15 Free Irish Chain Quilt Patterns That Are Beautiful And Easy To Make

For a beginner quilter, finding a quilt pattern can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming and confusing.

There are so many gorgeous designs out there, but what would be a good starting point for a beginner to hone in on their piecing and cutting skills?

My answer: the single Irish chain quilt.

This pattern has everything a beginner could need to learn the basics of quilt making and have fun doing it.

Irish chain quilts have a timeless design that’s so pleasing to the eye.

Let’s take a look at 15 free patterns to choose from to create your own. 

What Does The Irish Chain Quilt Represent?

It’s no secret that the Irish chain quilt pattern is still one of the most popular quilt patterns, but where did it all start?

I did quite a bit of digging to determine where the first Irish chain quilt was created and when.

Surprisingly, all I could find is that the first recorded Irish chain quilt was made in 1814 and wasn’t in Ireland! It was here in the good ole U.S. of A. Weird, right? It gets weirder.

In Ireland, you’ll find a quilt pattern that looks pretty much the same, and it is called the American chain. Go figure.

One theory of why it’s called a “chain” is that the design is based on an Irish weaving pattern, and “chains” are used in weaving and knitting. No matter the exact origin of the Irish chain pattern, we know it’s been around for centuries and has shown no signs of disappearing anytime soon.

How Do You Make an Irish Chain Quilt?

The great part about the single Irish chain quilt pattern is that you’ll create only two different blocks. For that reason, it’s the perfect beginner pattern. Here are some simple instructions to make a single Irish chain quilt.

  • Cut the fabric. To make 9” blocks, you will cut 3 ½” squares for the nine patch blocks and 9 ½” squares for the other blocks.
  • Piece the blocks. Sew the 3 ½” squares together to create nine patch blocks.
  • Sew the blocks together into rows. Alternate between the two different blocks to create a checkerboard design.
  • Sew the rows together

Irish Chain Quilt Pattern: 15 Free Patterns You'll Love

Now that we know some more about the Irish chain quilt pattern, let’s look at several different free patterns and tutorials. I picked out a mixture of single, double, and triple chain patterns. 

1. Super Scrappy Single Irish Quilt Pattern

Here is a tutorial that gives fantastic instructions on making a fun, easy scrappy single Irish chain quilt. The finished size of the example quilt is a 86” square.  


2. Easy Jellyroll Irish Chain Tutorial

This tutorial is unique because it shows you how to use a jellyroll, a.k.a. 2 ½”x42” strips, to create the blocks for this beautiful quilt. The instructions include five different sizes to choose from.


3. Seams and Scissors Triple Irish Chain Pattern

I know this may look a bit complex for your first quilt. But if you follow this tutorial, it gives you easy-to-follow instructions to make a triple Irish chain quilt. The instructions also give you three different size suggestions. 


4. Double Irish Chain Quilt Pattern 

Leah Day is well known in the quilting community, and she gives a fantastic video tutorial on how to make this double chain design. There is also a downloadable pattern that you can use, and the instructions show you how to create a 50” square quilt. 


5. Simple Single Irish Chain Tutorial

I love the simplicity of this design using only two colors for the entire quilt top, don’t you? This modern Irish chain quilt pattern will show you how to make this quilt top quickly and effortlessly. 


6. Loyal Heights Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

The color selection for this example quilt gives the pattern a sweet, soft feel and really helps the blocks pop against the bright white background. The designer has included instructions on her blog as well as a downloadable PDF pattern. 


7. Fat Quarter Double Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

Wow, check out the contrast between the pink chains and black background. The black background definitely gives the double Irish chain design a modern twist. This tutorial will show you how to create the blocks using fat quarters. The finished size of the quilt will be 80”x90”.


8. Christmas Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

How gorgeous is this quilt?! Plus, this pattern is free! This pattern will show how to make a 77” square quilt, but you can easily add or subtract blocks to make the size you would like. The designer provides excellent instructions, even for beginners. 


9. Half Pint Single Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

The designer for this pattern has given you two different sizes to choose from: 41” square and 59”x71”. For this example quilt, I love the designer’s choice to use HST(half square triangle) for a border and scrappy binding. 


10. Single Irish Chain Pattern by Southern Charm

Here is another fabulous tutorial on how to make a scrappy single Irish chain quilt. This tutorial will show you how to make a 108” square quilt. 


11. Double Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

This tutorial is entirely video-based and will show you how to create these beautiful double chain blocks step by step. The designer also gives you cutting instructions for your fabric. 


12. Scrappy Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

This gorgeous vintage-inspired scrappy quilt might look a little overwhelming, but with this free downloadable pattern, you will be able to make your own 90”x90” quilt top.


13. Single Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

The finished quilt size from this pattern will be 78”x90”. The choice to use different shades of green and a creamy background gives a beautiful nod to the “Irish” title of the pattern. 


14. Make it Modern Double Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

Using only two colors for the entire quilt top will automatically give you a modern look for this quilt design. 


15. Free Single Irish Chain Quilt Pattern

Here is our last recommendation for a free single Irish chain quilt pattern. The finished size will measure 56”x68,” and this pattern includes instructions to add two borders to the quilt top. 


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Thank you so much for checking out this post, and I hope this list has inspired you to jump into your next quilt project and attempt one of these beautiful patterns.

The Irish chain pattern is a classic and an excellent option for beginners and experienced quilters. It’s truly amazing how two quilt blocks can transform into a complex, timeless piece of art.

Happy Quilting!



About the author: 
Miriam Ronne is a lover of all things quilting and sewing. She is a self-taught quilter and is constantly learning and broadening her skill set to create one-of-a-kind quilts! When she's not behind her sewing machine you can find her playing with her fur babies or trying her hand at other crafty things.

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