How to Make an Easy Patchwork Quilt
Learn to sew this simple patchwork quilt with easy to cut squares. This easy quilt pattern for beginners or expert quilters is the perfect way to use up extra fabric scraps like I did, or you can make a beautifully coordinated quilt with pre-cut 2 1/2’’ square fabric pieces that come in precut mini-charm packs.
I’m also in love with the process. If you feel like quilt making is your escape from the world and sitting down to sew for a few hours makes your troubles fade away… this is the quilt for you! This is sure to be a rewarding project for both experienced, and beginner quilters alike.
This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The instructions that follow contain everything you will need to make the an Easy Patchwork Quilt using 2 1/2’’ Fabric Squares and it is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The formatted-for-printing PDF download for $2 is totally optional.
Some people call patchwork quilts with lots of small squares ‘Postage Stamp Quilts.’ Some postage stamp quilts have squares as small as 1/2’’.
Materials for this Simple Patchwork Quilt Tutorial
I chose 2 1/2’’ fabric squares for the top layer of my quilt because I wanted to use up MORE of my scrap pieces of fabric in less time. In addition to perfectly cut mini-charm squares that are already 2 1/2’’, you can also use 5’’ charm squares (just cut each one into 4 pieces) or cut your squares from 2 1/2’’ jelly roll strips.
Make sure to save some coordinated fabric for the binding strips!
You will also need about 3 1/2 yards for the backing fabric.
I always like to start with a new needle on my sewing machine.
To make them even easier, quilts like this really shine with simple quilting. I used my walking foot to quilt straight diagonal lines through the center of each square in both directions.
And here’s some more quilty inspiration… my friend Heather turned her patchwork quilt 45 degrees to put all of the squares on point! As you can see, she also alternated print fabric squares with solid colors. And for quilting, she stitched straight lines 1/4’’ away from the seams. The hand-stitched look is from her Babylock Sachiko machine but it would also look beautiful using a regular sewing machine or actual hand quilting.
Another great thing about these single square patchwork quilts is that it’s easy to calculate the finished size. My 2 1/2’’ fabric pieces make 2’’ squares when sewn. I could have made any size quilt I wanted, but after cutting a good number of squares, I decided to sew 32 rows with 32 patches in each row.
The finished size of this throw quilt is 64’’ x 64’’. Here’s a handy chart showing common quilt sizes for baby, throw, twin, queen, and king sized quilts.
Of course I will show you tips and tricks for organizing your pieces and sewing the squares together in a logical manner. So lets get started!
Sew a Patchwork Quilt with Squares
For this quilt, you will need 1024 squares, each 2 1/2’’ x 2 1/2’’. There are lots of different ways to cut squares!
The basic way is to use a self-healing cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler to cut lots of 2 1/2” squares, or use a pencil to mark the squares on your fabric and cut them out with scissors.
I cut my squares from fabric scraps using my Accuquilt Go! fabric cutter and the 2 1/2’’ square die. As mentioned before, you can also use precut fabrics. Online, Fat Quarter Shop is a great source for 2 1/2’’ mini-charm packs, 5’’ charm squares, and jelly roll bundles.
Chain Piece the Squares Together
Use a 1/4’’ seam allowance and a stitch length of about two.
1. Place two squares right sides together and sew along one side with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
To make sewing quilts easier and more enjoyable, I prefer chain piecing.
Chain piecing is simply sewing the next set of patches together before cutting the thread and taking the first set out of your sewing machine.
You can sew as many patches together without stopping as you like – hundreds even!
I prefer to cut the long ‘chain’ of sewn pieces apart after I have pressed them on my ironing board.
The first step is to sew all 1024 squares together in sets of two.
2. Press the seams open or to the side according to your preference. Then cut apart your chain pieced patches. You will now have 512 patches.
3. Place two patches right sides together and sew along one of the short edges to make a little row of 4 squares.
Continue chain piecing until all of the patches are sewn. You will make 256 small rows. Press the seams open or to one side.
4. Sew 4 rows together to make a 16 patch block.
Repeat to make 64 blocks. Press the seams open or to the side.
Sew the 16-Patch Blocks together to Make the Quilt Top
Use a 1/4’’ seam allowance.
1. If you like, you may arrange the 64 quilt blocks in a pleasing way using a large flat surface or a quilt design wall. Arrange 8 rows, each row containing 8 blocks.
2. Start sewing the blocks together in sets of two. Then continue sewing the sets together until you have a row with 8 blocks.
Repeat to make 8 rows.
3. Sew the rows together to finish the quilt top. Press.
FINISHING THE EASY PATCHWORK QUILT WITH 2 1/2’’ SQUARES
- Sew together a fabric piece big enough for the back of the quilt with at least 2’’ extra all the way around (at least 66’’ x 66’’).
- Sandwich the quilt top, a 66’’ x 66’’ piece of batting, and backing together and baste. My favorite basting methods to hold my quilt sandwich layers together are fusible batting or pin basting.
- Quilt the quilt top as desired.
- Trim away the extra batting and quilt backing.
- Cut 7 strips of binding 2 1/2’’ x width of fabric and sew them together using diagonal seams. Bind the quilt using your preferred method to cover the raw edges of the quilt. See how I bind my quilts by machine here.
Now you know how to make a patchwork quilt! Happy Quiltmaking!
By the way, I teach these shortcut piecing methods in my Choose Joy! Block of the Month Program. It’s a great way to build quiltmaking skills and learn how to make 10 different classic quilt blocks!
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