Thursday, April 9, 2015

Disappearing 4-Patch Tutorial ...

... Libby's Version

Yesterday I reported on my progress with these Disappearing 4-Patch blocks.

Disappearing 4-Patch

There are many online sources for making the D4P.  I used Jenny Doan's method (Missouri Star Quilt Co.), but was frustrated that my seams didn't "nest" after the pieces were rearranged.  I thought I had figured out a solution, but then realized I was essentially rearranging virtually all the pieces.  Thinking there must be a simpler approach, I put some thought to it.

So here you have it:  The basic concept is to start with a 4-patch ...

Basic 4-Patch
My squares were 4" to start, but this technique works with any size square.  Then cuts are made an equal distance from each side of the intersecting seams.  I made my cuts at 1".

Cut 1" away from each seam
Jenny (and many others) has you then switch the corner squares left and right, and turn the little 4-patch center a quarter turn. The block is then reassembled like a 9-patch.

From 4-patch to 9-patch
But here's the rub:  I "spin" my center seam like Bonnie Hunter does.

It doesn't matter how many times I turn that center, the seams on the 2-patch rectangles (numbered 1 though 4 in the picture below) always go in the same direction as the center because they were just cut off that center 4-patch!

I much prefer to have my seams go in opposite directions so that they nest together whenever possible.  My Solution:

Simply reverse the positions of rectangles 1/3 and rectangles 2/4!!  Everything else stays in the same position and the seams will go in opposite directions.

This is not an original thought.  I saw a couple of tutorials on Pinterest that suggested switching the rectangles instead of the corner squares, but they didn't focus on the benefit if you spin the 4-patch seams.  I reckon if you are in the habit of pressing seams in one direction this benefit is irrelevant, but switching the rectangles involves moving only 4 pieces instead of 5!

Let me know if you've found this tip helpful.


  1. Libby, your tutorial was VERY helpful. Now if only I can remember this great tip whenever I get around to making one of these! Thanks for all the work involved in photographing each step.

  2. I've made D4P the same way as you've shown here. A couple of years ago I did a "disappearing blocks" demo for our guild -- D9P, D4P. Since then I've learned about Disappearing Rail Fence and Disappearing Pinwheel.


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