Jack's Chain

Why Jack? Why not Philip? Or Oscar? Or Demitri? What in the world am I talking about, anyway?

Certainly not "Jack and Jill went up the hill . . ." This is the name of a traditional/vintage quilt pattern that is NOT for the beginner or novice or anyone who is willy-nilly about their 1/4" seams. And, it involves a LOT of y-seams. You know how much I loathe y-seams.

Jack's Chain Quilt: 64" x 64"

There are four blocks in this quilt. Each block is 22-1/2" x 22-1/2" finished. Here's the center of one block up close. Then I added those corner squares (with some y-seams happening!)

Single Jack's Chain block

Many of these vintage quilts are made with much smaller blocks. Here's some artwork from Quilt Magazine (1999) when we patterned one. We included templates for this.

Here's another set of illustrations for a much larger quilt (using much smaller blocks). Does it make you nervous to see all of those y-seams?

I simplified my own pattern by rotary cutting my patches. And that center hexagon? I interfaced it and then covered the block center and appliquéd (by machine) it on! Easy, quick and no sweat involved.

Block center interfaced and pinned, ready for simple machine appliqué

Then I auditioned a 6-pointed star (also interfaced) as an option for the center. I kind of like it and I still have this, but it did not make it into my quilt.

Jack's Chain block with star center

I must quilt this. It hangs in my closet and waits patiently, but I think his patience is wearing thin. You can find more photos with the Etsy listing for Jack's Chain. Let me leave you with one more - which involves a y-seam. But, hey - it's really not that bad! This is adding the outside squares to the block:

And what it looks like after stitching. A gentle turn which is held in place by pins.

Hope you enjoyed my updated version of the traditional Jack's Chain pattern!


  1. Looks very tricky to me. This would be a challenge.

  2. Looking at the blocks, it occurred to me that Jack might not be a name but the toys we played with, jacks and a small ball, that would land on sideways points. That's what the 9 patches look like to me when pieced this way, a chain of those jacks.


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Thanks for stopping by Debby Kratovil Quilts! If you had a question and don't get an answer from me, please feel free to email me at: kratovil@his.com