Monday, May 6, 2013

scrap pile 64 patch - a tutorial

These blocks are what I'd like my fellow STS! bee mates to whip up for me this month, as it's my turn to be queen bee. They're a variation on Steffani's St. Louis sixteen patch, basically just shrunken down and quadrupled.
scrap pile 64 patches
This block finishes at 12" (12.5" unfinished) and uses small strips which I managed to find in my scrap pile. Hence the name, since I wasn't sure what else to call it. Does it have a real name? Let me know if you're aware of one. I thought I'd share how to make them.
pick four sets of contrasting prints
You need 16 strips, each measuring 2"x8.5" for this block, in contrasting values for the pattern to really pop. I used four different low volume prints and four different high value prints that "read" a specific color. Essentially we're constructing four 16 patches and then piecing those units into a 4 patch.   
sew four strip sets
Sew your strips into four sets, as shown above. You'll want to use a scant 1/4" seam since there are a lot of seams in this block and a few threads difference really adds up. Make sure and set your seams as well, for the same reason. I also happen to find setting my seams makes pressing them easier and faster
set the seams
For the strip sets, press seams to the dark side. This will make things easier down the road, as your seams will "lock" and allow for perfect points without the use of pins. I didn't use a single pin while piecing these blocks, which makes me quite a happy camper.
press to the dark side
Now take your strip sets to the cutting mat and stack them up on top of each other, using the seams to help nestle them together perfectly. You could always do one at a time, but when doing a whole bunch of these I can go much faster going two or four at a time.
square it up

There's an extra 1/2" of wiggle room built in, so go ahead and square up the one side before you proceed. I like to line up my ruler with the top and bottom edges first, then check to see if the center seam lines up squarely, too. If my piecing and pressing were accurate, and the seams nestled nicely when I stacked the sets, it usually turns out pretty square. If not, I fudge a little and make it work!

subcut, rotate, pair right sides facing
Subcut every 2" and then rotate every other strip and pair them right sides together. I chain piece all the pairs before pairing those pairs...This next part is important! Sew all your pairs together the same way, as in feed them into the machine with the light square on top every. single. time. If you mix up and do it both ways, you'll end up with two sections that won't go together right. 
feed with light fabric starting on top
I did all of mine this way just to be consistent, this will make seams lock the right way later. That little metal thing to the right of my presser foot is a 1/4" guide. It's magnetic and sticks strongly to the needle plate. I bought it a long time ago and only just started using it with all the strip piecing I've been doing lately. I think it helps.
press seams all to one side
Remember to set your seams again, and this time press them all to one side. After that, pair up both sets of 16 patches and rotate until the seams lock when right sides are facing. Sew them together and press that center seam the same direction as the other seams of that unit. Almost done! Sew the one remaining seam and press it whatever direction you want.

Hopefully after all those seams your block comes out at 12.5" or just a smidge under. Mine are a hair smaller, but I figure if all my blocks come back somewhere between 12.25" and 12.5" I should be able to force them all together just fine. Don't worry about slightly wonky edges, I wouldn't bother squaring up your blocks unless they're really heinously uneven. 

Even though these were pretty random pulls from my scrap pile, I think the color palette turned out pretty neat. Like a cheeseburger near the beach or something. Or am I crazy? 

Anyways, hope that didn't bore you! Let me know in the comments if something is totally wrong or ridiculous, I've never posted a real tutorial here before... it's my first time so go easy on me!!


  1. A whole pile of these would be awesome!

  2. Thanks for the tutorial. Sometimes the simpilist of patterns is the best! ♥♥♥

  3. I agree throw a dozen of these in a pile and you have one fantabulous, scrap tactic quilt!
    E xx

  4. Great work, they're fun and a good choice for a bee--I think it'd be daunting to have to make too many!!

  5. Nice tutorial, and nice block! I like the strip pieced method.

  6. I have some of these to make for Bee Blessed this month - nice choice x

  7. Fun Krista!! I am not sure if I have enough brown prints in my stash. How do you feel about a solid brown?

  8. Awesome tutorial!.. cheeseburger at the beach, lol!

  9. Great tutorial! I just made my first quilt block with this tutorial and it turned out pretty good. Here is a photo of it:

  10. I hope you don't mind that I referred to your post here on my post about my 64 Patch Block. Thank-you!


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