Perfectly pieced Four Patches: Miss Rosie’s simple secret

how to sew a four patch quilt blockThe Four Patch. It’s the first block many quilters learn to sew. It’s basic. It’s classic. It’s a great introduction to patchwork.

Of course you know how to sew a Four Patch quilt block. But if you’re not sewing them like Carrie Nelson (aka Miss Rosie), there’s a new technique to learn!

Ask most any quilter what’s the most challenging part of sewing a Four Patch, and they’ll likely say the same thing: getting that center where four fabrics meet to butt up and behave.

We met up with Carrie at Quilt Market, and she showed us how she gets her Four Patch centers to perfectly perform their patchwork duty—watch this video to learn her trick:


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Such an easy fix!

Carrie’s latest book, Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites, is a runaway best seller—it even sold OUT for a while there!—but now it’s back in stock. And you can bet that Miss Rosie will reveal many more sewing tricks in her book. Take a look at all the gorgeous quilts you can create:


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Order your copy of Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse Favorites and download the eBook instantly for free.

What was the first quilt block you ever made: Four Patch, Rail Fence, Log Cabin, something else? Tell us in the comments!

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54 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I made a string quilt. I was 10 and it was horrible.

    —Kay Menefee on August 28, 2017
  • Log Cabin and the sales clerk picked out the fabric had no clue what colors went together. My son still has it I repaired it a couple of times.

    —Sue on August 28, 2017
  • I made a feathered star tree skirt. It is still just a top, like so many other of my quilts. But I get it out once in a while, look at it, and think about quilting it!

    —Janet T on August 28, 2017
  • my first block – hand-stitched – was a churn dash block – it’s still my absolute favorite!

    —Suzanne Kuhns on August 28, 2017
  • A quilt with large blocks set diagonally. It’s a hot mess but I still have it even though it doesn’t fit any bed in my home.

    —Marsha on August 28, 2017
  • I made a log cabin. It was in my beginning quilt class.

    Barb Walsh on August 28, 2017
  • My first quilt was a (lovely) satin and velvet contraptions of a flamingo and a moon. I thought it was beautiful, and I designed it myself. Boy have I learned a lot since then.

    —stephanie woodward on August 28, 2017
  • I made a 9-patch with a heart appliqued in the center square-the instructor gave us a challenge to learn 2 techniques at one time!

    —Bev Gunn on August 28, 2017
  • The first quilt block I made was a log cabin block. I still love log cabin quilts.

    —carol on August 28, 2017
  • 4 patch was my 1st block. Wasn’t very good. Don’t even know what happened to it. I do remember stitching one long row. Obviously I didn’t know what I was do8ng!!! Ha!!.

    —Debra W on August 28, 2017
  • I made some kind of basket for my first. Probably not the best way to start but I do like a challenge.

    —Joanne O'Neal on August 28, 2017
  • My first real quilt was a crazy quilt. The second was a mix of applique poppies, 60 degree diamonds and various borders that I designed myself. Crazy, eh?

    —Phyllis Funk on August 28, 2017
  • My first pieced quilt was a rail fence. Wish I’d known this little hint then. My seams where strips met were so off that I had to tie the quilt to cover them up.

    —Donna on August 28, 2017
  • I think it was a log cabin that I learned to do first. It was so long ago!

    —Diana DeWitt on August 28, 2017
  • My first block was a 9 patch and I learned about seams interlocking at junctions then.

    —Frances Claassens on August 28, 2017
  • My first quilt was a 4-patch. It was not a thing a beauty, but it covered someone’s baby with love. I have improved since that lowly effort.

    —Sandy May on August 28, 2017
  • I don’t really remember my first block.I was given a box of squares when our first son was born 53 years ago. I decided to make a crib quilt for him with no quilting knowledge except seeing my grandmothers and mother piece quilts. I started by sewing the squares together to make a strip, then continued with strips until I had the width I wanted. Since then I have made all the traditional squares along with some newer ones.

    —Donna K on August 28, 2017
  • I made a sampler quilt of 9 blocks for my first quilt. A nine patch was one of them.

    Sinta Borland on August 28, 2017
  • My first was the Ohio Star, because I am from Ohio.

    —Peg on August 28, 2017
  • Ohio Star

    —Peg Frederick on August 28, 2017
  • The first quilt I made was a double 9 patch. I read an old book. I later learned to Strip piece.
    After that I actually took a class.I am mutch better several years later but not perfect.

    —Cheryl J Hilliker on August 28, 2017
  • I believe it was four patch, but used 1″squares (tell how green I was?) Using scraps of all the outfits I made for our baby girl her first 2 years of life! Believe she still has it stored away. The project kept me busy to say the least!

    —Betty P on August 28, 2017
  • The first quilt I made was a Log Cabin. I used cardboard templates and cut out with scissors. Boy times have changed thank the Lord!!!

    —Rose Landon on August 28, 2017
  • The first quilt block I made was a rail fence. I took a "learn to quilt" class that created a 12-block sampler. The Rail Fence was our first step in learning to sew strips together and then cut to create the block. The next progression was the four-patch followed by the nine-patch. I love this "secret" for the four-patches. I have made them for years and every once in a while one is just a smidgen off…this totally explains it!!

    We had the same response, Jane – glad that Carrie’s advice helped! –Jenny

    —Jane S. on August 28, 2017
  • My first block was the Rocky Mountain Puzzle. I made it into a quilted pillow for a friend who was getting married. My first quilt begun about the same time was a double wedding ring. Can you tell I love a challenge?

    That is indeed a challenge for a beginner, Carol – way to go! 🙂 –Jenny

    —Carol on August 28, 2017
  • My first quilt was a log cabin, a pattern I still love!

    —Rilla on August 28, 2017
  • My first quilt block was a log cabin.

    —Lori Mickle on August 28, 2017
  • The first quilt I finished was a log cabin.

    —Vicky on August 28, 2017
  • My first quilts were applique – my design, but my first quilt with pieced blocks was a log cabin

    —Chris on August 28, 2017
  • I made a 4 patch out of old clothes. I was a little child with my Grandmother.

    —Christi on August 28, 2017
  • the nine patch was my first block. I took a class at a woman’s home and we learned only hand piecing and hand quilting. We made a sampler lap quilt.

    —Karen on August 29, 2017
  • Five easy pieces block, using a 9 fat quarter bundle. THat was 9 yrs ago and it’s still in my car adorning my back seat.

    —Diane B on August 29, 2017
  • My first quilt block / quilt was the Maple Leaf. My sister & I each made this quilt at the same time – not really knowing all the wonderful tips & techniques – but we had lots of fun.

    sonja on August 29, 2017
  • I made 2 at the same time. 1- king size :4 patch and a baby quilt
    in log cabin, I would practice my seams on the large one then work on the great-granddaughter’s pink log cabin she still has it but its on her wall now.

    —ReanaZ on August 29, 2017
  • My first quilt block was log cabin.

    —Linda B on August 30, 2017
  • My first block was an Ohio Star as part oa a sampler quilts and it got me hooked.

    —Tracey Roberts on August 30, 2017
  • My Grandma had us start sewing on nine patch blocks. None of the corners matched up–my Grandma was never too worried about perfection!

    —Janna Lee on September 1, 2017
  • The first quilt I made was a team effort for a gift. I think it was just random squares … tied, not quilted … and probably pieced one at a time into rows. I do remember tracing each square onto the back of the fabric, cutting each out with scissors, and sewing consecutive squares together.

    —bookboxer on September 1, 2017
  • My first quilt was an attempt at a log cabin. I think that was before "wonky" so maybe I started the trend (HaHa) not! That was back in the early 70s. Now I quilt in some form everyday. Very therapeutic! Thanks!

    —Pam C on September 1, 2017
  • I received Maple Leaf Blocks from my grandmother. I made blocks to go with hers to make a quilt. Still have it.

    —Judy Wilson on September 1, 2017
  • I think it was a four-patch made with my gramma’s help on her treadle. Long time ago!

    —Nancy L Eriksen on September 1, 2017
  • I started machine sewing before I turned twelve. After sewing many items for my wardrobe, window treatments and a comforter, I saw a quilt pattern in a "Good Housekeeping" magazine and thought, "How hard could that be?". The directions had you making templates which I traced onto fabrics in pen. The fabrics were poly/cotton blends. All the seams were pressed open. Very few of the blocks were square, but I sewed them together with a pucker or two anyway. Then the whole thing was tied with crochet cotton (because that is how I had made the comforter). Proudly I gave the finished quilt to my parents. That was over thirty years ago and my parents still have the quilt in one of the guest rooms.

    —Donna on September 1, 2017
  • Star of David. My grandmother started me out, all hand stitched. I was so ignorant, I tackled the y-seam without fear. It took me 30 years but I finally finished that quilt. Thanks, Grama. Best therapy I could ever have.

    —Virginia on September 1, 2017
  • Pinwheels, believe it or not! These were scraps left behind from something my Mother was piecing.

    —Carol K on September 1, 2017
  • My first quilt was a log cabin. I used cardboard templates and scissors. It was a very special quilt.

    —Carol C on September 1, 2017
  • Bear paw in a pillow for my aunt.

    —Louise Mease on September 1, 2017
  • My first block was a log cabin. It was with blues and pinks and creams. I was told I was supposed to have a red square in the center. It was thirty years ago. I have made a lot of log cabin blocks since then. I still have not used a red center. Lol.

    —Maclary on September 1, 2017
  • Something else. it was a really scrappy quilt.

    —Renea on September 2, 2017
  • My first block was a Crazy Patch using scraps from clothing I had made. Horrible! Then I tackled an Irish Chain using an old bedsheet. The first block I finished was a basket using cardboard templates. It was for a quilt group that made a quilt for each member in turn. I learned a lot from them!

    —Linda Towers on September 2, 2017
  • Log Cabin – Elenor Burn’s style!

    —Mary on September 6, 2017
  • Log Cabin

    —Nancy on September 6, 2017
  • My first quilt was made of square in a square blocks. (And many of my points were lost in the seams!) I still like it though. It was queen size, so I felt like it was quite an accomplishment.

    —gail on September 10, 2017
  • All of the above. Small squares, big squares, layer cakes, Jelly rolls and yardage. I can’t wait to get the Big book of Civil War Quilts and Miss Rosie’s Farmhouse favorites.

    —Deana on September 12, 2017
  • I’ve actually never made a real-live quilt block! I am a very beginner, and I’m trying to teach myself by watching quilting videos and reading everything I can get my hands on. It sounds like this book can offer some great tips and beautiful patterns. I’d love to win it!

    —Teri Gailey on September 15, 2017

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