Irish Chain (9-patch) Quilt Tutorial Part 4
This is a continuation of our tutorial on how we make an Irish Chain or nine-patch quilt. If you are just joining us now, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 may be found by clicking on the links. We have made several Irish Chain quilts and shared them and here are a few examples: Gray Polka Dot Quilt Finished, Light Green Baby Quilt Finished and An Aqua Story – Finding Nemo Finished. I hope you enjoy them.
Irish Chain Combining Blocks Into Rows
Irish Chain – Sewing Blocks Together
There are no seams to worry about nesting or matching when sewing the rows. This quilt is seven blocks by nine rows. Sew together alternating each block. Odd rows (1, 3, 5, 7, 9 row) starts with the nine-patch block. Even rows (2, 4, 6, 8 row) start with the solid block:
Row 1 is pictured (not ironed) and Row 2 is laid out below it. This is a great time to chain sew the blocks together. Each row goes together quickly! Once all nine rows are together (say it with me please) we IRON. I love ironing. I use lots of steam and my iron setting is linen/cotton. Here is row 1 ready to press and actually pressing:
I pull slightly as I iron toward the end I’m holding. Not hard, just to give the iron some resistance and to ensure the seams are going flat. I iron them all in the same direction – it really doesn’t matter at this point UNLESS you have directional fabric. In the next step we need each row to be ironed in opposite directions. Here is the pile of rows before we start piecing the quilt top:
**Note to self – you need a new ironing board cover for these pictures!
Irish Chain – Sewing Rows Together
Now let’s put those rows together! With right sides together select a nine-patch row and a solid square row. Be sure to nest the seams, and I have taken to pinning lately:
As you put the two rows together, you can ‘feel’ the seams fit together or nest. The seams should both lay flat – not on top of each other or with a gap. I pin the row that is on the bottom edge or by the feed dogs. I never used to pin but I have avoided more trouble by taking a moment to pin. Sew the seam with a scan 1/4″ seam, removing the pins – DO NOT STITCH OVER THEM!!:
Good Use of Leaders/Enders:
This is a perfect time to use leaders/enders. An ender is shown so I can take the piece and iron. ~smile~ Set the seam by running your iron over the length of the stitched seam with row 2 on top. I always press each row as I add them and all in the same direction (it doesn’t matter which way though). Here is the pressed seam and how it looks on the front:
You may need to ease the rows together – by slightly pulling the row that needs to stretch out a bit. I find it is always the nine patch, and that is easy to stretch. If there is a large gap, STOP and figure out what is wrong! Here I need to ease as the bottom row has more fabric, and an leader to start sewing row 3:
Here I am setting the seam for row 3 and what the back looks like once it has been pressed.
Continue sewing and pressing until all nine rows are together. Enjoy your hard work!
Next we will add the borders, and discuss quilting options in the last post of this tutorial. It will be complete in no time!