Monday, January 11, 2021

Hourglass Quilt Block

An hourglass quilt block is so easy to make. With two squares of contrasting fabrics, you can quickly make two hourglass blocks. You can make any size by adjusting the size of the beginning block. 

Hourglass blocks are timeless and it's no wonder. You can whip them up quickly and make an entire quilt using just these blocks. OR incorporate them with other blocks. 

Since it's so easy to adjust the size, it would make a fun border too!

These blocks are sometimes called quarter square triangles.

PLUS get a free printable cutting list to make over 10 sizes!

hourglass quilt blocks

New to quilting? The hourglass unit is a great starting point. 

You can also try your hand at some basics like half square trianglesfour patches and nine patches. You can build on those skills by creating some blocks that utilize those basics. Like the Jacob's Ladder block or the Shoo Fly block.

Be sure to check out my quilting page for even more quilting tutorials.


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hour glass quilt blocks
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Below are some of my favorite quilting tools. I always say make do with what you have, but if I had to pick a few things that are critical to quilting it would be getting a rotary cutter, mat and straight edge. Your pieces will be so much more precise, lending to a better result.


To make an hourglass block, you will need squares of fabric. The size needed depends on the size of the finished block. You can use 5 or 10 inch precuts to make things easy!

I've created a chart of the fabric requirements for many block sizes. Head to the end of the post and sign up to receive the printable chart straight to your inbox. 

The basic rule of thumb is to add 1 1/2 inches to the final size to get your cut size. You will cut two squares the same size and the result is two hourglass blocks that are 1 1/2 inches smaller once they have been sew into the quilt.


Using the chart above, determine the cut size of your desired block. For this example I am starting with  5 1/2 inch squares. Choosing two contrasting colors really make these pop. I prefer a colored patterned print along with a solid neutral piece of fabric.

On the back side of the neutral fabric, draw a pencil line from corner to corner. You will sew 1/4 inch away from the center on both sides of this line. 

I like to draw those 1/4 inch markings as well. It just seems to help me keep my seam straight.

5 1/2 inch square pieces of fabric for hourglass block

Line up the two squares with the right sides together and sew along the two outer lines.

Now cut along the center line. Without moving the pieces, cut along the other diagonal of the square as well. 

cutting the sewn squares of fabric

Press the triangles open with the seam toward the darker fabric. 

pieces of the hourglass block

Arrange the pieces to form two hourglass blocks.  With right sides together, sew along the long edge to form the block. Press seam to one side.

pieces ready to be sewn for hourglass quilt block

Now trim the squares to the desired size according to the chart.  

Have some fun and make some more! I made a simple nine-patch block with a variety of colors.

finished hourglass units

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Also try this Herringbone Quilt Pattern using a jellyroll! Or try one of these 40+ Jellyroll Quilt Patterns.

 Don't forget to pin it!!
hour glass quilt block pinhourglass quilt block

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