Sew Many Fresh Ideas for Quilt Blocks – Quilting Daily

I’m so looking forward to meeting with the fiber art group I belong to, Sisters in Cloth, this coming weekend for our annual extravaganza. It is a sort of party where we get together on a Saturday, have a great lunch, do a lively show and tell, have a speaker or technique demonstration, and sew together a charity quilt.


Free-motion stitch quilt squares into stylish place mats.

This year, we’ll be bringing completed nine-patch quilt blocks for the charity quilt. In honor of the day we’re meeting, St. Patrick’s Day, each quilt block with have a green square in the center.

Once I start cutting fabric for quilt blocks, it’s hard to stop. After I’ve finished my charity quilt block, I’ll be looking for inspiration to make more patchwork inspiration.

Fortunately, I won’t have to go far. I’ve had a sneak peek at our new Modern Patchwork magazine, and I can’t wait to make the quilts and projects inside.

Because I love to share, here is a sneak peek for you, too. It’s a free-motion stitched place mat set made up of quilt squares.

Free-motion Stitched Place Mats
by Helen Gregory


For 4 place mats, finished size 13½” x 18″

  • Assorted prints for the background squares and circles, 3 yds. total
  • Fusible web, 2 yds.
  • Backing fabric, 1 yd.
  • Low-loft batting, craft size
  • Rotary cutting supplies
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine with free-motion capabilities
  • 3″ Circle template
  • Stabilizer (optional)


1. From the assorted print fabrics, cut 96 squares 5″ x 5″ (half of these will be used for the circles).

2. From the backing fabric, cut 4 rectangles 14″ x 18½“. Also cut 4 rectangles 14” x 18½” from the batting. Set aside the batting and backing rectangles.

3. Using the circle pattern, trace 48 circles onto the paper side of the fusible web. Cut out the circles roughly, cutting outside the marked line.

4. Plan your fabric arrangement for each place mat, determining which fabrics will be the circles and which will be the backgrounds.

5. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, iron a fusible web circle to the wrong side of each of the selected circle fabrics. Cut out the circles and remove the fusible backing.

Tip: Score the paper backing with a pin to be able to tear it and remove it from the fabric.

6. Center each circle on the right side of a background square and fuse.

7. Free-motion stitch around the outer edge of each circle. Depending on the type of fabric and fusible web you’re using, you may wish to use a layer of stabilizer for this step. You can use a tear-away stabilizer or a lightweight fusible stabilizer.

8. For each place mat, arrange the stitched squares into 3 rows of 4 squares each. Piece each row and press the seams in one direction. Sew the rows together.

9. Layer each place mat as follows: batting rectangle, place mat top (right side up), backing rectangle (right side down). Using a 1/4” seam allowance, stitch around the outside edge, leaving a 6″ opening along 1 of the long sides.

10. Clip the corners, turn the place mat right-side out, and press. Turn the raw edges of the opening to the inside and press. Topstitch 1/8” from the edge around the entire place mat. Complete the remaining place mats in the same manner.

11. To finish, quilt in the ditch (or as desired).

There are so many beautiful free quilt block patterns, quilt patterns, and project instructions in Modern Patchwork, I just know you’ll find something to make and share.


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