Basic Four Patch Quilt Project for Beginners

A basic four patch quilt block is made of four equal-sized squares sewn together. Different designs are created by the change of the fabric colors, prints and the way the blocks are placed in a project. The four patch block is an excellent block pattern for the beginner, as it is easy to make.

Lap Quilt

Start with a small quilt as a beginning project. Use a crib quilt batting, 45 inches by 60 inches, for a lap quilt measuring 40 inches square. You will need light- and dark-colored fabrics. You may have a mixture of fabrics, or use only two if you prefer.

Cut your fabrics into 4.5-inch squares. This allows for a one-quarter-inch seam allowance around each square. You will need two light-colored squares and two dark-colored squares for each four patch block. Sew one light square and one dark square together, wrong sides facing. Repeat with another pair of squares. Sew the two pairs of squares together, wrong sides facing, so the light squares are sewn onto the dark squares to form a checkerboard pattern. This is your four patch block

Make 25 four patch blocks. Sew a strip of five blocks across, always with the dark fabric in the top right square. Make five strips. Sew the strips together, creating a 40-inch quilt top. Complete the lap quilt by sandwiching the quilt top, batting, and backing fabric; quilting through the three layers; and binding. Use pastel or baby-themed prints to make this a crib quilt.

Purse or Tote

Use smaller blocks to make a tote bag or purse. Cut fabric into 3.5-inch squares, and construct each four patch block from one dark-colored square and three light-colored squares. Make eight blocks, four for the front and four for the back of the bag.

Place four blocks on your work surface so that the dark square of each faces the center. Sew the two top blocks together, then the two bottom blocks together, then join the two strips. Repeat with the remaining four blocks.

Sew the front and back pieces together along three sides, using a quarter-inch seam. Hem the top of the bag and add strap(s). You may also quilt the bag with batting and a backing fabric before sewing the front and back together, if you prefer.


Use graph paper to create your own four patch design for a pillow. Decide on the size of your pillow. The measurement will need to be divisible by the size of the four patch block. It’s easiest to work in even numbers. If you decide to work with 2-inch squares (cutting the fabric 2.5 inches square to allow for seams) the finished four patch block would measure 4 inches square.

The width or length of your pillow could be 4, 8, 12 or 16 inches. Draw a box on your graph paper, using each square to represent one square of each four patch block. Create your design using colored markers or pencils. Cut and sew your blocks according to your design. You may use a solid piece of fabric for the back of your pillow.

Sew the pillow front to the backing fabric, using a quarter-inch seam. Make sure the right sides of the fabric face each other, and leave a 4-inch opening to turn the pillow right side out. Stuff the pillow with polyester filling. Hand sew the opening shut.