September 5, 2016

4-Patch Hourglass Block Tutorial

The Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am a member and secretary, supports a local nonprofit, The Restoration House of East Tennessee, year-round by providing quilts to the women and their children who "graduate" from their program to live on their own. The guild tries to always have one completed quilt ready and one in the works. It's time to start working on the next quilt, and we've chosen a 4-patch hourglass block -- there are four blocks pictured above.

I made one block to test out the technique and fabric choices, and then I decided to write up a tutorial for our members -- and post it here for everyone. After the first block, I made a second one just because. Then I needed to make a third block in order to take photos for the tutorial. And then I thought four blocks would make a better photo here, so basically things got a little out of control. But now we have four blocks for our charity quilt!

4-Patch Hourglass Block
Unfinished size: 12.5" using a scant 1/4" seam allowance
Finished size: 12"

Step 1: Select 4 fabrics and cut one 7.5" square from each. I chose to coordinate the fabrics in pairs but didn't pay much attention to how the pairs coordinate with each other, as the finished quilt will feature many different fabrics.

Step 2: Place the squares right sides together in pairs, pin, and draw a line from one corner to the other.

Step 3: Sew 1/4" away from both sides of the line.

Step 4: Using a ruler and rotary cutter, slice the block in half on the line, then again along the other diagonal. If you're able to make the second cut without moving the block, your pieces will be more accurate. Below I've separated them slightly to show the cuts that I made.

Step 5: Open each of the four sections and press the seams to one side. I pressed all seams toward the print fabrics so that the seams would nest (fit together more precisely) when I sewed them into hourglass blocks. Below you can see how the four sections will come together to form two hourglass blocks.

Step 6: Sew the triangle sections together to create two hourglass blocks. Press the seam open, and then trim the block to 6.5" square. (This darn photo won't flip, but you get the idea.)

Step 7: Arrange your four blocks however you like, and sew the top two together and the bottom two together. Then sew the top row and the bottom row together for a completed block.

 And there you have it -- a 4-patch hourglass block!


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