Building Blocks

12.5" Unfinished Quilt Block

The Block

This is a great block for scraps! Or for swaps! Find the instructions for one bock below, and keep scrolling for instructions for a crib size baby quilt.

Unless otherwise noted, all seam allowances should be exactly 1/4" (you may need a scant 1/4" depending on your thread and fabric, test first if needed) and seams should be pressed towards the darker fabric. (Follow the pressing directions indicated in the diagrams below.)

4 Patch Unit

Note the quantity of each total squares for one completed block in parenthesis.
2 - 1.5" Print (8)
2 - 1.5" Background (8)
Need 4 - 4 patches per block

Assembly of 4 Patch Unit (Fig B):

Note: For ease of later block assembly, it may be beneficial to press this using a swirled 4 patch on the back. This is hard to describe how to do, but basicaly, you turn the unit over to the wrong side, and pull the seam allowances sections in opposing directions from the center, and press, and you will see a tiny 4 patch on the rear side. Then press firmly from the right side.

4 Patch to the Second Power Unit

This is a Your-mileage-may-vary (YMMV) opportunity. This block is very forgiving to less than accurate seam allowances. Measure your 4 patches from Step 1 BEFORE cutting for Step 2. I am going to assume your seam allowance is a perfect 1/4", but adjust the next two sections accordingly.
1 - 2.5" Print (4)
2 - 2.5" Background (8)
Need 4 sets of this grouping per block

Assembly of 4 Patch to the Second Power Unit (Fig C):

Be certain that your layout matches the picture exactly. You want all of the print squares to be on the same diagonal line.

The Builing Blocks block

This is brought together in a traditional 9 patch unit assembly.
Again, follow the YMMV and measure the previous block to ensure it is 4.5" square, and modify the dimensions below accordingly.
In addition to the previous 4 "4 Patch to the Second Power" Units, you will need:
1 - 4.5" Print
4 - 4.5" Background

Sew traditional 9 patch pressing the center row towards the Print fabric, and the outer rows to the outside.
When sewing the rows together, press the seam allowances all to one direction.

Assembly of Building Blocks Block (Fig D):

Note: Your finished block should measure 12.5" square

Building Blocks Baby Quilt

Quilt Finished Size: 48.5" x 60.5"

Material Requirements

Note: While this quilt can lend itself to strip piecing, I will only provide non-strip pieced instructions with the assumption that the blocks will be on the scrappy side. Additional assumption is that there will be 40" of usable fabric after washing/shrinking in your yardage. Also, yardage is rounded to the nearest next quarter yard to accommodate squaring up of the fabric.

MaterialCutting InstructionsYardage Required
Various Prints (this one used 30's Repros)
  • 160 - 1.5" squares
    7 strips @ 1.5" wide
  • 80 - 2.5" squares
    5 strips @ 2.5" wide
  • 20 - 4.5" squares
    3 strips @ 4.5" wide
1.25 yards
Background Fabric (off-white)
  • 160 - 1.5" squares
    7 strips @ 1.5" wide
  • 160 - 2.5" squares
    10 strips @ 2.5" wide
  • 80 - 4.5" squares
    10 strips @ 4.5" wide
2.50 yards
Backing Fabric54" x 66"3 yards - Cut in 2 - 54" sections
Sew into a tube (selvege edges together
Cut in half on one non-seamed edge
This will evenly distribute the seams across the quilt. Trim to 66" now, or after you quilt.
BattingOne twin size batt cut down.* 
Binding6 strips @ 2.5" wide**1/2 yard

* Note: You can use a crib size batt and add on scraps from previous projects to get to the right dimensions. To do so, overlap the two pieces of batting by 1". Using your rotary cutter, cut down the center of the overlapping strip in very soft waves. Remove the excess pieces of batting, and bunt the curves together. Using a matching color thread, hand stitch the pieces together using medium size X criss-cross stitches along the length. Repeat for the bottom. (I used a crib size batt and had an extra 2" inches on top and bottom, so with persnickety layering, I only had to add to the side of the batt.)

** Note: A scrappy binding would be perfect. Consider cutting off 2.5" strips as you cut for your quilt. Cut these strips into 4 sections. (They dont have to be uniform in size.) Stitch together as you normally would.

To replicate this quilt, you will need a total of 20 squares as follows:

[ Sorry, you'll have to do this math on your own. ]

Red - 3 blocks (R)
Orange - 3 blocks (O)
Yellow - 4 blocks (Y)
Green - 4 blocks (G)
Blue - 3 blocks (B)
Purple - 3 blocks (P)

Following the grid below, sew the squares into rows and then the rows together to form the quilt top.

Note: Since you pressed all of the rows in the same direction of the Building Blocks square, you can simply rotate them to match up seam allowances. However, when joining edges of the 4 patch units, you may end up having non-nesting seams. As long as the material is not too thick, and you are machine quilting, you should be fine to just layer these together. However, if you will be hand quilting, or sending out for quilting, you may want to take the time to flip the seams around, and repress as needed, so that the seams nest together.


Finishing Touches

I chose to embroider various line-drawing styled animals in the inner 8 squares formed by the background fabric. (I would have done all of them, but just 8 was an undertaking. [grin]) This might also be a great option for some hand embroidery, or redwork/bluework. I used batting instead of stabilizer when machine embroidering to keep the image soft and cuddly. (Stabilizer tends to make it stiffer.)

My Finished Quilt:

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