Tutorial: How to make a patchwork…anything!

Have you noticed the patchwork craze?
Images from Vouge
It’s really everywhere you look….  I even saw some premade patchwork at Joann’s, and although cute but very basic (plus those seams aren’t lined up)
it wasn’t what I was looking for

While making the Patchwork Sleeping Sack, I decided to document the process since AMH did not in her book.  I really would have no idea how to do this if I hadn’t taken a quilting class a few years ago and made these.  That’s alot of piecing!

You will need:
1/4 yard’s of various fabrics or you could always use scraps too!
Coordinating thread

These will make your life much easier too:
Self Healing Mat
Quilting Ruler
Rotary Cutter

Lets get started!

I cut each of these squares 3″.  I wanted my finished product to be 2 1/2″ square. So, the 3″ allows for a 1/4″ seam all the way aorund.  You can make your squares larger or smaller, depending on the project you are making.  Keep in mind, the smaller the square, the more work you are creating for yourself…somtimes I’d rather eat dirt than piece tiny little squares together, so just a fore-warning.

This patchwork piece took me about 1.5 hours to complete.  For the Sleep Sack, I needed a 20×24 piece.  I calculated in order to get that, I needed 8 squares across and 10 rows down at 2 1/2″ each.

Here we go….

Start by taking your 1/4 yard of fabric and lay it on the mat with the
selvedge edge on the right and the fold is on the left
Fold it up so now you have 4 layers of fabric on top of each other
Take your straight edge and cut off one end
Now take your quilting ruler and measure 3″ over
A nice clean cut
For my calculations, I only needed 3 cuts, which would equal 12 squares, becuase we are cutting through 4 layers at a time
Now turn one of those 3″ blocks and cut the other end off
Take your ruler and measure 3″ across.  Right now your block should be a true 3″ square, once you make that final cut.
Voila… Now 4!
Cut the rest of the fabric just like this until you have all the squares you need
I always lay out my design before I start sewing.  This is to make sure that you keep everything “patchwork” looking, with no real pattern.  I was thinking as I was making this it might be cool to actually make one that has a pattern to it, like diagonal consistencies…hmmm.  Maybe next time!
After the design is laid out, take the square in the upper left had corner and lay the second square in the row on top of it, RST
Take it to your sewing machine and sew a 1/4″ seam
Put it back in place and put the third square on top of the second (not shown) and sew a 1/4″ seam.  Continue this until all the squares in one row are sewn together.
Press all the seams open. Do the next row by repeating the same steps.  You will end up having several sewn up rows….in my case, I had eight.
Her are all the rows individually sewn and pressed.  Take the second row and place it on top of the first row, remembering which side to sew.  I always keep my finger on the side to sew for the whole 2 steps it takes me to get to the sewing machine…..
I don’t trust myself to remember for one thing, and I will be doubting myself the whole time Im stitching….so it helps with that whole psychosis.
First, pin the raw edge on the end, that’s easy.  Starting from the left side, match up the seams of the first two blocks, making sure that the seams are aligned.
Carefully pin each seam allowance down to the other one on the other side.  Do each seam this way.  There is nothing worse than seams that don’t match. (well, I guess there are worse things, but you know what I mean)  If you have alot of gap, just ease in the fabric… and pin it in the middle too.
Sew with a 1/4″ seam
Press seams open and finish with the rest of the rows
Finished with seams pressed (Back view)
Finished (Front view)
Now, take your pattern piece and lay directly on your patchwork.  It seems a shame to cut and not use some of it, but you can treat it like any other stash and use it up some other time.
Here is my finished product that I used for my patchwork.
Sew many possibilites!
Are you gonna make something now?  Post it to the Flikr Group
so we can all see, kay?

I am linking to all the party’s here or you can laways visit them on my Party’s Page!

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  1. says

    this is absolutely beautiful. God I wish i had one of those cutting boards and cutter thingies! Down here it´s just a really bad scissor and the floor to cut on. I have to promise myself i will someday invest in some decent work tools! By the way, I made yet another floor cushion (and linked back to you, of course), you got me in a floor cushion frenzy! Gotta stop. I think I have a headache… Thanks again for inspiring! Clau

  2. says

    Hi Susan, I’ve been following your blog for a little while now. I saw your blog title on someone elses blog site favourites and the name caught my eye. While growing up, my siblings and I use to call each other punks all the time so I just couldn’t resist taking a peek and very glad I am too that I did. The tutorial is lovely, thank you. I am attempting to make a crazy patchwork quilt and was wondering if you had any tips on the best way to assemble odd shaped pieces? I’d like to get some of those button pins you have too. Can’t find anything like that in Australia. Have a great day.

    Anne :-)

  3. says

    I’m just learning to sew and this post is so inspiring to a noob like myself! Thank you for sharing this technique… I went from “I will never be able to quilt anything!” to “I’m going to go buy fabric in the morning!” just from reading it. :o)

  4. says

    Thank you for this super post & advice. I often think it’d be nice to make patchwork with my scraps and turn it into bags or pouches… but I never dare. I’m afraid I won’t be precise enough. Now I know how to… and that I NEED one of these cutting boards and cutter; :-)

  5. says

    Oh my gosh that dress is SO CUTE! It came out fantastic! Thanks so much for the inspirational and motivational post. I’ll be linking.

  6. says

    That is SO SO cute! I can’t stand it! I would love to make one…sometime. It does seem a shame ot make that beautiful quilt and then cut through it but the final product is gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. says

    I’ve actually ended up on your blog a lot lately and have yet to comment. I LOVE your style and your projects are amazing. I love patchwork so this is just wonderful – say you on Tatertots and Jello :-). Have a great weekend!!


  8. says

    Great tutorial! Just found your blog through Tatertots. I’m very into patchwork right now! I just made my little girls patchwork twirl skirts!

  9. says

    I am a patchwork fanatic. I have always loved ragdolls and patwork quilts. You are right it is becoming more and more popular all the time. You created a great tutorial here in this post

  10. says


    Great dress! Is that a purchased pattern or your own creation? If it is a purchased creation, would you mind sharing the details about it?


    ([email protected])

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