April 3rd, 2010 Double Nine Patch Tutorial

Originally published on my Knots and Bolts blog, moved here to start seeding my new website!

small9patchI want to start by saying that I have no illusions about the originality of this pattern.  This is a Double 9 Patch, folks, and it has been around forever and a day.  What I want to share with you is the MATH that I did to figure out the yardage and details for this particular version of this quilt.  I’ve made (or helped others make) several of these lately, and since I went to the work to do the math, I thought others might be interested, for a time when they need a simple, but effective quilt.  And for some day in the future when I want to make another one and don’t want to have to RE-figure out the math…

Fabric Choice


The main thing to note in this picture is the fabric choice.  For this Double 9 Patch, you need:

  2. A coordinating DARK
  3. A coordinating LIGHT
  4. A CONTRAST fabric for an inner border

Your FOCUS fabric should be something with some pattern to it, and several colors in it.  It could be a floral (like mine) or it could be a novelty (holiday or patriotic) or it could be abstract.  The squares within the body of the quilt are cut at 5 inches, so you want something that is of a small to medium scale (save those great big florals for something else).

For the Dark fabric, choose a tone-on-tone fabric that is a color from your focus fabric.  You’ll want something that stands out against the focus fabric.  It can be patterned, but it should read as nearly solid.

For your LIGHT, I want you to know that you don’t have to choose a WHITE for this fabric, you just want something that contrasts with the dark fabric you choose.

I’ve also added a CONTRAST border, a little sliver of color that helps to POP the whole shebang.

I’m also going to give you permission to ignore my fabric suggestions, and tell you that maybe you could forget about trying for fabrics that contrast — and choose a dark and a light that are actually mediums and have it all blend together.  Up to you.  Your quilt, your rules.

For the quilt I’ll be demonstrating the steps with, here are my fabric choices.  I stayed with the high-contrast choices, and not surprisingly, it’s RED.


This was asked in the comments, and I can’t believe I neglected to include this information:  the quilt finishes at about 65 in. by 65in.

Now that you’ve chosen your fabric, how much do you need?

Focus fabric 2 1/2 yards

Dark 1 1/4 yards

Light 1 yard

Contrast 1/2 yard

Binding 5/8 yard

I’ve given the binding yardage as a separate amount, so that you can choose which fabric to bind it with.   You might want to bind with the contrast, or you might want to stick with the Focus, or maybe the dark fabric would be the best choice for your quilt.

My numbers have a little bit of generosity built into them.

Cutting Instructions

Time to start cutting!

First up, the dark and light fabrics.

You’ll need to cut:

(18) 2 inch strips of the dark

(15) 2 inch strips of the light


I love my ShapeCut ruler for this kind of cutting.

Zip, zip, zip and voila: a mound of strips:


You won’t need the rest of this right away, but here are the other cutting requirements:

(72) 5 inch squares of the focus fabric for the blocks

(7) 2 inch strips of the contrast for the inner border

(8) 5 inch strips of the focus fabric for the outer border

(8) 2 1/2 inch strips of your binding fabric (I like a 2 1/2 inch binding, if you like it narrower or wider…be my guest!)

Starting to Sew

After you’ve cut everything, you’ll need your dark and light 2 inch strips.

You need to sew them into strips sets as follows:

(7) dark-light-dark strip sets

(4) light-dark-light strip sets

Always press towards the DARK fabric.

Just a couple of notes about how I piece and press strip sets like these.

  • I sat down at my sewing machine and just started feeding pair after pair of light/dark strips through the machine.  (You need to sew 11 pairs of light/dark strips for this project).
  • I sewed with the light fabric on top, so it was easier for me to see that the raw edges were lined up (and stayed lined up).
  • I tried my darndest to keep them lined up and the seam going as straight as possible down the entire length of the fabric.
  • At the ironing board, I set the strip down on the board with the light fabric DOWN, and then gently lifted the dark fabric up and to the side, finger pressing it as I opened it.  I gently used my HOT iron to press the seam, and didn’t move my iron around, just lift and press, lift and press.

Returning to the sewing machine, I added the third piece of each strip set (7 dark, 4 light) and in this case, I sewed with the added single strip on TOP, even if it was the dark fabric.  Pressing was the same, carefully, and towards the dark fabric.

Cutting the Strip Sets

All 11 strip sets are sewn, so it’s time to head back to the cutting mat.  The strip sets needed to be sliced into 2 inch units.

You’ll need (72) of the light-dark-light units and (144) of the dark-light-dark units.


Sewing the Blocks

Use these units to make 9 Patches.  You’ll need 2 dark-light-dark units and 1 light-dark-light unit for each block.


Make 72 total 9 patches.

Next step is to make the Double Nine Patch block using your small 9 patches and the 5 inch squares of focus fabric. When you make these, press towards the Focus Fabric (pretend that it is now the dark fabric).

These are not all the same — half have the Focus Fabric in the outside corners, the other half have the 9 Patches in the outside corners:

Block A

Block B

After making 8 of each kind of block, sew them together into rows. You’ll use 2 of each kind of block in each row, alternating them. All 4 rows are sewn the same. Press towards the Block A blocks.


Now, sew your 4 rows together to make the quilt top. Every other row should be flipped end for end, so that the blocks alternate.

(I’m going to apologize now for the lack of quality of the final pictures. It got harder to take good pictures, between the size getting bigger and the lighting being more and more of an issue around here…)


Once my blocks were together into the body of the quilt, I added the contrast border (the 2 inch strips) and the focus fabric border (the 5 inch strips). I won’t say much more about this process than to make sure that you measure your borders before applying, don’t just sew them on and whack off the excess.

After quilting, and binding:


I tried to capture some of the detail of the quilting, I’m not sure how successful I was:


So there you have it, a Double 9 Patch Quilt. If you make one, please send me an e-mail (and a photo or blog link) so I can post about it!

And if you have questions, or find an error, please let me know, so I can update the instructions.

3 Fantastic Comments

  1. sandra

    You did not say what size seam to use when sewing 5/8 inch or 1/4 inch. Thanks.


    What size does this finish? I want a quilt that would fit a queen size bed, can you let me know how much fabric I would need of each color/


    Thanks, I will appreciate your answer so much.

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