Hourglass Blocks Tutorial

February 2, 2009


My last hourglass quilt I thought to myself: There has to be a better way! Last time I cut my square into quarters on the diagonal and sewed all those tiny triangles together. Tedious! So this time I went to my scrap basket and figured out a better way to piece hourglass blocks. I hope you’ll find the following helpful.

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1. Cut out your print and solid blocks. Mine are 6 1/2” square.

2. Layer one print and one solid, right sides together.

3. You can do one of two things:

a) Using a ruler, mark a line on either side of a center diagonal 1/4”, as above.

b) Fold and finger press your fabric on the diagonal and follow the fold with your presser foot, sewing 1/4” on each side of that fold line. (I did this method)


4. Cut block on the diagonal centered between your two sewn lines. This gives you a 1/4” seam allowance.

5. Open out your blocks and press seam allowance to one side (toward darker block). You should have two half triangle blocks now.


6. Layer your two blocks, right sides together, with solid triangle halves matched with printed triangle halves. Match center seams well.

7. Repeat Step 3 on the unsewn diagonal, either marking with a ruler and pencil, or finger pressing in half.


8. Sew 1/4” on either side of center diagonal.

9. Cut between two sewn lines, leaving you 1/4” seam allowances.

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10. Open out your block and press seam allowance to one side.

11. Square up your block – it should about 5 1/2″.

And there you go, perfect, less frustrating, hourglass blocks! I hope this helps you out and you find it saves you time and frustration. I looked all over the internet for something to make hourglass blocks easier, and haven’t seen anything like this yet. I did not square up my blocks after pressing in step 5, and still had beautiful blocks at the end. Let me know if anything is unclear or you need additional help. Good luck!

**Updated Information**

While this tutorial was just meant to instruct you on how to make the block, I have received many emails asking for a little more information to “replicate” my hourglass quilt.  Here is the basic information on my quilt to get you started.

The Basics:

* I cut my squares of white and print to be 6-1/2”.
* After my hourglass block is made, I square it up to 5-1/2”.
* My hourglass quilts are 7 hourglass blocks across, by 9 blocks down.
* My borders are 3-3/4” wide once sewn on (I cut my strips to be 4”).
* The finished quilt is approximately 40” x 50” (before washing).

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