I recently finished a classic nine-patch (or Irish Chain) quilt for a baby gift. I went with neutral, low-volume colors making it both timeless and on-trend. The best part is that it was a really fun and quick quilt to put together and today I’m sharing a tutorial so you can make one too!
You may remember me working on this quilt in this post. An update on that below.
This quilt finishes at 42″ x 54″ for a generous crib size quilt. It is based on 6″ quilt blocks, so it would be very easy to resize smaller or bigger.
It’s also a great quilt for using stash, including leftover 2 1/2″ precut strips. And you definitely can make it a lot more colorful if you like! I personally like how the uniform gray blocks create unity amidst the scrappy low-volume prints, but you can mix and match colors too.
6 Light Strips 2 1/2″ x WOF (width of fabric) – these can be assorted (like sample) or all cut from 1/2 yard of one fabric
10 Dark Strips 2 1/2″ x WOF – these can be assorted or all cut from 3/4 yard of one fabric (like sample)
31 Light Squares 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ – these can be assorted (like sample) or all cut from 1 1/8 yard of fabric
Make Strip Sets
Part of the ease and the fast assembly of this quilt is the use of strip-piecing techniques. If you are new to strip piecing, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading THIS POST with tips for successful strip-cutting and piecing techniques before you even cut your fabric.
Follow the instructions in the Strip Piecing 101 post to sew your strip sets together. I also highly recommend using a Scant 1/4″ seam allowance, or your pieced blocks will be slightly undersized.
Make 4 Dark-Light-Dark alternating strip sets (press seams toward dark) and 2 Light-Dark-Light strip sets (press seams toward the dark.) This will make it easy to nest the seams, helping square points match up nicely.
Pressing tip: Press strips from the front side, using the tip of the iron to get into the seam and make it nice and open and flat.
Notice pressing in the strips sets above. This step will make it easy to nest the seams when assembling the block, helping square points match up nicely.
Cut 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ units from each strip set. (See Strip Piecing 101 post for tips to help keep your units square.) Cut 64 units from the 4 Dark-Light-Dark stripsets
and 32 units from the 2 Light-Dark-Light stripsets.
Make Nine-Patch Quilt Blocks
To assembly Nine-Patch quilt blocks alternate 2 Dark-Light-Dark units with 1 Light-Dark-Light unit and sew them together, nesting the seams. (See photo for pressing guide)
These blocks should finish 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. Make 32 Nine-Patch blocks.
(If your blocks finish slightly smaller than 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″, it is because your seam allowance was slightly wider than 1/4″. But not to worry if your blocks end up slightly smaller. They’re still useable – you’ll just want to trim your off-setting blocks down to the same uniform size as your nine-patch blocks.)
Here is a variation in higher contrast fabrics (in case the gray and white are too difficult to see.)
Irish Chain Nine Patch Quilt Assembly
Layout your quilt blocks into rows of 7 alternating Nine-Patch and solid squares. Odd rows will start and end with a Nine-Patch block. Even rows will start and end with solid square.
Sew rows together, pressing all seams toward the solid square (away from the Nine-Patch blocks).
Sew 9 rows together, pressing seams one direction.
While I love the subtle color palette of this quilt, I recognize it might be hard for everyone to see the contrast.
Here is a more stark diagram of the block layout. This quilt will finish at 42″ x 54″.
This quilt was machine quilted by my friend, Monica. I went with an all-over stipple design to give the quilt some texture. If you are looking to quilt the layers yourself, you can find information about Machine Quilting Basics here.
One of my favorite touches on this quilt, was finding this super sweet, subtle pink polkadot in my stash (it’s old!) to use for the binding. You can find more info about How to Finish (or Bind) a Quilt here.
And there you go. A sweet and simple, classic baby quilt that comes together quickly, perfect for gift giving!
I had fun using all stash to make this quilt – including the backing and the binding. Score! As you can see, my ‘whites’ are a variety of shades. If that bothers you, make sure you use tones that are the same and check them in natural daylight to get the best idea of true color.
The other nice thing about this muted gray and white color scheme is it’s both classic and modern/on-trend at the same time. And an Irish Chain motif is as timeless as it gets. If you’d like to make a larger scale Irish Chain quilt, check out the Two-Color Irish Chain Quilt Along at Gigi’s Thimble – she’ll walk you through a larger version!
If you think about it, making a two-tone gray and white quilt using any traditional quilt design can give a quilt a really clean, modern feel. If you’re intrigued by the simplicity of gray and white, here are a couple of other two-tone quilt patterns and example.
As I mentioned, this is the quilt I was working on in this post. A million thanks for all of the kind encouragement and well wishes to our family regarding our son’s health. Unfortunately, the new status quo is the same and we’re still looking for answers. I’m praying we figure this out soon. Thank you again! xoxo