BLOCK Friday: Disappearing Nine Patch

Quilting is an integral part of American history, especially during the time of the pioneers and their move west. Women sewed, as was tradition, and children began their sewing education with simpler projects, like Nine Patch quilt patterns.

Cut to the Quick by the Fons & Porter Staff
Cut to the Quick

The Nine Patch quilt block has been around for hundreds of years. As the years have passed, the Nine Patch has, like many other quilt blocks, adopted variations. For more Nine Patch quilt patterns, take a look at BLOCK Friday: Nine Patch Quilt Patterns. For now, let’s take a look at a variation on the Nine Patch — the Disappearing Nine Patch.

The Disappearing Nine Patch quilt block is a bit puzzling if you’re trying to decipher its construction upon first glance. How does a simple Nine Patch block –- perhaps one of the simplest quilt blocks in quilting –- turn into its elusive cousin, the Disappearing Nine Patch? Depending on the direction you turn the four quadrants of the split Nine Patch, you can create a number of different Disappearing Nine Patch layouts.

Cut to the Quick, by the Fons & Porter Staff, is a pretty batik quilt made using the Disappearing Nine Patch block. Can you see each quadrant of the Nine Patch?

Making the Disappearing Nine Patch is pretty easy. However, here’s fair warning to anyone trying it for the first time: it can be unsettling cutting into your perfectly, freshly sewn Nine Patch quilt block. You just have to trust the process on this one.

First, you’ll make the Nine Patch block. Next, you’ll cut the entire block across its horizontal axis. Then, without shifting the pieces at all, carefully lift your ruler and place it over the block’s vertical axis and cut again. What you’re left with is four quadrants of the once complete Nine Patch, which are now free to turn and rotate until you have an entirely new quilt block pattern.

You can see in the quilt, It’s Easy Being Green by Kristine Peterson, the two diagonal quadrants were turned 180° to make a more symmetrical, geometric design. The solid background color was added to the corners of each finished block to create a zig zag effect between the Disappearing Nine Patch blocks.

The Disappearing Nine Patch in Off My Back by Tony Jacobson, is constructed in the same fashion as Kris Peterson’s quilt, but changing up the color scheme and adding thin sashing with a cornerstone changes the whole look of the quilt. Watch the quick quilting video tutorial below to see how fast and easy it is to construct this complex-looking quilt. By the way, you can access all of our Quilting Quickly video tutorials for free by heading over to It’s worth the trip.

As an experienced quilter, you know that if you can construct a variation on a Nine Patch block, you can most likely do it with a Four Patch, too. And, it would be even faster to construct since there’s fewer moving parts (pun intended). This is what a Disappearing Four Patch quilt pattern looks like. I’m wondering what a 16-patch would look like. I might just have to try it out for fun!

Disappearing Four Patch by Jenny Doan
Disappearing Four Patch by Jenny Doan

I know many of you have made Disappearing Nine and Four Patch quilts, and some have even posted pictures to the Fons & Porter’s Facebook page (we love to see your quilts!) We should all be proud of our quilting projects, so let’s hear about your Disappearing Patch quilts in the comments below!

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter

Happy Quilting!

Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

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Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.

3 thoughts on “BLOCK Friday: Disappearing Nine Patch

  1. The disappearing nine has been a favorite of mine for charity quilts. They are fast and always a beautiful surprise. Love using bright colors for children. Also, a great way to use those 5″ square packs.

  2. I love these quilts.
    I have made one disappearing 9 patch with all Christmas fabrics, about 5 years ago (perhaps my first quilt)
    and it turned out….. interesting.
    I love these ideas, and I absolutely appreciate your ideas here and how wonderful the results can vary.