Quilting patterns 101 with the Dear Jane quilt: the nine patch


Disclaimer: this is the perfect post for people who just want to look at beautiful pictures 

Now I’ve worked my way through almost half(!) of the square blocks of my Dear Jane I’ve started to notice some recurring basic patterns and variations. Therefore, I thought it would be nice to show some of those in blog posts. This will be a nice way to show how dramatically different a block can become when the basic pattern is altered. Also, this will be a good way to show my progress on this quilt

The basic pattern of this week is the nine patch block. It is one of the easiest blocks and almost all quilters will make a quilt with this pattern at some time in their lives. The pattern can be used on its own to create a quilt, but it is also often used as part of a block. In this post, I’ll show you the variations on the nine patch pattern I’ve encountered so far. But first I’ll start with the basic block.

Basic nine patch: Dear Jane block M-10, simple Simon

Gosh, I did this one a long time ago! This is the 12th block I’ve ever finished of my Dear Jane quilt (currently 71!). This block shows the basic pattern of a nine patch. Looking at it, it turns out it’s all in a name. A nine patch are nine pieces of fabric sewn into a checkers board pattern. Traditionally, two fabrics were used in light and dark as in my block, but you can use any fabrics you want.

Dear Jane quilt block M-10: Simple Simon
Dear Jane quilt block M-10: Simple Simon

The nine patch is often used for scrap quilts where people use up their leftover fabric. Also, the nine patch is a quick way to make a nice looking quilt. Once you know how to get your corners straight, a quilt is always going to look good with this pattern.

Dear Jane block C-12: Family reunion

This block is a nine patch into a nine patch, which makes me wonder how many times one can possibly do that (a nine patch in a nine patch in a nine patch in a nine patch…). That would look really nice I think! There are nifty techniques to make sewing all the tiny pieces less tedious, which I won’t go in here. I have to practice that technique a lot before I can tell anyone how to do it. I really like this little wonky block of mine, but it isn’t how it should look.

C-12 (2)

I like the name of this block: family reunion. To me, the little pieces symbolise all the small parts a family consists of. They are all brought together in the bigger nine patch and connected within the finished block, thereby ‘reuniting’ the family.

Dear Jane K-13: Brandon’s star

This block is an example of how the nine patch can be used in a different block to add a surprising element. The middle of this lovely star is created with a nine patch, which combines the somewhat static feeling of the nine patch with a star, which I always associate more with vibrant and magical things. This is one of my favourite blocks of the Dear Jane quilt so far. It is such a strong design in such a small block! I can totally see it work to make a quilt consisting of only this block with many different fabric combinations. What do you think?

Dear Jane block K-13: Brandon's star
Dear Jane block K-13: Brandon’s star

Dear Jane block C-3: Rayelle’s fence

This block shows very nicely how one can play with the look of the basic block by changing up the individual patches. In this block, this creates an optical illusion of a different pattern. However, if you look closely this block can be divided into the nine squares of a nine patch. That is also how I made this block: first sewing the nine squares and then sewing those together.

Dear Jane block C-3: Rayelle's fence
Dear Jane block C-3: Rayelle’s fence

Dear Jane block L-7: town square

This block is another example of the dramatically different look one can create by changing the individual patches. Also, the middle block where the square is turned on its point to create a diamond shape adds a nice feeling of movement to the block. This shows how simple variations can drastically change the feel of a pattern. In this block, I especially like the white and purple colour combination.

Dear Jane block L-7: town square
Dear Jane block L-7: town square

Dear Jane block M-12: hopscotch

This is the last variation of the nine patch I’ve finished so far. I like all the different stripes in this block because it creates a very dramatic look. Almost like a prison cell or something like that. This block also looks completely different from the other blocks. Somehow the stripes make the block look longer as well. It would be curious to see if that effect stays when using more of these blocks to make a quilt.

Dear Jane block M-12: hopscotch
Dear Jane block M-12: hopscotch

So that’s it for me this week!

  • Are there any variations of the nine patch you love I’ve missed? I would love to hear about them.
  • Was this post education for you? What other things would you like to see in posts like this?

Meanwhile, I’ll get back to my quilting, because many more beautiful blocks are ready to be sewn.

Would you like to know more about the Dear Jane quilt?

See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.


    1. Thank you 🙂 I always find being brave gets the prettiest results in creativity.

      Good luck for you when you pick up this journey! seeing what you did on your sampler quilt I am sure you will manage to make a nice Dear jane of your own.


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