This week we present Block 3 of our mutual Zen Chic Block of the Month sew along project. For this block I connected five classical hour glass units with a modern plus sign element in the center, which transforms the traditional hour glass block into a more contemporary design. But you will probably not need five hours to sew this block ;-)
Especially not, if you follow my tips on how to sew the perfect hour glass block with minimum effort.
Cut the pieces slightly larger
For exact piecing cut the pieces slightly larger (for hour glass blocks I recommend to add 1/4" on all sides) and trim them precisely after piecing and sewing. You can also find a detailed description of this technique in my blog post on how to cut your fabrics.
Use a HST Bloc-Loc ruler
I always use a HST (half square triangle) Bloc-Loc ruler to trim the units for the hour glass block. For quilters using the ruler for the first time, I recommend to watch the video tutorial on the bloc-loc website. This nice notion is also very useful when you have pressed in a curve. You can use the ruler to force the seam to go right in line again.
In the pictures below you can see how I pieced my hour glass units step by step. In order to get an hour glass block with four different fabrics in it, I started with four different single triangles (pic 1). I joined each two of them on their shorter side with 1/4” seam to get two larger triangles (pic 2) and pressed seams towards the blender fabric. This also means seams are pressed in opposite directions (pic 3). Then I join the both larger triangles on their long edge, nesting seams. I press this seam in one direction (doesn’t matter which one).
When placing the bloc-loc ruler, I press the notch of the ruler against the bulk of the seam allowance, which not only has a straightening effect on my seam but also helps me to trim the units in a way, that the diagonal seam line will go straight through the corners of the trimmed unit (pic 4 and large pic) In our Block 3 we need an hour glass unit of 5 1/2” including seam allowances. So I placed the ruler with the notch onto the diagonal line and the 5 1/2” marks matching the opposite diagonal line, then cut away the top and right excess fabric. Turned the ruler and sewn unit by 180°, placed it the same way and trimmed remaining edges.
After trimming the unit to the needed size I press one seam to one side, the other is pressed to the opposite side so that the seam allowances 'twirl'. This is to reduce bulk (pic 5).
And tataa - you have t.h.e perfect hourglass unit (pic 6).
I hope this tip is helpful and you have a lot of fun sewing this block with the help of these tips. Please share your experiences and pictures of your blocks using our hashtag #SPOTTEDMOREPAPER on instagram and our facebookgroup.
We will have another little pause to give you the opportunity to catch up and go forward with Block 4 on Friday, 21st of December.
You still need the BOM quilt pattern to join our Zen Chic Sew Along? Follow the links below for all related blog posts and download the instructions right here:
Get the Block of the Month Quilt Pattern
This is a PDF-pattern and not a brochure! Store the file to your desktop computer. I can’t recommend mobile devices for saving the file. (Keep in mind: The download expires after 1 week or 3 attempts)