Friday, May 13, 2011

Stumped by Square in a Square? Want to get them done quickly, but nicely? Here's the answer!

I'm pretty new to quilting, having begun in Nov. 2010, so when the April Civil War Chronicles featured so many square in a square blocks, frankly, I was stumped until I tried a few out and figured out how to make them all look very nice.

First start with nicely cut squares cut from freshly starched material.

Work from opposite ends.

Trim the edges carefully before sewing on the other squares.

A rotating cutting mat makes this job nice & easy.

Once the ends have been trimmed away, this is what you'll have...

Starch again (I use Mary Ellen's Best Press and can't live without it!)

Set your seams and press open.  Here's what you'll have:

These squares will lay across some of the fabric from the first attached squares.
Focus on the placement of the corner edges.  (Far upper left in this case.)

Here we have both, at this point, you can pin the center so they will not shift as you lift them to the machine.

Trim edges carefully to 1/4".

After starching, setting the seam and pressing it open,
you should have a nicely shaped "square in a square".

Here's the results of the travel Scrabble game my 9 year old DS and I played while I sewed.
Once it's time for bed, we pack it away for the next evening :-)

BONUS:  How to "chain piece" Square in a Square blocks:

I've done only four, but you could do as many as you like.
Once you're finished with one direction, though, you will have to
stop and snip them all apart so that you can sew up other sides.

If your 1/4" foot has a "guide", either 1.  tear it off or 2. live with it and carefully lift your foot each time so that the guide doesn't throw your straight stitching off.
(Please let me know in a comment here what you've chosen to do with the "guide" on your 1/4" foot if you have one; for example, how did you get it off there?)

Now remove your pins before proceeding.

Carefully snip your threads to separate each block.

I laid four blocks on top of each other and....

was able to save time cutting through all of them at once.

Oh, dear... my apologies for my one month old ironing board - it needs covering already!

Quilter's best friend (besides blogging buddies!)

Starch and set your seams.

Press each end open.

Ta dah!  Nice & quick!

See how the left light purple square lays over the right light purple square?

I'm happy with how this chain piecing experiment worked out!

If you have suggestions, please let me know - thanks!

The time is almost here!
Have you registered yet for the original quilt pattern give-away from Linda at 


  1. What a nice tutorial! Thank you!

  2. Great tutorial...I've been quilting for years and square in a square blocks always drive me nuts.


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