Shoofly Quilt Block: How to Press a Nine Patch Quilt Block

The next quilt block in my 12 Classic Quilt Block sampler is a traditional Shoofly block. This is a super quick quilt block to cut and stitch!



It is a two-color block; I am stitching mine in a vibrant orange batik and a white-on-white print for the background.


The Shoofly block is built with the same three-by-three grid as the Nine Patch block. There are three rows of three patches each. In this case, the corner patches are half-square triangles. Many, many traditional quilt blocks are built on this three-by-three grid, which is nice for several reasons. First, this type of block is quick to construct. Second, the proportions are pleasing to the eye. Third, this layout calls for infinite design possibilities!

As with any Nine-Patch quilt block, begin by stitching the three rows together.

Now, let’s talk about pressing. When I am making any Nine-Patch block, I want my seams to match up perfectly—and pressing carefully really helps! I press the top and bottom rows toward the center, and the middle row toward the outside of the block. This allows me to nest those seams against one another and lock them into place. This ensures the two seams will line up when the block is completely pieced. Note that you can  press the top and bottom rows toward the outside and the middle row toward the center, if that works better with any previous seams. You want to avoid pressing the seams in the same direction!

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Here you can see the front and back of my finished block. See how those seams are matching up, making the points meeting the center patch meet perfectly? That is what careful pressing will get you! On the back, you can see that when I sew the rows together, I press the seams open. This is to reduce bulk no matter what setting scheme this quilt block is sewn into.

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