The presidential armchair quilt block has ended up rather enormous because I had some 3″ squares that I wanted to use up. I’ve made it as a 27″ square (practically a small quilt in its own right!), but you could make it a smaller 18″ square if you used 2.1/2″ and 2.7/8″ squares. I can’t really see how the block gets its name, but then I quite often have that problem – I probably lack imagination or something.
Cutting requirements for the presidential armchair quilt block
3.1/2″ squares: eight dark blue, twenty one white, twelve light blue
3.7/8″ squares: twelve dark blue, twelve white
3.1/2″ by 12.1/2″ rectangles: four red
Making the presidential armchair quilt block
Make half square triangles using the 3.7/8″ squares. Place a white and a dark blue square with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal. Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line. This will produce two half square triangle units which are now 3.1/2″ squares.
The simplest way to make the block is to make the four quarters and then sew them together using the red rectangles. So for each quarter lay the squares out in four rows of four.
There’s a half square triangle on two corners, placed with the white triangle outermost. The other two corners are a dark blue and a white square.
The remaining half square triangles are placed along the two edges spreading out from the white corner. The light blue squares are placed in a diagonal line with white squares around them and there’s another dark blue square just inside the white corner. Sew the squares together across the rows and then sew the rows to each other. Make four of these.
Assembling the presidential armchair quilt block
Sew the quarters together in two pairs with a red rectangle between them. Rotate the quarters so that the white corner squares are placed next to the red rectangle. This will give you a dark blue square on the outer corner.
Make the middle row by sewing together two red rectangles with one white square between them.
You can now sew the three rows together. Make sure that you rotate the pairs of quarters so that the white corner squares are all in the middle and the dark blue squares are on the outside of the block.
For a quilt idea, I have simply made four of the presidential armchair blocks and added a red border. It’s interesting how different the emphasis now is – the red appears to frame the blue rather than cutting through the middle of the block.
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