Monday, August 19, 2013

Hourglass Blocks

This is the centre panel of Picadilly to the Nines. At this point it measures 55" with the seam allowances.

I've used a variety of nine patch blocks including the tiny churn dashes and they are all set on point; I think it adds some visual interest and it makes the blocks look a little different. The two pictures below are of the same churn dash  block but the first one is set on point and the second is straight. Don't you agree that they look different?


I alternated the various nine patch blocks with 3" hourglass blocks. I used two fabrics for the hourglass blocks, the off white background and a mottled taupe fabric.

Hourglass blocks make a great alternate block in a quilt, they are fun and easy to make and they can be made any size you choose. There is a simple formula to determine the size of patches to cut to make the hourglass block. To calculate the size of patches simply add 1 1/4" to the finished size of the block. I needed hourglass blocks that are the same size as the nine patches which finished at 3" so to that measurement I added 1 1/4" for a measurement of 4 1/4" square. I needed two fabrics, one light and one darker. Each pair of patches yields two hourglass blocks!

On wrong side of the lighter of the two fabrics I drew a line from one corner to the opposite corner. I like to use a mechanical pencil because it gives a thin sharp line. With right sides together I pinned the fabrics together making sure the corners lined up. I shorten the stitch length and stitched a scant 1/4" away from either side of the pencil line. If you have trouble with a scant 1/4" seam allowance, if your machine allows you to shift your needle position to the right simple shift the needle a little bit and that way you can sew with your 1/4" foot.

The next step was to cut on the opposite diagonal from the one that was just stitched.

Next cut on the pencil line with a rotary cutter or sharp scissors. Press to embed the seam and then press the seam allowances open. As always a little starch works wonders, especially on small blocks! This is what you will have at this point.

Lay out the triangles to create two blocks. Pin and stitch using a scant 1/4" seam allowance.

Place your ruler on one of the blocks and line up the 45 degree mark on the ruler with one of the diagonal seams. Trim to 2 1/2" and clip the remaining tails or wings.

Press and you are done! Could they be any easier? I think not!

I think I will add a 1 1/2" border of the background fabric all around the centre panel of Picadilly to the Nines and then I'll add a border of many tiny hourglass blocks. How tiny? They will be 2" finished and they will be made of assorted greens. I calculated that I will need 384 blocks so I'll need 384 3 1/4" patches. The design seemed like a good idea at the time and so I started cutting fabrics. 384 is a lot!!!!  And then the light dawned on the primitive brain....this is going to involve a lot of sewing and pressing! But the fabric is cut so I will persevere! Here's a stack of them pieced and ready for pressing!

And another pile of pressed blocks waiting to be trimmed!

Until I post again, happy sewing!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness you sure have a lot of patience to make all those squares.