Sixteen Patch Quilt Blocks
The sixteen patch quilt blocks can be simplified by using a rotary cutter with a cutting mat and straight edge. Once you determine the size of the squares in your block, add 1/2 inch to each dimension. If you want four inch squares, you will cut your squares at 4 1/2 inches. You only need two colors or shades of fabric to make the sixteen patch blocks. Sashing may be added in an additional color or colors after you put the block(s) together.
The number of blocks you will need is determined by the size quilt you are making. For a sixteen patch quilt block to be used as a wall hanging you will need a quarter yard of each of your two fabric choices. This will make one block that is 16 inches by 16 inches square.
First: Cut your fabric into four and a half inch wide strips.
Second: Sew the strips together, alternating the two fabrics. For example, if you are making the blocks with a white fabric and a blue fabric, sew 4-strip sets alternating white and blue. Press seams open.
Pressing is the most important part of any sewing project.
Third: Place the 4-strip set on the cutting mat and cut it, running across the strips, to make four and a half inch wide block strips that have alternating colors.
Fourth: Pin cut strips together in alternating colorways. Match white squares to blue squares, for example, and pin or baste seams together. Match edges.
Fifth: Stitch along basted or pinned edges, removing pins as they approach presser foot. Press seams open. Turn block over and press flat using ironing cloth.
Add sashing as desired and press.
Quilt block is ready to be embellished with embroidery, beads, etc. or to be layered with batting and backing to make the classic “quilt sandwich” and secured with quilting. Embellish as desired.
If you are making a larger quilt, you will need approximately 1/4 yard per block. The finished blocks will be 16 by 16 inches. You will need to calculate how many blocks will be needed. Sashing is the strip of fabric between the squares. It may be the same fabric used in the block, or it may be a coordinating fabric. Decide how wide you want the sashing to be, then cut strips in that width by 16-1/2 inches. Stitch the sashing to each side of a block, then add a block to the far edge of a sashing strip. Continue until you have the width you need, adding a strip of sashing on the outside edge of the last block. Press seams.
Once you have assembled your sixteen patch blocks into strips the appropriate width, cut sashing strips to a length to fit the width of the quilt. Stitch a strip of this sashing to the top and the bottom of your quilt block strip. Press seams. Add another row of quilt blocks. Continue adding rows of quilt blocks until the quilt top is the desired length. Add sashing to the outside of the top and bottom row. Press seams. Check that quilt top lies flat.
Add sashing along the sides of the quilt top. Assemble the quilt sandwich. Baste quilt sandwich or place in non-baste frame and you are ready to quilt.
An alternative to ironing seams open is to iron them flat in opposite directions. Then you can butt the seams together as shown. Pin in place and stitch.