Disappearing 9 Patch Quilts

by Christine Vinh

Disappearing 9 Patch Quilts

4 comments by Christine Vinh

In-progress Disappearing 9 Patch quilt top using Australian fabricVersatile, easy pattern with a complex look!

Guest post by Christine Vinh

A few years ago I made a Disappearing 9 Patch quilt for the shop using a pack of 10 in. squares of Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics — and we still get asked what pattern was used. And when we answer it’s a Disappearing 9 Patch, we’re then asked the ‘How do You Do That?’ questions!

So we decided it was time to make a new sample to document the process (pictured here in progress; see below for a full view of the completed quilt). We were so pleased with the results we’ve decided to make quilt kits for our customers, available while supplies last. Choose from our Australian Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt Kit or our kit that includes the colorful Kitty Litter fabrics.

The original sample used the authentic Aborigine-designed fabric from M&S Textiles, so I chose to pick new designs from that collection. I opted to go with five different fabrics for the color and used half yard per color —just in case I wanted to make the quilt larger!

The Crafty Quilter Disappearing 9-patch QAL table

I did some research on Pinterest and found some guides about different quilt block sizes, layouts and finished quilt size. I wanted to use 5 inch squares, and found the table (reprinted above) from The Crafty Quilter Disappearing 9-patch QAL to be the most helpful.

Enjoying sunshine while piecing 9 patch blocks on my BERNINAI chose to make the center portion of the quilt 52 in. x 65 in. and, using the guide, determined that it would require a total of 20 blocks, each made up of 4 (four) squares of color, 1 (one) square of dark, and 4 (four) squares of white.

Fabric requirements for the blocks plus borders:

  • Half yard each of four different color fabric, for the blocks
  • 1.5 yards of one color, for blocks and for outer border
  • 1 yard of dark value fabric, for the center squares and inner border
  • 1.5 yards of light value fabric, for the background

Cutting Directions for your 9 Patch blocks:

  • Cut 2 (two) 5 in strips from each of your chose color design fabrics and then sub-cut into 5 inch squares for a total of 16 squares
  • For the dark blocks, cut 3 (three) 5 in. strips. Two of the strips were sub cut into 5 in. squares and 2 (two) additional 5 in. squares from the remaining strip
  • The background fabric was cut into 10 (ten) 5 in. strips and sub cut into 5 in. blocks

Piecing a nine patch quilt block

There are a number of layouts one can pick for the starting 9 patch, and I used the basic one — the color fabrics in outer corners, dark square in the middle, and fill in the spaces with the light background fabric. I found it easiest to sew the blocks together one at a time to keep colors in order. I string pieced (above) and then pressed to assure seams would butt up against each other (below).

Completed starting 9 patch, front and reverse

Once all 20 blocks were assembled and pressed, I cut each block down the center then carefully turned and cut down the center again. This gave me the 80 blocks required for the overall top.

Disappearing 9 patch block after cutting and turning

Pictured above left, a block after cutting in and turing two of the quadrants, before sewing back together. Now it’s time to play with layouts of your blocks! For this sample I chose to start with one color block in the upper left corner, adding a different color for each diagonal row. Right, Wonder Clips are handy for keeping your blocks together in rows after you've decided your layout.

There are many different options to lay out your blocks — The Crafty Quilter blog I referenced has several layout diagrams, or do a web search for Disappearing 9 Patch (also Disappearing Nine Patch) — for lots of inspiration! Try different arrangements with your cut blocks until you find the layout that speaks to you! That’s the fun of this pattern!

Disappearing 9 Patch blocks on the design wall, testing layouts

I always take a picture of what I think will be my final layout, and then walk away before preparing to stitch the rows together. In the second sample I made, this pause for a fresh look helped me to identify one block that was turned in the wrong direction — before it was sewn and preventing me from having to use the seam ripper!

Australian fabric Disappearing 9 Patch quilt with borders being longarm quilted

I like to stack all the blocks in a row and then stack the rows to sew one row at a time. I sew the rows together as I go with this pattern, again to make sure I haven’t turned a block in the process.

Once the center portion was complete, I cut and pieced the border strips: 6 (six) 2.5 in. strips of the dark design for the inner border and 6 (six) 5 in. strips of the fabric for the outer border. Sew the inner border side strips first and then add the strips for top and bottom. Repeat for the outer border.

Then it was off to the quilter! I chose to use 2 yards of the yellow ombre wideback fabric and had enough left over to use for the binding. (I didn’t mention backing fabric in the fabric requirements; the choice is yours depending on your preference and what size you make your Disappearing 9 Patch.)

Having enjoyed making the first sample, I decided to try another one using 4 in. strips instead of the 5 in. I love the variety of colors available in the Kitty Litter blender collection from Pammie Jane (Pamela Jane Morgan) for Dear Stella.

Detail, Disappearing 9 Patch quilt using Kitter Litter for blocksFabric choices:

Cut two strips, each 4 in. x 22 in. from each of the fat quarters. Then sub-cut each strip into 4 in. squares. Cut the gray and white fabrics into 4 in. strips and sub cut into 4 in. squares. Sew your nine-patch blocks and then cut them, as described above for the Australian quilt.

Forthe Kitty Litter Disappearing 9 Patch layout, I chose to match color blocks throughout the top. Look closely at the two samples and you can see the difference in the layouts.

Completed Disappearing 9 Patch quilt using Kitty Litter fabrics

Hope you enjoy making either one of the kits or fabrics of your own choice. Make sure to share your quilt with us on Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group!

Completed Disappearing 9 Patch quilt using Australian fabrics


  • AuntMarti

    That is just amazing! Thanks so much for answering my question and for sharing the technique!

  • Deb Klopp

    Excellent instructions and pictures. Thank You

  • Anita

    Thanks for sharing. I like disappearing nine patch, and I will try one later this year with African fabrics. Thanks for the idea.

  • Cheryl Koethe

    Great article! Directions were clear – easy to understand. The samples were really great!
    Would like to see more articles like this one!

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