Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt Pattern for Charm Packs

Written by: Leah Day



Time to read 9 min

If you're new to quilting and looking for a good place to start, this quilting tutorial and free Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt Pattern is perfect for you!

This easy quilt pattern is designed for charm packs. These precut 5-inch fabric squares make piecing a quilt top much faster and easier, especially for beginners. 

If you're having trouble finding charm packs, keep in mind this is just one name for precut 5-inch squares of fabric, available at most quilt shops. Using precut fabrics allow you to skip preparing your fabric and cutting the quilt squares. 

If you decide to cut the pieces for this 4 Patch Quilt pattern from yardage, you can find tutorials on these steps at this bottom of this pattern.

Of course, in order to take this baby quilt from start to finish, we'll need to learn some simple quilting designs. Make sure to read all the way through so you understand how to piece AND quilt your Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt Pattern!

4 Patch Quilt Pattern

Materials List for this Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt Pattern

  • 1 Precut Charm Pack (5 inch squares) - Print Fabrics (40 squares minimum)
  • 1 Precut Charm Pack (5 inch squares) - Solid Fabrics (40 squares minimum)
  • 1 1/2 yards Backing fabric
  • Crib Size Quilt Batting
  • Piecing Thread and Machine Quilting Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Optional - Paper Quilting Stencils to help you quilt your quilt!

Step 1 - Piece Your Charm Packs Together

Our 4 Patch Quilt Pattern begins with a very simple step: Open your precut charm packs and set them side by side on your sewing table.

Actually, sometimes this is the hardest part! Opening a charm pack means I have to use it, or risk the fabric squares getting jumbled up, dirty, or wrinkled. Precut packs are often so prettily packaged, it can be hard to open them.

So take a deep breath and bust open those charm packs and set them side by side on your sewing table

Important Note - Don't fiddle with the fabric arrangement at all - let's just piece the charm packs together exactly as they were stacked by the fabric manufacturer. This means we will piece the fabrics together from top to bottom with no fiddling.

So long as you selected solid and print charm packs that look nice next to each other, the 4 Patch Quilt pattern you make from them will look nice too.

Stack two squares right sides together. Align the edges perfectly and then stitch them together along one edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Seam allowance is the distance between the line of stitching and the edge of the fabrics. This is the amount of fabric we lose in the seam. When piecing a quilt, we use a very narrow, 1/4-inch seam allowance.

This is much smaller than the 5/8-inch seam allowance common in sewing patterns. Remember - quilting and sewing are two very different crafts. We may be using a sewing machine and stitch with thread, but the rules really are different because these are two very different skills.

We even have special patchwork feet designed to help us stitch that 1/4-inch seam allowance perfectly. The Little Rebel sewing machine I'm using in this tutorial comes with two 1/4-inch patchwork feet included with the machine!

What About Fabric Prep and Cutting?

If you've made a few quilts, you may be wondering about the usual starting steps - preparing your fabric and cutting out the pieces. This is why quilt patterns from charm packs are so quick and easy - we get to skip lots of steps!

Normally I wash my fabric before cutting, press it and apply starch to stiffen the layers, and then cut it carefully to size. Because charm packs are relatively small at 5-inches square, we can't wash them without risking a lot of fraying or distortion.

I also tested this 4 patch quilt pattern and found pressing each square and applying starch added a lot of time without improving the finished quilt block much at all.

Yes, if you have time to spare and want to do these steps, you certainly can, but you probably won't see a significant difference in your finished 4 patch quilt pattern.

What does make a difference for this baby quilt? Make sure to pick precut charm packs made by the same manufacturer. 

I found there was a big difference between brands in size.

Yes, they are supposed to be cut 5-inches square, but some manufacturers add an additional 1/8-inch - 1/4-inch with a pinked (zigzag) edge to reduce fraying.

This means that piecing charm pack squares made from different manufacturers could result in squares that are very different sizes. Unfortunately this will make piecing our 4 patch quilt blocks quite challenging.

The fastest way I found to trim big squares down to size was to roll them through my AccuQuilt Go! Die cutter. Affiliate - Using this 5-inch square die, I was able to cut 6 - 8 squares at a time and get back to piecing quickly!

Step 2 - Sew Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt Blocks

I specified in the materials list for this 4 Patch Quilt pattern to make sure your charm packs have a minimum of 40 squares. After piecing your two charm packs together into sets of 2, you should have 40 pieced units at this point.

Did you piece using the beautiful color arrangement set by the manufacturer? Stopping to fiddle with your fabrics, arrange all the prints just right and make sure matching squares are (or are not) next to each other really is a waste of time!

I promise - the arrangement from your charm packs will be excellent!

When you have a stack of 40 pieced units, take them to your pressing board and press the seam allowance open. I first open the seam using my fingertips, then I flatten the seam completely by hitting it with a hot, dry iron.

Yes, I like to open my seams nice and flat, and then if I choose, I can press both seam allowances to the darker side.

As you press your units, you can begin to stack them together in sets of 2 to create your Four Patch Quilt Blocks. Again, keep in the color order we've already maintained and the colors of the 4 patches should match up nicely.

Pin or clip them together and return to you sewing machine to finish piecing your 4 Patch Quilt pattern. Pin the center of the block so the seamlines match up nicely. If they slip out of position, don't worry - your quilt will still be lovely and warm even if it's not pieced perfectly.

Piecing the 40 units together will result in 20 simple scrappy quilt blocks for our baby quilt!

Scrappy 4 Patch Quilt Patterns from Precuts

How to Sew Quilt Squares Together

Now it's time to lay out your 4 Patch Quilt Blocks on the floor or design wall. I arranged my quilt with 4 - 4 Patch quilt blocks across and 5 - 4 Patches down.

To piece your simple quilt blocks together, pin together a row of blocks, right sides together. Take the row to your machine and piece them together one at a time. Press the seams as you desire, then return the row to your quilt layout.

Piece the remaining rows the exact same way. Now flip over the top row on top of the second row. Take a minute to pin at each seamline to ensure the seams will match up nicely.

Carefully stitch your 1/4-inch seam allowance, removing pins before you hit each seam. Repeat this process with each row until you have a completed pieced quilt top.

If you piece all 20 quilt blocks together, this 4 Patch Quilt pattern will make a 36 x 45 inch quilt.

Is this a good size for your baby? Click Here to find a Baby Quilt Size Chart.

Video - Beginner Quilting 4 Patch Quilt Tutorial

Would you like to see how this 4 Patch Quilt Pattern is pieced? If you’re a visual quilter, you’re in luck! Learn how to piece your 4 Patch Quilt Blocks step-by-step using charm packs in this YouTube quilting video:

I can’t stress enough the simplicity and ease of piecing these Four Patch Quilt Blocks in the color order set by the precuts. Keeping the fabrics in color order throughout the process - all the way to piecing the quilt top - results in a beautiful quilt in half the time.

What’s great is you can use this method of piecing charm packs together in sets of two as a leaders and enders project. This means instead of using a scrap charger to begin and end your seam, just grab 2 precut 5 inch squares and sew two together to begin stitching, then chain stitch onto your current project. As you finish that seam, chain stitch onto another set of charm squares.

In this way, you can be piecing more 4 Patch baby quilts without even trying!

Step 3 - Let’s Finish Our Baby Quilt Top with Quilting!

Most quilt patterns stop once the quilt top is pieced, but that is really only half the quilting process. To finish this baby quilt, we need to follow three more steps: 

  1. Layer the quilt top with batting (fluffy stuff in the middle) and backing fabric.
  2. Baste the quilt top with pins or large stitches to temporarily hold the 3 layers together. 
  3. Secure the layers of the quilt together permanently with quilting stitches.

For help with layering and basting your baby quilt top, check out the Basting Basics Workshop here. This online class covers all the details to quilt basting with everything you need to know about this step of the quilting process.

Our quilting stitches, which must run through all 3 layers of the quilt, can be hand or machine stitched. An easy quilting design you can use for this 4 Patch Quilt pattern would be straight lines stitched through the middle of each square, or diagonally across each Four Patch Quilt Block. Learn more about quilting straight lines in the book Explore Walking Foot Quilting.

Quilters can add additional designs and patterns to the quilt using decorative quilting stitches too. I recommend using a walking foot when quilting with decorative machine stitches and testing them out first using the Decorative Stitch Swatcher.

Step 4 - Beginner Machine Quilting with Paper Quilting Stencils

For this 4 Patch Quilt pattern, I’ve been playing with a fun beginner machine quilting technique using paper quilting stencils. This is a style of free motion quilting, which you can do with a regular sewing machine or longarm. By quilting through the paper and quilt at the same time, you have a line to follow and guide your quilting design.

Choose from any of our Printable Quilting Stencils and print out 20-30 copies of page 2 - the page with the quilting design. Place the first stencil on the left edge of the quilt, with the paper extending 1/4 inch into the batting area.

Pull up your bobbin thread and begin quilting, following the marked line on the quilting stencil. It’s okay if you stitch off the line and don’t follow it perfectly.

Focus more on moving the quilt slowly and keeping the stitches very tiny. The smaller the stitches, the easier it will be to tear the paper away after quilting.

As you finish one stencil, place the next stencil on your quilt and stitch across in a row. When you reach the right edge of your Four Patch Baby Quilt, fold the excess stencil over and trim off the paper. Stitch into the batting area and break thread.
Repeat with another row of one design, aligning the stencils side by side. The designs have proper spacing included so you can butt the paper stencils right next to each other and have a beautifully spaced quilting design.

Alternatively you can purchase multiple stencil designs and stitch a different row of each design on your quilt. This is what I did with my 4 Patch Quilt pattern and I love the effect!

Step 5 - Tear Away the Paper Quilting Stencil and Give it a Wash

Once you finish quilting your entire baby quilt with stencils, give the quilt a squish in one direction, then the other direction and the paper will begin tearing away from the stitches.

Don’t obsess about getting every little bit of paper removed. After tearing away the bulk of the stencil, wash your quilt and the small, stubborn bits will wash out easily!

Using paper quilting stencils is a fun and easy way to finish this baby quilt. I hope you’ve enjoyed this 4 Patch quilt pattern and will share it with your friends or quilt guild. You’re welcome to use this tutorial and video for quilting workshops or classes as well.

Contact us for more help on hosting your own machine quilting with paper stencils class!

Let’s go quilt,

Leah Day