Improved 9-Patch Quilt


I adore curved pieced quilts, but don’t enjoy the tedious sewing of the curved blocks.  So, I decided to create a pattern for this traditional block using raw-edge applique.  Raw-edge applique is so much easier than curved piecing and when the curved raw edges are washed, they have a wonderful soft texture which makes them instantly look vintage.

This quilt finishes at 84″ x 84″.



1 layer cake {Shibori by Debbie Maddy}
6 1/4 yards Moda Bella white (background)
1 yard turquoise Moda Bella solid (binding and 1 block)
5 yards backing

The Quick Curve Ruler is necessary for this project.


Follow the cutting directions carefully – there is very little waste if you cut as I have outlined.

You will use 41 layer cake squares (or 40 layer cake squares and one 10”x10” square cut from a solid like I did)

Cut from background fabric:

15 strips @ 2.5”xWOF.  Subcut these 15 strips into 3 3/4”x2.5” pieces.  You should get 165 pieces (11 pieces from each strip), and that makes for only one extra (you need 164).  These are for the background on the 9-patch blocks.

17 strips @ 9”xWOF.  From 10 of those strips, you will cut 40(9”x9”) blocks (4 from each WOF strip) .  These are the alternating blocks.  Set these 40(9”x9”) blocks aside as you won’t need to do anything else with these until quilt top assembly.  With the scraps from these first 10 strips, you will cut  2”x9” pieces (you need at least 17 pieces from these scraps, so 2 from each of the partial remaining strips will be enough).  From the remaining 7 pieces of 9”xWOF strips, subcut them into 2”x9” pieces.  You should get 21 pieces from each strip and when you have them all cut, you should  have  164 @ 2”x9”.  These are for the curved section of the blocks.   While we are working with these 2”x9” pieces, let’s go ahead and cut the curves.  With the Quick Curve Ruler, line the pieces up between the 3” and 1” lines and center it on the curve of the ruler.  Each short end will be 1/4” past the dotted line:

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Cut the curve.  The piece on the right will be a scrap.


You should end up with 164 curved pieces like this:


You should have just under a yard (about 34.5”) of the background fabric left, from which you will cut 8 equal strips – 8 strips @4 1/4” x WOF.  If you have a little less or more, adjust your strip width so you have 8 equal WOF strips.  This will be the outer border.  Set these aside for final assembly.

Next, we will cut 40 pieces of the layer cake and 1 solid 10”x10” square (or 41 layer cake squares if you decide to do your blocks in all prints).  You will be cutting the squares at 3 3/4” from each edge.  I layered 4 at a time to do the cutting.



Turning your mat 90° each cut, continue to cut 3 3/4” from each of the 4 edges until your layer cake squares are in 9 pieces.



You will be using the outside corners and the middle piece for your blocks – the outside middle pieces (164@ 2 1/2” x 3 3/4”) are extra that you can use to piece into your backing or even a scrappy binding if you prefer.  You will replace these 2 1/2”x 3 3/4” pieces with the solid white pieces you cut earlier of the background fabric.



Sew your pieces together to form this exaggerated 9-patch block, pressing your seams toward the dark squares:



Now, you can start attaching your curved background pieces.  Just line up the straight edge of the piece with the edge of the 9-patch:



Pin in place and stitch around the curves 1/4” from the curved edge:


You can leave these as-is, or if you have a bit of shadowing through the curved pieces like I did, you can trim from behind and press toward the center (I ended up using a SewLine glue pen and finger pressed these seams in place and then pressed with an iron later from the front):


Once you have your 41 blocks finished, you can alternate them with the solid 9” squares and sew them into rows, then the rows together into the top.  Sew the strips you set aside for the border into pairs end-to-end.  Sew them onto top and bottom and then the sides, trimming to length as necessary.



Quilt as desired!  I chose to do traditional feather wreath quilting in the white spaces.  I did this quilting on my DSM, so you can too!

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This quilt finishes at 84″ x 84″.


Karin Vail
{Cascade Quilts}



20 comments on “Improved 9-Patch Quilt

  1. Barbara woods says:


  2. judireiss says:

    Is this raw edge?

  3. Judith Dembowski says:

    This is beautiful. I prefer not to raw edge so I’m going to back my curved pieces with sewin interfacing I think. I will have to try a sample. I think I may have to add 1/4 inch to the curved piece to make it work out. It may be too much trouble. I’ll see.

    • Karin Vail says:

      SewKindOfWonderful has a tutorial for the improved 9-patch with no raw edges. It is a tiny bit smaller block, but it can still be cut from a layer cake 🙂

  4. cruisefan says:

    Oh – this is gorgeous! I love the color choice – white and blue ….always a winner!
    I am not so much for curved sewing but really want to try this!
    Thank you very much for the clear tutorial.

  5. Janice says:

    I am confused….aren’t you going to have a raw edge on the front of the quilt? Wouldn’t that ruin the look of the quilt after a washing or two?

    • Karin Vail says:

      yes the raw edges are on the front of the quilt. Yes, the edges do fray. To me, this gives character to a quilt. One of my favorite quilts ever is a raw-edge circle quilt (drunkards path) that I did with mostly American Jane fabrics. The raw edges give the quilt another dimension 🙂

  6. Virginia Andersen says:

    This is gorgeous but I am confused. It appears, looking at the first photo, that you are sewing the curves to the front of the block, leaving a raw edge exposed. What am I missing here?

  7. Karin Vail says:

    yes, the raw edge is left exposed – giving the quilt another dimension when the edges fray. The quilt is still quite durable, I promise! 🙂

  8. Pam P. says:

    I love this idea and I think you should rename it to The GREATLY Improved 9-Patch – LOL. Would also love to see how you quilted this on your DSM!! Thanks so much for the pattern 🙂

    • Karin Vail says:

      I probably should have done a video of the quilting, my bad! I made a template of the wreath for starters. I worked on each block one at a time, starting with the vein. Then, the outer feathers and finally inner feathers. I didn’t backtrack on the ends of the feathers like I have seen a lot of tutorials, I just kept making the comma/paisley shaped pieces leaving a small gap between them if possible. I wasn’t perfect and some overlapped, but overall it worked out really well. Just time consuming! I started to quilt more of a design in the 9-patch blocks, but I really didn’t want the quilting to overpower the blocks – so got out my seam-ripper and then I stuck with a simple curved diamond shape in the white areas of those blocks. It cut out a lot of stitching time and I think it is still quite effective.

  9. marcelle stay says:

    This is gorgeous! And it seems straightforward enough that I will give curved piecing a go. I wish there was a close-up photo of the washed and quilted quilt. Well done. Beautiful fabric choice. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Rosemaryflower says:

    Karin, this is beautiful What an amazing idea!

  11. Lea anne says:

    Classic and lovely!

  12. Lois Van Haaften says:

    I bought 6 fat quarters when we were in Alaska and I haven’t found what I want to make yet with that material until I saw this quilt. I would love to use the fat quarters that I have because they are a blue batik and would be perfect for this quilt. My question is: would I have enough material for this quilt or would it work for a throw? I do have the white fabric. Thank You

  13. Love it! Beautiful work!

  14. kathyinmn says:

    Wow! Love it. And I have the ruler!

  15. vanniannie says:

    I love this! Once you have it quilted there shouldn’t be that much fraying. I think it will be beautiful! Great idea!

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