Disappearing 4-Patch With Layer Cakes
Make a Disappearing 4-Patch Queen-Sized Quilt in a weekend! Learn the tricks to use precut 10″ squares (Layer Cakes), ruler stacking, and a serger to make quick work of this bright, large quilt. When this baby is finished and bound it measures 76″ x 95″. Yes, it is that big.
You’ve probably seen the disappearing 4-patch design in many places. The most popular tutorial I’ve found is from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Man, I love their videos. But here’s the thing, I’m not going to use 5″ squares. I want to go BIG!!! You may know I’ve been on a super-size-it kick with Giant Flying Geese and HUGE 9-Patch quilts. I’ve adapted the design to bring you this how-to tutorial to feature 10″ squares.
Let’s dive in!
To create this quilt, the first thing you’ll need to do is create a simple 4-patch quilt block. Open both layer cake packs. We’ll work with 40 prints and 40 solids. This means you need to remove two squares, since these bundles are actually sold in 42 piece collections. (Check your package, though. Different manufacturers will include different number of squares!)
Start by joining pairs: one print + one solid.
You can certainly tackle this step with a sewing machine and 1/4″ presser foot. I decided to stitch faster using my 21 year old Juki serger.
Using the Serger
Why using the serger works for this project:
- You can go fast! The serger stitches must faster than my home sewing machine.
- You don’t need to wind a bobbin. Ever.
- The seams are wrapped neatly together making them easy to press.
- This quilt doesn’t require pins or detailed piece-work.
Having said that, once you commit to using the serger, you’ll need to be more mindful when joining pieces. Turns out ripping out 4 threads per seam is a really pain in the booty.
It’ll be ok. Ripping is more tedious, but definitely not hard to remove that serger seam. The speed of assembly outweighs the couple seams I had to un-sew and re-sew.
Chain piece those babies together! Whiz, zip, bammo. Look at the serger go!
Cut them apart and press the seam allowance towards the print side.
Join the pairs to form a 4-patch block.
You’ll have a total of twenty 4-patch blocks.
The magic to this block is the slicing. On a smaller 4-patch, it is easier to turn the block to create the four slices. I have a trick for you to make it every bit as easy on this larger, almost 20″ block.
Here’s what we are aiming to make:
First, using a long 24″ ruler, lay the ruler 2″ from the center seam.
Make the first long vertical cut 2″ to the right of center.
Here comes the Ruler Stacking tip!
Without moving a thing, lay a smaller back-up ruler 2″ to the left of center.
Do not cut anything! Instead, lay the long 24″ ruler along the back-up.
Now, remove the smaller back-up ruler.
Now, rotary cut at the exact place your larger ruler is positioned, which is 2″ to the left of center.
Without rotating the block, I repeated these steps for the horizontal slice.
Place the long ruler 24″ north of center. Slice.
Use the ruler stacking method to get 2″ south of center.
Remove the back up ruler.
Slice. Now we have 9-patches to sew together in a simple quilt block.
Rearrange to Sew 9-Patch Blocks
There are many variations around the internet as to which fabrics you’ll want to move to create which look in this new 9-patch block. For this design we aren’t really moving anything, making it a bit more fool-proof.
Simply rotate the long rectangles 180 degrees.
If you think of you 9-patch in terms of Bradys, simply flip:
Once your block is arranged with the rectangles flipped, sew pairs to form rows and sew the rows to create a 9-patch block.
Really, we only have a total of twenty 9-patch blocks to create.
These really do go together quickly.
Finishing the Quilt
I opted to assemble my top in a random color placement style. Code: I just wanted to sew everything together without worrying about the design wall or having certain colors fade into other colors. You know what this means? It is going to go fast, too! Just grab two squares and stitch them together.
The entire quilt is created in a 4-block by 5-block grid.
Sew all the blocks in pairs first.
Then sew two pairs together to form 5 total rows.
Then join the 5 rows.
I opted to longarm this quilt the same afternoon.
It is loaded up with a vintage thrift shop sheet on the back. I do love thrift shop vintage sheets, and this sheet was a grid, which totally matched the grid on the front of the quilt, in my mind.
For the longarm quilting:
- Wishbone designs in the narrow rectangle pairs
- Twelve weird feather shapes in the main squares
- Small arches are in the small checker-board intersections.
For one of the first times, I actually stitched-in-the-ditch around most every shape, too. I’m diggin how it turned out.
Here’s some texture.
Of course, natural light is best for photos. The images below are more true to the actual color of the quilt.
This quilt was pretty fun (fast) to create and really great to use two layer cakes!
*This post contains affiliate links.