Hourglasses Quilt

Posted by ShellyP on Monday, September 24th, 2012

Hi! I'm back again . . . Shelly (Polly-Eye) Pagliai from Prairie Moon Quilts, with another project for you.

Hourglasses Quilt

This 70" x 84" quilt is called "Hourglasses", and was inspired by a quilt top made by my Great Aunt Mary many years ago, and recently finished by me. For my updated version, I’m using the “Good Life”  fabric line by Deena Rutter.

This fabric collection is so absolutely adorable. The colors are wonderful, and by using them all together, it gave me just the look I wanted when reproducing my Aunt Mary’s quilt in new fabric.

The pieced block in this quilt is a traditional block called Hourglasses. You can see and read about my Aunt Mary's quilt HERE, if you're interested.

I recommend that you read through all the instructions before beginning.

You can download the PDF printable version here.

Here’s a list of the materials you’ll need to make your quilt:

    20 different 1/2-yard pieces of various prints for the blocks. You could also use 10 different 1-yard pieces, but the more variety, the better, so I chose to use 20 pieces.

    5 yards for backing

    5/8 yard for binding

I always suggest that you cut and piece one block by itself at first. That way you can tell if everything is going to work out all right before cutting up all your fabric. To that end, I’m giving instructions here for cutting ONE BLOCK ONLY.

In addition, for this quilt, it allows you to mix and match your fabrics to get the greatest variety.

Choose TWO fabrics that you wish to make your block from, and from each of them, cut:
    Eight 4 3/4" squares
Decide which of your two fabrics is the lighter-colored one, and on the back side of each of these squares, draw a diagonal line with a marking pencil.

Cut squares
You’ll need one square of each color. Match them up, right sides together, with the lighter one on top so you can see your drawn line.

Stitch 1/4" on each side of the drawn line. Cut apart on the drawn line. Press seams toward the darker fabric. Trim any dog ears. You should end up with 2 triangle-square units. Repeat with the remaining 7 pairs of squares.
You should now have 16 of these units.

Separate them into two piles of 8. On the units in one pile, draw a diagonal line on the back side in the opposite direction of the seam, as shown below.

drawn line
Take one of each unit (one with a line drawn on it and one without) and match them up, right sides together, with opposite fabrics touching. In other words, have your light fabric on the top piece against the dark fabric on the bottom piece, and vice versa, as shown here. The seams should nest nicely up against each other, and you can feel with your fingers when they’re in place. Pin them.

lining up
Once again, sew 1/4" on each side of the drawn line, and cut them apart ON the drawn line. You’ll now have 2 units that look like this. Press seams open. Trim any dog ears. Each unit should measure 4" square.

HG units
Repeat for the other 7 pairs of units, until you have 16 of these units for your block.

Now, lay them all out in four rows of four, turning every other one so that like fabrics are never next to each other.

Begin the block assembly by sewing them together in pairs. Press seams toward the darker fabric.

Then sew the pairs together into sets of 4 units, pressing seams open.

Sew these four larger units together to complete the block, again pressing seams open. The finished block should measure 14 1/2" square.

Finished Block
There are two different layouts for this block, and you should mix them up so that when you’re ready to set your quilt together, you have a variety of each.

In this block, the darker fabric is on the SIDE edges of the top left corner unit.

Finished Block
In this block, the darker fabric is on the TOP and bottom edges of the top left corner unit.

Can you see the difference? If you make a variety of each type of block, it makes for a better variety in your final quilt layout.

For the entire quilt, you’ll need 30 blocks. If your first sample block came out all right, you’re now ready to make the other 29 blocks!

Once you have all your blocks completed, you’re ready to assemble the quilt top.

Arrange the pieced blocks into 6 rows of five blocks in a manner that you’re pleased with.

Sew the blocks in each row together. Press seams to one side.

Now sew the rows together to complete the quilt top. Press seams to one side.

You’re now ready to layer and quilt your quilt. In my quilt, I used Quilter’s Dream Poly Select white batting, a lovely solid in a soft robin’s-egg blue for my backing, and a blue-and-white polka dot for my binding.

folded quilt
I quilted loops and curved lines in every triangle, alternating. It’s covered pretty densely. You don’t have to quilt yours this heavily. I just maybe sorta got a bit carried away!

Quilt back
Put your binding on when you’re done quilting, and with that . . .  you’re finished!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, and thanks so much for visiting me at Riley Blake’s Cutting Corners College.

Category: Quilts


  1. Great tutorial and beautiful quilt Shelly!!
    by Mary on Lake Pulaski
    September 24th, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.
  2. I absolutely love this quilt Shelly. So do you have any idea what year Aunt Mary made the original quilt?
    by Cindy
    September 24th, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.
  3. What a great quilt. Thanks so much for sharing with us!
    by Sherry
    September 28th, 2012 at 6:13 a.m.
  4. I love this! What size blocks do you end up with?
    by Rachel
    October 01st, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.

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