Square Within A Square Within A Square–A Tutorial

quilts, Square Within A Square Within A Square

I have had several beginning quilters ask me how I’m I making these colorful black/red/white squares.  I am sure there are pattern instructions out there somewhere in blog land but as I’m not even sure if there is a name for this I’m not sure where to direct you.  These have been in recent years referred to as “Modern Blocks” why? I don’t know – surely quilters have been making these for years.  Maybe it is because of the newer designs used in fabric?  I sometimes think it is just that the new designers of quilting blocks want it all to sound fresh and “modern”!!

So here is a tutorial for those of you who want to know how to make these blocks – if you know how to use your sewing machine, or hand piece you will learn it quickly.

1- For each square you need 3 colors – cut a 2 1/2 inch block for your center from one color, from the second color cut 2 – 2 1/2 inch blocks and 2- 6 1/2 inch strips.  From the 3rd color cut 2-6 1/2 inch strips and 2- 10 1/2 inch strips.  I use the assemble line process so I stack them up in order they will be used.


2 – grab your center block and one of the 2 1/2 inch blocks from the next color and sew your 1/4 inch seam, for assembly line you leave it in the machine – sew as many blocks as you have assembled – I have 5 of them here I think. (this is also referred to as chain piecing)


3 – when you are done with this group cut apart and stack them in order so your pieces will flow for the next section. Now you sew the next 2 1/2 inch square to the other side. When you are done, cut them apart and stack.


4 – now I take them to the ironing board and I press the seams open – you can press to the side if you want to.  For hand quilting (I don’t know if this will be hand quilted or machine quilted) it is easier to quilt through seams that are pressed open.  Please forgive the scorched up board I really need to get a new one or make one.


5- now take your 6 1/2 inch strips of the same color and again do the same way – sew one side, cut apart and then do the other side.  Take to the board to press your seams.  When doing it this way I sew without using pins – it goes faster and it all lays flat.


This is what you now have.  A Square with in a Square


6 – now take your 6 1/2 inch strips from your last color selection and repeat the steps you have already done finishing with your 10 1/2 inch strips last.  My completed block with the seams pressed open.


the front, when you are done with your blocks trim them straight.  Make as many as you want to make – it just depends on how large or small you want your quilt.  Now you have a Square within a Square within a Square!


What I have so far – yikes! I am running out of room – I think in a day or two I will need to get the big portable design wall out.  I am making more than I thought I would have and I still have about half of my strips left to make more blocks out of.  I think I will need to just stack them up from now on until I get the design wall out. This is not the final order of the blocks – I will play with it and move things around until I am satisfied with color placement.


I hope this has helped you beginners out there in blog land – I am not the best at step by step, if you have questions – ask! Smile

(I am compensated for any purchases made through my links.)

3 comments… add one
  • Shannyn Feb 2, 2012

    And out loud I said…. “OHHHH!!!! That’s how it’s done!!!” Thanks for this. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that are the hardest to figure out. 🙂
    Shannyn recently posted…Febby-yarry WIP Wednesday! Whee!My Profile

  • CJ in AR Feb 2, 2012

    I’m going to love this quilt! I was intrigued to see that you press your seams open.
    CJ in AR recently posted…PlayingMy Profile

  • Vivian Feb 2, 2012

    I am still amazed at how great these blocks look put together. I think red and black must be two of my favorite colors.
    Vivian recently posted…Google TranslatorMy Profile

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