Economy Block Tutorial
Jessica Chin, 12/23
There's not a lot of history available for this block, but it made its first appearance during the civil war period 1860-1865. It appears it also became popular again during The Great Depression of the 1930's - obviously why it's known as the Economy block. Quilters were able to use the fabrics that were too small for clothing and create warm bedding in a cost effective way.
Scrappy quilts were the norm during times of war and economic distress and the Economy block allowed the quilter to play with color and design, plus they could show off their thrifty skills by making beautiful quilts. Quilters of this era tended to use inviting florals and beautiful colors as they raised the mood and uplifted everyone's spirits during these difficult times.
The Economy block is one of the simplest blocks you can sew, and its versatility keeps it popular in today's modern quilting world.
To put it simply, an economy quilt block is a square within a square, and then that unit is also within a square! Let’s dive in.
Step 1: Decide which fabric you will be using as your first round of squares and which fabric you will be using as your second round of squares. The cream fabric provided will need to be the center block.
Step 2: Subcut the cream fabric into one 3.5” square, subcut round 1 fabric into two 3.5” squares and subcut round 2 fabric into two 4.5” squares.
All seams for this block will be standard ¼”
Step 3: For the round 1 and round 2 squares, you’ll need 2 squares of fabric for each fabric. Cut those 4 squares on the diagonal. The diagonal side should be at least 1/2″ longer than the side of the square you are sewing it to.
Step 4: Align two round 1 triangles to opposite sides of the center block lining up the center of each triangle to the center block as in the photo below. Fold both the center block and round 1 triangles in half to find the center and pin in place.
Step 5: Begin by sewing two seams that are directly across from each other, with right sides together and a 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim off the dog ears before pressing the seams open.
Step 6: Repeat the steps above for the next two triangles, center them on the center block directly across from each other, trim off the dog ears and press open.
Step 7: Trim each side of the newly formed square ¼” from each triangle point.
Step 8: Repeat steps 4-7 with your round 2 fabric.
Once the seams are sewn and pressed, trim off the excess to make it a 6.” block.