by Debby Kratovil


To see graphics to go along with these directions, click here!

Begin with the basic premise that where the four parts of a Four Patch come together (intersect) you can add a "fifth dimension". Our basic Four Patch is a Five Patch in disguise.

Materials required are five (5) equal sized squares of fabric -- two squares of background color and three squares for contrast. Size is arbitrary but let's begin with 5 squares cut 2-1/2". The finished size of your block will be 4".

Figure 1. We begin with a 2-1/2" square of the contrast fabric. This will be the "knot" of the Bow Tie.

Figure 2. Fold the contrast square in half, WRONG sides together. Keep the fold at the bottom, raw edges of the unit up. The dimensions of this unit are 1-1/4" x 2-1/2"".

Figure 3. Take a light colored background square and lay it right side up. Lay the folded square on top, lining up the top raw edges with the background square. We now have the fold of the contrast square running horizontally along the center of the background square.

Figure 4. Place a contrast square over the Figure 3 unit, right side down. Sew a 1/4" seam along the left side joining all three pieces together. You will be sewing through four layers.

Figure 5 & 6. Open up and press. Fold background square back away from the folded square, leaving the folded square standing alone.

Figure 7. Enclose the short free end of the folded square with the remaining two squares (see Figure 3 and 4). Reverse the color placement closely following the diagram.

Now the tricky part! Put your finger in the pocket formed by your folded center square. Open it up, bringing the two seams together. Doing this naturally brings together the other four squares, contrast square against background square, right sides touching. This action also places each half of the folded center square sandwiched between a contrast and background square. You will be sewing through four layers of fabric. Butt the seams against each other; begin sewing from the left, catching the lined-up raw edges of the folded square in this seam. You may have to pin these "wiggly" pieces together. Stop sewing when you reach the center seam. Leave your machine needle down while you adjust fabric of center folded square so that its remaining raw edges lie flat and unwrinkled. Finish sewing seam. Press seams in opposite directions. You now have a Three Dimensional Bow Tie block (Figure 8).

What you can do with this block is limited only to the extent of your imagination! The principle is easy: Wherever four equal sized units intersect, a fifth unit of the same size can be added at that intersection. This fifth unit becomes the "fifth dimension".

 Cut squares this size

 To make blocks this size

 1-1/2"

 2"

 2"

 3"

 3"

 5"

 3-1/2"

 6"

Back to Quilting Lessons Page

{[an error occurred while processing this directive]}