3 Kinds Of Disappearing 4-Patch


Have you ever wondered how many different kinds of "disappearing" 4-patch exist? I think there are at least 6! Here are 3 to start you off!

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3 Kinds Of Disappearing 4-Patch

Coming across a new kind of "disappearing" 4-patch, I wondered how many different kinds there are. It wasn't easy to count because so many came with a "twist", but I think there were at least 6! Here are 3 to start you off!

3 Kinds Of Disappearing 4-Patch


The 4-patch is one of the first blocks taught to new quilters – a classic block for children sewing their first quilts. In its traditional style, it is composed of same size squares stitched together the same way, making it an easy first step. Using the 4-patch as a fundamental block, a quilter can then move on to a disappearing 4-patch or even a double 4-patch.


There are just three basic principles to making a disappearing 4-patch:

  1. Make a 4-patch. Most patterns recommend two pairs of squares: one light pair and one dark pair.
  2. Cut the 4-patch up.
  3. Rearrange and reassemble the pieces.


The first disappearing 4-patch I learned was called "4-to-9" by the teacher. In this photo, you can see how to cut with your ruler. This one calls for you to cut 1.5 inches on each of the 4 sides. However, there are endless variations because you may cut 1 inch, 2 inches, etc., as you wish.



HINT: If you have a rotating mat, it is so much easier to cut the 4-patch because you can turn the mat and keep your fabric in its original position. This helps to keep the cuts true on each side. If the fabric separates, you will not get pieces of the same exact size, throwing off your block.


When you rearrange the pieces around the new center 4-patch, you achieve a totally different look.



The second type involves making 2.5 inch cuts, but you make two of them first, and then two more after the first.



When these are rearranged, you get a totally different look from the 4-to-9 block because of the way that these squares are re-sewn, you must square up the block after it is sewn back together.

2.5 finished


The third method is called "Windmill". It is a twist, because to make the blocks come out, you need to make at least two 4-patches and swap some of the pieces.



When you mix these disappearing 4-patches with plain fabrics, with each other, with blocks of different sizes, or blocks within blocks, you have almost infinite ways to create a quilt pattern.


What's your favorite 4-patch?


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The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
A heavy plastic measuring guide that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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