn’t contrast as much with the toile.)

Finished quilt: 40″ x 56″

Fabric requirements:
  • 1 1/4 yard background print
  • At least 8 different 1/8 yards for contrasting four-patch blocks (you can use more if you want)
  • OR a couple of packages of 5″ precut squares
  • 2 ½ yards backing fabric (If you are careful with the width of the backing and it is wide enough, you may be able to get by with 1 3/4 yards)
  • 1/2 yard binding


  • From background print cut 5 strips 8 ½” x width of fabric. (If you cut very carefully, you should be able to get 5 squares per strip. It’s okay if they include a tiny bit of selvage that will end up in the seam allowance.)
    • Sub cut into 17 squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″.
  • From four-patch prints cut 72 squares, 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″
  • From binding fabric cut 5 strips 2 1/2″ x width of fabric

Match 72 squares up into contrasting pairs. Sew squares together using a 1/4″ seam.

You can ‘chain’ them through quickly without even cutting the thread. Press seam to one side.

Match each pair with a contrasting pair and sew together to create 18 four-patch blocks. Press seam to one side. These blocks should come out as 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ unfinished.

Layout quilt blocks into seven rows of five blocks each. Start with a four-patch block in the first row and an 8 1/2″ square block in the second row. (see photo.)

Sew squares into rows, pressing seams toward the 8 1/2″ square blocks. This will create nesting seams when you go to sew the rows together and make the assembly much easier as well as matching up points. Sew rows together and press seams all the same direction.

Layer quilt top with batting and backing and baste together. Quilt as desired. I pieced my back using prints from the collection.

I had fun showing off some of the focus prints on the back and adding the Swiss dot in Navy worked so well as the binding. Yum. Quilting by Sew Shabby Quilting. For Binding sew 2 1/2″ x wof strips end to end. Binding tutorial here.

And voila! A super quick – and very cute – crib quilt!

Here is a previous version of this simple quilt design. It’s a great one for using up fabric and showing off fun prints. You can order prints from the Trendsetter collection from The Little Fabric Shop.

This is a easy pattern to adapt to other size quilts. Here are the fabric requirements:
THROW (56″ x 72″)
  • 1 ¾ yards focus fabric – cut 7 strips 8 ½” x WOF and cut into 31 squares 8 ½” x 8 ½”
  • 8 different ¼ yards of fabric – cut into 128 squares 4 ½” x 4 ½” for 32 four patch blocks
  • ½ yard Binding
  • 3 ½ yards Backing – cut into two 1 ¾ yard pieces

Make 32 total four-patch blocks. Lay out quilt rows 7 squares across by 9 rows down, alternating focus fabric and four-patch blocks.

TWIN (64″ x 88″)
  • 2 3/4 yard focus fabric – cut 9 strips 8 ½” x WOF and cut into 44 squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
  • 10 different 1/4 yards of fabric – cut into 176 squares 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ for 44 four-patch blocks
  • 5/8 yard binding
  • 5 1/2 yard backing

Make 44 four-patch blocks. Lay out quilt 8 rows across by 11 rows down, alternating focus fabric and four patch blocks

 DOUBLE/QUEEN (80″ x 88″)
  • 3 1/2 yards focus fabric – cut 11 strips 8 1/2″ x WOF and cut into 55 squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
  • 13 different 1/4 yards of fabric – cut into 220 squares 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ for 55 four-patch blocks
  • 3/4 yard binding
  • 6 yards backing

Make 55 total four-patch blocks. Lay out quilt rows 10 squares across by 11 rows down alternating focus fabric and four-patch blocks.

KING (120″ x 120″)
  • 6 3/4 yards focus fabric – cut 23 strips 8 1/2″ x WOF and cut into 112 squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″
  • 14 different 1/2 yards – cut into 452 squares 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ for 113 four-patch blocks
  • 1 yard binding
  • 11 yards backing

Make 113 four-patch blocks. Lay out quilt rows 15 squares by 15 squares alternating focus fabric and four-patch blocks.

(King size alternate: if you’d rather have borders to eliminate some of the piecing:

  • 5 yards focus fabric – cut 17 strips 8 1/2″ x WOF and cut into 84 squares 8 1/2″ x  8 1/2″
  • 13 different 3/8 yards of fabric – cut into 340 squares 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ for 85 four-patch blocks
  • 2  3/4 yards border fabric
  • 1 yard binding
  • 11 yards backing

Make 85 four-patch blocks. Lay out quilt rows 13 squares x 13 squares alternating focus fabric and four-patch blocks.. Cut 10 border strips 8 1/2″ x 42″ for outside quilt border.)

If you would like a printable PDF version of this pattern you can find it here for $2.50.

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  • Reply
    Linda Powell
    September 10, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Those fabrics are beautiful Amy, I love this colour palette too. I am a beginner to all this as you know so thank you very much for the tutorial which I have shared on my G+ page (so I can find it again when I attempt this haha) The coral colour really makes this I think, stunning 🙂

  • Reply
    Frankie Carson
    September 10, 2014 at 6:46 am

    I love your colour palette! <br />Frankie<br />http://knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1

  • Reply
    September 10, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Beautiful quilt! Love the colors your chose!

  • Reply
    A Quilter's Mission
    September 10, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Great fun quilt! Yes, this color pallet is wonderful.

  • Reply
    Carmen Lee
    September 11, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Ammy, I love your choice. These quilts are really wonderful , it&#39;s fabric is beautiful as well as designs are very nice.

  • Reply
    Rebecca Barnes
    September 11, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I love the back – thanks for the tutorial

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    May 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I have a question, I have a yard of main fabric I want to use, if I were to order a 1/4 of a years more in order to have enough to do this quilt would that totally screw me up? This is my first quilt so it’s probably a silly question. Thanks!

    • Reply
      October 9, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      I would say, just to be on the safe side, order more than the 1/4 yard you are missing. I would go for at least 1/2 yard. And good luck with your first quilt!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2015 at 5:11 am

    This is beautiful….

    Perfect to showcase a fabric collection I have my eye on,

    Can I Ask is the twin size equivalent to
    single ?

    Im in Australia and our sizes go bassinet ,
    cot , single , king single , double , queen king.

    I have v

    • Reply
      June 6, 2015 at 5:12 am

      *have never made a quilt, my mum is the quilter I make baby / toddler clothes for my miss 2

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      June 8, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      I’m guessing it’s the equivalent. I don’t know the measurements of a single, but I’m sure they’re very similar.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Thank you for adding the other measurements and requirements!!! I love the quilt and it hate having to figure out what to buy for a bigger one! LOL…
    Thanks again,

  • Reply
    September 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Wondering if the King size requirements are correct. How can the double/queen be 3 1/2 yards of focus fabric and the king size require double that?

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      September 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Thanks for your question. I went back and checked my math. I was off slightly and have updated the measurements. But still, that King size is almost double the Queen requirements. Those King-size quilts are just exponentially bigger. It’s crazy.

    • Reply
      Mona Marin
      December 23, 2017 at 5:36 am

      I’m making a king-size quilt for my husband for Christmas who is a retired vet, I need a quick and easy process to finish the back of the quilt can you help me ?

  • Reply
    October 7, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you for making this pattern available free.
    Love your choice of fabric, will be making this in
    baby colour maybe adding embroidery/applique.
    Again thank you

  • Reply
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    October 15, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Love the tutorial. I’ve not done to much quilting but like to do embroidery. Your directions are very clear and anxious to try this! Thank you.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    October 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I have a question about the quilting. What color thread was used for quilting the three pieces together? I’m making this quilt with different fabric but since there are so many colors I’m not sure what color to use when quilting.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      October 20, 2015 at 10:47 am

      I just had the quilter use a cream/neutral thread that would blend with most of the prints.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    There seems to be a little something off with the measurements — after sewing the 4.5″ squares with the .25″ seam, they won’t match the 8.5″ blocks anymore like in the pictures, but rather be off by .25″. Were either of the squares cut to different dimensions, perhaps?

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      December 5, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Hmm. I’m sure that’s right. Because four 4″ x 4″ squares (finished) will create an 8″x 8″ finished block. So unfinshed the blocks would be 4.5″ and 8.5″. Check your seam allowance. Even if it’s only slightly bigger than a 1/4″, it could skew things and the block will end up slightly smaller. Let me know.

    • Reply
      April 9, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      I had the same issue Michelle. I just used the “square up” method to get all my blocks to be the same sizes.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    What is the square by row layout for the twin quilt? Second quilt so still a beginner. Really excited to try this quilt.

  • Reply
    Amy Baird
    January 23, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    How many blocks by rows for a twin? Want to make sure I do it right. My second quilt so I am still a beginner. 🙂

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      January 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      Layout blocks 8 blocks across by 11 rows down.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Thanks so much for these easy to follow instructions. I’d purchased some fabric quite some time ago and didn’t have a project in mind only that it was going to be some sort of patchwork. This is my first ever quilt, I started making it today and it’s looking fabulous so far!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      February 1, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Awesome! I’m so glad to hear! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Will this quilt look ok with a few random small squares of another fabric that goes well with the others. I am not sure I have enough of the 13 that I need, they cut my pieces too small when I bought them. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      February 2, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Oh, that’s so frustrating. But yes, I would just add other fabrics in colors that go well. I think it will look even better with more variety. 😉

  • Reply
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    […] piece together and would be a good one for someone who is somewhat of a beginner like me.  I used this pattern and tutorial to make the top and then quilted it by […]

  • Reply
    Michelle B
    February 10, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Hi! I am so excited to try this pattern, in a twin size, but I can’t figure out how to cut the focus fabric. At 1 3/4 yds, 44 in wide, I can only get 35 8/5″ squares out of it. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Any help would be appreciated!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      February 10, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Ahh! You’re right. There’s a typo – should say 2 3/4 yards. THanks for the heads up! I’ll fix it right now!

  • Reply
    Francine Skoglund
    March 2, 2016 at 9:00 am

    This was my first quilt EVER and now I’m totally quilt crazy. I made a lovely pink quilt for my granddaughter for Christmas and she and her parents love it. Thank you for your great instructions!

  • Reply
    Gerry Robideaux
    March 2, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Some of terms used for fabric are confusing to me. For instance, what is a “layer cake”?

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    Stephanie Lunn
    May 25, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Hello! I am hoping to try this pattern out for my first quilt. I see these really cute Fat Quarter fabrics at JoAnn and was wondering if those would work ok for the four-square patches? I’m not sure how many “Fat Quarters” I would need to equal 1/8 yard. Any help would be appreciated.


    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      May 30, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Steph!

      Good question- you can get 16 4 1/2″ squares from 1 Fat Quarter. So if you are making the crib size quilt, you would need at least 5 Fat Quarters.

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  • Reply
    Jenna Stamas
    July 9, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Could you tell me the dimensions of each block for the backing? I’m trying to mimic your design with the fabrics I picked out and would like to know dimensions for each block. I know it’s 40 inches across for each fabric.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 10, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      Just making sure I understand your question – do you mean the 4-patch block measurements? They should measure 8″ x 8″ finished (8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ unfinished.) Let me know if that is not the information you are looking for.

  • Reply
    Bobby Jo Oliveras
    August 5, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Just made this quilt using the new Star Wars fabric as the focus piece with contrasting 4 patch. It came out beautiful. I made the twin size and the directions were easy to follow and accurate. Now I’m making a double size with John Deere fabric as the focus. Love this pattern.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      August 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Those sound awesome! I’m glad the directions were helpful!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I’m having trouble getting you links to social media working.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      September 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you SO much for letting me know! I think I’ve fixed them. I didn’t realize they weren’t working so I really appreciate the time you took to tell me!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    November 3, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    If the fabric store cuts exactly 1/4 yard and their cut is off- it doesn’t leave you with enough fabric. Just an FYI. I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong until I realized that’s what happened. I’m going to add a border so it will work out to be a twin size quilt. Might want to get a 1/2 yard of each fabric instead.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      November 5, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Oh, I hate when that happens. 🙁 Good solution though and thanks for the suggestion.

  • Reply
    Sarah durham
    November 17, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I am wanting to make a wheelchair blanket and have told 36×36”, so 4.5 x 8” finished block so have 2 x 1 mini squares rather than them made into 2×2 blocks. Do you think it would work?

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      November 18, 2016 at 11:24 am

      Sure. Or to make it even easier, do a quilt that is 32″ x 32″ and then add a 2″ border (cut 2 1/2″ strips) and then you’ll have 36″ x 36″.

  • Reply
    Alicia O'Brien
    January 6, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Hi Amy!

    I love this quilt! I need to make a crib quilt for my son, how could I adjust this for crib quilt dimensions?


    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      January 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      The quilt as demo’d is close to a crib size quilt at 40″ x 56″. If you want slightly bigger, I suggest graph paper and sketch it out in the finished size you’re aiming for, and then add the additional blocks.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Amy, I’m a new quilter…I have some precut fabric squares that are 5×5 and 10×10. What are the dimensions of the big square? I know I’ll have to trim my 10×10 squares but want to make sure of the measurements.

    Thanks, Lisa

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      January 10, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Cut the big squares 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ and the small squares 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″

  • Reply
    Erica MT
    January 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I’m late tho the party but had a lot of fun using this pattern idea!


  • Reply
    Karen Beasley
    January 27, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Amy, I have my fabric on order and can’t wait to get started on this beautiful quilt. I have made four quilts so far, but all have been crib size. You are so easy to follow! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      January 27, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Awesome! I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    February 23, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I have 4 prints and they are 1/2yd each will that be enough for this quilt to make for a baby?

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 5:56 am

    Love this quilt! I’m taking a quilting class now, so I may use this pattern for my first “on my own” quilt. I definitely don’t want to attempt free motion quilting yet. How would you suggest doing the quilting with only straight lines? 🙂

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      March 27, 2017 at 10:32 am

      I would quilt the straight lines a 1/4″ away from the seams. That’s one of my go-to quilting plans. (I’m still terrified of free-motion myself!)

  • Reply
    Melissa Meisterhans
    May 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Can you give the measurements for a throw sized quilt? If you already have, will you point me in the right direction? TIA

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Hi. I am wanting to use this pattern to make a lap blanket. What would I need?

  • Reply
    August 2, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I have not made a quilt yet, this one looks like a good candidate for my first try! I am not understanding how I would use the 10 strips as the border for the King size… Would i sew 2 sets of 2 of them together, ending up with two 84″ strips, would those be the border of one set of edges, and then sew the other 2 sets of 3 of them together, ending up with two 126″ strips, which would be the border for the opposite set of edges?? HELP!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    This quilt is beautiful and I want to try this as my first quilt, making it for an elderly nursing home patient but can you tell me how to make it throw size? How many blocks and how many rows across the top and down?
    Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      April 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Sabrina! I finally updated the tutorial to include a Throw Size (56″ x 72″) variation.

      • Reply
        April 15, 2018 at 8:51 pm

        Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I am so excited, not only have I found a tutorial I understand in an effort to try my hand at quilting (first time quilter, long time pinner) but you actually still respond to questions from your followers. THANK YOU! Look for lots to come your way.

    • Reply
      September 20, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Thanks, Marnie! I hope you have fun with your quilt!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Quilters, I have a question about how to deal with the back side of this quilt. I’m getting ready to cut some of the fabric that I plan to use on both the front and back, and I realize that I failed to consider how making a larger version of this quilt would affect the back.

    One of the pictures shows the back with five wide strips of fabric that span the whole width of the quilt (11th picture down from the top of the page.) Those are solid pieces of fabric, right? HOWEVER, I’m making the double/queen size (80″ x 88″), so my fabric will not be wide enough to be solid strips. Oops!

    BTW, I plan to use only 3 different fabrics on the back rather than five: 1 yard of one, 3 yards of another, and 2 yards of a third.

    So…. how do you think I should deal with this back? I have enough fabric, but not enough to make solid strips across, like in the picture. I just don’t have the experience to know how best to proceed. 😏 Make big blocks? Try to match prints to give the effect of solid strips? Or some other fix? Any ideas or advice you feel like sharing would be so appreciated! And thanks for reading this long-winded post. 👍

  • Reply
    November 29, 2017 at 9:29 am

    What would the measurements for a throw size quilt be?

    • Reply
      April 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      56″ x 72″

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

    For a queen size quilt , how many 4.5 squares would need to cut out of each coordinating fabric ? 220? The math is confusing me

    • Reply
      December 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Yes, you need a total of 220 4.5 x 4.5 squares. You’ll sew those together to make 55 4-patch blocks.

      Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Emily N
    December 12, 2017 at 7:38 am

    I’m making this in the twin size (first quilt!), but I’m stumped on the backing. I got 5 yds of the fabric for the backing and have measured multiple times but just can’t seem to figure out the layout for it. Any tips or tricks?

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      So, I always go back and forth about telling people how much fabric to buy for backing – whether to buy a lot so it’s only one seam to piece a back, and then have a lot left over, or as little as possible, which might involve more piecing.

      Here’s how I would piece this one: Cut into two 2 1/2 Yard (90″) pieces and sew together side by side. This will create a 80″ x 90″ piece of backing. (If the background print is not directional) you could trim 7″ off one side and sew it to the bottom of the backing, making it 73″ x 97″ so that you have more space on all sides to make quilting easier.

      I hope that helps! Thanks so much for your question. I did change the backing yardage to 5 1/2 yards just to eliminate the extra piecing.

  • Reply
    Beverly Burchwell Caudill
    January 22, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Thank you so much for the beautiful pattern, also I love how you also provided the instructions for other sizes, that was very helpful!!!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Attempting the queen size quilt. Spent 5 hours cutting square, and only have 80 4.5s. Is the average or is there a faster way to get this done? haha Only my second quilt 🙂

    • Reply
      April 12, 2018 at 10:50 am

      Sorry I’m so slow getting back to you on this. :/ If you cut 4 1/2″ wide strips of fabric, then you can cut them into squares much more quickly. I hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Valerie Womack
    March 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Amy – I’m new at quilting but have been a sewer for 50 years. Do quilts work well with flannel fabric? I want to try this pattern with some I got on sale? Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Reply
      March 10, 2018 at 8:45 am

      Yes! Quilts made with flannels are wonderful! This pattern would work great with flannel fabric.

      • Reply
        Valerie Womack
        March 10, 2018 at 9:36 am

        Thanks Amy – will share picture when I finish. May take me a few months. lol

  • Reply
    March 13, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    how would I make this smaller for a baby blanket

    • Reply
      April 12, 2018 at 10:49 am

      Just make fewer blocks/squares. The blocks are 8″ x 8″. Using that number, decide how big you want your baby quilt to finish. Graph paper or sketching it out will make it easy to customize it to whatever size you want.

  • Reply
    Sally R Woodford
    April 12, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I plan to use fabric from “old” flannel shirts my husband wore for work. I’ve read that I should apply iron on interfacing to the fabric to keep it from stretching. Do you think I should do this before I piece them together or after I’ve made the blocks? Also, I am wondering about using the fleece fabric for the backing. Is it a good idea to mix fabrics? Thanks!

    • Reply
      April 12, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Definitely apply the interfacting before you piece them together. If possible, I would apply the iron on interfacting, where possible, before you even cut the squares. It will give them stability and help them keep their shape – it will make it SO much easier to bot cut AND sew them together.

      I’ve never personally used fleece for a quilt back. My only hesitation is if the shirts are all cotton and the fleece is polyester, the cotton parts could shrink differently, but where these are shirts that have probably been washed dozens of times already 😉 I think you’ll be safe. I would try googling it to see if someone talks about using fleece as a quilt back, just to be safe.

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