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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Scrappy Hour Glass Block Tutorial

My addiction to scrappy hour glass blocks has turned into a little bit of an obsession, because who in there right mind would turn five hundred random 5” charm squares in to a scrappy hour glass quilt?  Apparently the answer to that question is me. There were two things that I wanted to accomplish when I set out to make this quilt, the first, I wanted to use up some of my scraps, and second I really wanted to practice some basic piecing.  Taking the time to concentrate on some effective ways to match all my seams precisely and press them all without creating any bulk or knots. 


I chose the hour glass block because there are a lot of seams that intersect throughout this quilt and the block itself is quite basic.  Really, it is just a double half square triangle, and because you are not using a light and dark fabric like with a traditional hour glass block, piecing is very easy and no two blocks will look alike.


Step one – cut two squares of equal size, and mark a diagonal line on one of the squares.


Step 2 – with right sides together sew on either side of the line, using a 1/4 seam allowance.  Then cut along the line you marked earlier creating 2 HST’s.


Step 3 – Press your seams to one side.  Take 2 different HST’s with right sides together, with the seams locked into place, mark another diagonal line going in the opposite direction of your seam.


Step 4 – Again, sew on either side of the line, using a 1/4” seam allowance.  Then cut along the line you marked.  Now you should have 2 hour glass blocks.  Press this seam open.


Step 5 – Trim your block square.  It helps if you match the diagonal line on your ruler to the diagonal line on your block.


A few things I learned along the way…

Make sure that not only are you using a 1/4” presser foot on your machine, make sure you are sewing a straight line.  Seems simple enough but wavy lines can really distort your blocks once you press them.  Practice, practice, Practice.

Pressing seams that need to be lined up to one side and in opposite directions helps you to lock your seams into place and prevents shifting when you are sewing.  Lining up your seams perfectly and effortless every time. 

Pressing seams that do not need to be lined up open helps to reduce bulk. 

Trimming blocks is worth the time.  Trust me when I say trimming 500 of these blocks was not a fun task, but when it came time to sew together the rows and then sewing those rows together, having all my blocks the same size did make my life a lot easier and made all my seams lined up perfectly.

Whatever your taste, scrappy or traditional, the hour glass block is a great way to use up your scraps or those cute little charm packs we all can’t get enough of.  Let me know what you think of this tutorial or if you have any questions.

Have a great day!

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  1. I for one am thrilled, because as simple a block as it is, I never knew how it was made LOL... which seams would be needing to be nested and which not?

  2. That's really pretty! And the hourglasses don't jump out--I looked and looked and initially only saw 1/2 sq. tri's. But then closer inspection revealed the hourglasses! AWESOME!

  3. It looks fabulous! Love all the scrappiness. Thanks for sharing your method.

  4. I love your quilt! What a fantastic result from all those scraps

  5. Very lovely quilt, the scrappy looks good! Umm I think I need to try this one. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This quilt is so lovely! It sure grabs your attention and is very inspirational. Thanks alot for this tutorial and I can't wait to make one with lots of reds in it. Blessings my dear!


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