Hourglass Variation Quilt Block Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Today let's look at this variation of the Hourglass quilt block. This is an easy block to make with only two basic units to sew together. At first I couldn't see how this could be considered an Hourglass block until I had finished it. Consequently, I made the block how I saw it (a Square in a Square block surrounded by Half Square Triangles). Just goes to show that there are different ways to construct the same block! Let's get started with my version!

hourglass variation quilt block

Fabric Requirements for an 8" Finished Hourglass Variation Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 1 - 4.5" square, and 6 - 3" squares
  • Medium/Hexie Print: 2 - 3" squares
  • Medium/Aqua: 2 - 3" squares
  • Dark/Navy: 2 - 3" squares, and 4 - 2.5" squares

hourglass variation fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Square in a Square Unit:

Step 1:

Using the Light/White 4.5" square and the four Dark/Navy 2.5" squares, make a Square in a Square unit as shown in the picture below. You can find my tutorial for a Square in a Square block at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-square-in-a-square-block

hourglass variation 1

Half Square Triangle Units:

Step 2:

Match up a Light/White 3" square with a colored 3" square and make 12 Half Square Triangle units as shown in the picture below. The tutorial for sewing Half Square Triangles (HSTs) can be found at https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-to-sew-a-basic-half-square-triangle-block See pressing instructions in the next step.

hourglass variation 2

Step 3:

The only change I made was to press the seam allowance toward the Light/White fabric for the HSTs made with the Medium/Hexie Print fabric. The rest of the HSTs were pressed away from the Light/White fabric in the normal manner which you can see in the picture below.

hourglass variation 3

Middle Units:

Step 4:

Match up a White/Hexie HST with a White/Aqua HST as shown in the picture below and sew together. The seams should nest nicely because of the pressing you've done in the previous step. Once sewn, press the seam allowance. Here you can see I pressed toward the Medium/Aqua fabric but it really doesn't matter and you could also press the seam open if you wanted to.

hourglass variation 4

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Putting It All Together:

Step 5:

Lay out the Center unit, the Middle units, and the four remaining Light/Dark Half Square Triangle units as shown in the picture below. From here the Hourglass Variation quilt block goes together like an uneven Nine Patch block.

hourglass variation 5

Step 6:

Now you can sew the units together in three rows as shown below.

hourglass variation 6

Step 7:

And press the seam allowances toward the Middle units as shown in the picture below.

hourglass variation 7

Step 8:

Sew the three rows together and you're done!

hourglass variation 8

Step 9:

Except for the pressing! Here you can see that I've pressed the seam allowances away from the center of the Hourglass Variation block. 

hourglass variation 9


This Hourglass Variation quilt block is cute and easy to make! I didn't see the hourglass design until I had completed the block. You could make this block entirely of Half Square Triangles and then the "hourglass" name makes sense - the Light/Dark HSTs form an hourglass shape.

This could also be a nice scrappy block. I would keep the background Light fabric all the same fabric as well as the Dark fabric, but the Medium fabrics could be scrappy and the block design should still show up nicely.

Give this Hourglass Variation quilt block a try!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you liked this post and want to see more quilting tutorials like this, simply click HERE to sign up for my newsletter and also receive a free PDF quilt pattern called "Chained Weathervane".

Happy Quilting!


P.S. To figure out how much fabric you need to make a quilt using this block (or any other block for that matter) see the tutorial https://fabric406.com/blogs/fabric406-blog/how-much-fabric-do-i-need

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