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Black & White Hourglass Quilt

See, I told you I was working something up for you. Here it is, my first piecing tutorial. No, this will not shift the earth on its axis. This is a tried and true centuries old pattern. And I am certain there are at least 8 million ways to do this. However, I LOVE this pattern and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. My friend Rachel inspired me to make one. She found a pretty vintage Black and White Hourglass (also called Broken Dishes, but we don’t get hung up on names and such, do we?) and ever since I saw hers I have been itching to make one. Just last week I finally bought the last two prints for this project and here it is.

Note: I will be back with the quilting part once I get this top quilted. For now, you can warm up your sewing muscles with the piecing. I was debating on whether or not I’d post something that wasn’t as simple as a bunch of squares pieced together. My first quilts were all made up of simple squares and I still love the looks, but I think you can easily do this pattern and feel an even bigger sense of accomplishment. I will be here to answer any questions. Just contact me via the CONTACT tab. Comments have been disabled, spam was flooding my inbox.

Here we go. First let’s take a look at the prints I chose for this top. I am giving you as much information as I know or remember. Aside from the two prints, I marked “I can’t remember or I have no idea”, you can still buy the rest easily. Let me know if you need shop links.

You will need: The supplies I talked about here. You don’t have to use the same fabrics I used, there are infinite possibilities for this pattern.

1/4 yard of 9 different prints, I chose for the white parts, prints that are mostly, or close to mostly white.

2 yards of solid black

1/4 of another black fabric with some print on it, mostly black.

You will cut all of these prints and solids into 8″ strips (from selvage to selvage). Each 8″ strip will yield 5, 8″ square blocks. Once you cut the strips, you can cut your 8″ squares out of them.

Make a line from corner to corner on the white fabrics, use a water soluble pen or a pencil. After you mark the white print squares you will place one 8″ square of the white print with one 8″ square of solid black (or the black print), right sides together (or print sides together). Once you aligned the squares together you are read to sew. Make a 1/4″ seam on each side of the line you marked. You can chain sew all on one side, then turn the blocks and sew on the other side. This will save you some thread.

blackandwhitehourglass0 copy


After you make a seam, use a rotary cutter to cut once right on the line you marked. Then, turn your square around and cut again from corner to corner. Make sure you press down on your ruler so it doesn’t move. You want to get all of your cuts as perfect as possible, so your points will line up later.


For each 8″ square combo (one white print with one black solid), you will get two blocks. For this quilt top you will need a total of 81 hourglass blocks.

blackandwhitehourglass5Turn that iron on and press the seams. There are two ways to do this, either turn the seam to the darker fabric, or split it in the middle. I know most quilters like to turn the seam to the darker fabric. I am bullheaded and I press my seams open. I know, I know, old habits die hard.

blackandwhitehourglassquilt6Now that you have the seams all pressed, it is time to make the final block. Place two halves of your square, right sides together (with white touching black and black touching white, this will make the hourglass shape) and make a 1/4″ seam. Again, you can chain stitch all of your blocks, one after the other, without cutting the thread.


I am sure your iron is cold by now, so turn that thing on and press these blocks, in your preferred pressing way. Don’t get depressed if your points don’t quite match. Mine do 50% of the time. You and I are human, celebrate the imperfections.

blackandwhitehourglassquilt7After all have been pressed, cut away those pesky dog ears. You know, those pointy thingies sticking out of the block. This is a good time to also make sure you get the blocks squared. You will thank me later.


Place the two blocks rights sides together and make a 1/4″ seam. Keep adding a new block to the end until you have sewn 9 blocks together. Be sure to remember to change the direction of the hourglass, or that seam ripper will be your best friend.

blackandwhitehourglassquilt10That wasn’t hard, was it? See, 9 strips with 9 blocks each. All pressed and ready to be put together.

Note: Behind those strips is a big ole piece of white felt attached (with high tech engineering, thumb tacks) to the wall. When I am trying to place blocks I put them on my design wall. That way I can see placement better and make any modifications before I sew.


Sew each 9 block strip together, right sides together, until you have sewn all of your strips. You might want to sew 4 strips together, then 5, then add them all. This might be easier to manage. Also, pin heavily. I don’t pin much, but do it for now until you get the hang of things.


Now, who’s looking like she just moved a mountain? Go grab you a drink (alcohol permitted). Say, do you love this? Hate is not allowed. Only good feelings. Ohhhh, my home will look so pretty with this quilt. I can not wait to get it quilted. Maybe tomorrow.

Will you pinky promise to show me your finished quilt top when you get around to making it? Pretty please. By the way, this will make a 60″ X 60″ finished quilt. Perfect for picnics and snuggles.

Off to sew. Again any questions, email me. I will be more than happy to answer them.

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