Sunday, May 26, 2013

Patriotic Patches

Memorial Day weekend... it seems a fitting time to post a tutorial on a patriotic quilt.

This is the second Quilt of Valor I’ve made for the project of a friend whose veteran son is living in a veteran's home, receiving training… the first one is the Offset Log Cabin, which was featured on a prior blog.   She plans to distribute a Quilt of Valor to all the residents of that home, showing our (as civilians) appreciation for their service.

This quilt is super easy… and made up simply of 5” charm squares and 2-1/2” strips.  My strips were navy blue and red prints, with unbleached muslin for the light strips.  I have a lot of pieces that have been trimmed off quilt backings, so I didn’t have to cut into any yardage for the light strips… and I reduced some of the pieces in my scrap basket!  The completed top, less borders, is shown at the left.

To begin, join four 5” charm squares into a square
that will measure 9-1/2”, see photo at right.
From your 2-1/2” strips:Make two strip sets:  dark, white, dark
Make one strip set:  white, red, white.
You will need twice as many of the dark, white, dark
As the white, red, white, which is why you are making
Twice as many of the dark strip sets.

Cut these strip sets into 2-1/2” segments.
Join them with the dark/white/dark on the top and bottom,
And the white/red/white in the center.  Your 9-Patch will measure 6-1/2" square when you have the three rows joined. The  completed 9-Patch is shown on the right. 

To make the Rail Fence sashing, you will need to join a white/dark/white strip… I didn’t count how many, but I can tell you that I got four segments from every strip set.  See the strip set below, left.

Cut this into 9-1/2” segments.  Join one of these sashing strips to the top of your charm square set, and one to the bottom of your charm square set.  Join one 9-patch to each end of another sashing strip, and attach that to each side of the charm square with the strip sets already attached.  You will see your charm square in the center, with the Rail Fence blocks on all 4 sides and the 9-Patches in the corner.  Attach Rail Fence sashing to two more Charm Square blocks, and sew them to the sides of the first block you made.  You can continue to build out from there, adding the 9-Patch units when necessary to complete the block.

   Note the photo below left, which shows a close-up of one part of the quilt top.  See how the Rail Fence sashing borders the charm square, and the 9-Patch units complete the square.

When I had all the blocks finished for the main part of the quilt,
I added the sashing row across the top and bottom, made up of the Rail Fence strips and 9-Patch blocks.  The last thing I added were the sashing rows for the two long sides.

I found it helpful to pin where the units join, in order to match the seams properly.  It also helps to set your seams by pressing the sewing line on the wrong side, then flipping it up to press from the right side.  When sewing the strip sets, I pressed the seams toward the dark fabric whenever possible.
My border will probably be made up of perhaps a narrower navy blue stripe bordering the top, with a wider border of a red print, and bound with navy blue.  This truly is a quilt you can make in a day, if you are using pre-cut charm squares.  The charm packs I used were Star Spangled Bandana, by Bristol Bay Studios (Bernatex), American Basics, by Windham Fabrics, and some from a layer cake, Honor & Glory, by Windham Fabrics.  I order many of my charm packs online from The Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Their shipping is reasonable, and they have a “quilter's deal of the day” which is usually marked down considerably from the retail price.

And here is another photo of the completed top, without borders.  There are 23 Rail Fence sashing units, with twenty 9-Patch units and 12 charm square units consisting of 4 charm squares in each.


If you have a veteran in your life, be sure to think him or her!  Often, our military are not treated with the respect they deserve.  Many come home with physical disabilities, but perhaps more bear the emotional scars of war.  May God bless our military people and keep them safe! 


  1. You did a beautiful job. Very nice. I think it is wonderful to do quilts for veterans.

  2. I am going to make one--I love it

    1. That's great, Marcia! I'd love to see a photo of your finished quilt.