Monday, February 11, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL : The Quarter-square Triangle Block (Block 4)

Welcome to week 4 in our Hand Pieced QAL.  We are so happy you are sewing along with us!   (For more information about the QAL, links to all posts and tutorials, click here.)

The first four blocks in our quilt are very basic blocks - ones we will use as building blocks for other blocks in our quilt.  We've learned about the 4 patch, the HST and flying geese.  Today it is all about the Quarter-square Triangle, also known as the Hour Glass block!  (Make sure you stop by to see Kristin's block after you read through the tutorial!)

To hand piece a Quarter-square Triangle block, all our pieces will be cut individually and then stitched together piece by piece.  (Put aside any machine sewing assembly methods you typically use to create multiple Quarter-square Triangle blocks!)  Although you will be sewing on the bias edge, the pieces are small enough that there isn't much risk to things stretching out of shape.

The formula for cutting for Quarter-square Triangle blocks is very simple - take the finished size of the block and add  1 ¼ ''.  For example, a 3'' finished square (today's block) starts with a 4 ¼ '' square which is then cut across on both of the diagonals.

Your first set of stitching lines should be marked on the wrong side of the background square as shown below.  (See the tutorial on marking stitching lines.)  Stitching line should start and stop ¼'' from each edge.

Take care when pinning each half of the Quarter-square Triangle unit to make sure you are sewing the right seam in the right order.  Pin at the beginning and end of your stitching line, starting and ending your seam ¼ '' from each edge.    Use a running stitch and remember to, back stitching at beginning, end, as well as every 5-6 stitches.  (See running stitch tutorial.)

Once each of the two half are sewn, mark you final stitching line.  Remember you will sew through the seam, not over it!  (See tutorial on sewing through seams.)

Pin at the start and stop of your stitching lines.  Pin at each side of the seam, making sure that seams are aligned.

Once complete, press carefully spinning the seams to reduce bulk and to end up with this cute 4 patch on the back.

Once all Quarter-square Triangle units are complete, you'll need to sew the Quarter-square Triangle units together in pairs.  Stitching lines can easily be drawn with a ruler - your start and stop point is set by the stitches used to construct the block!

Pin at the beginning and end of your stitching lines plus an optional pin in the center.  Sew together each pair and then stitch.  Remember you will be sewing through the seam (not over).  Put a pin horizontally at that point to remind you.  (See photo below.)

When you are done, more seams to spin.  Beautiful!  (See the tutorial on spinning seams.)

Now let's make our block!

Block size: 6'’ finished (6 1/2’’ unfinished)

  • All seam allowances are 1/4".  
  • Stitching lines are drawn on wrong side of fabric and always start and end 1/4'' from the edge
  • RST=Right sides together

  • Print fabric: (2) 4 ¼ " squares, each sub-cut in half on across both diagonals to yield (4) triangles
  • Background fabric: (2) 4 ¼ " squares, each sub-cut in half on across both diagonals to yield (4) triangles

Creating the Quarter-square Triangle block   
  1. Cut each of the squares into 4 pieces by cutting in half across both diagonals.
  2. Take 2 triangles from print fabric and 2 triangles of background fabric and place in the Quarter-square Triangle shape.  On a background triangles, mark your initial 2 stitching lines along each of the cut edges (see photo above). 
  3. Place one print triangle on top of one background triangle, RST. Pin at the beginning and end of the stitching lines. 
  4. Stitch along one side, starting 1/4" from the edge and stopping 1/4" from the end. Finger press open, pressing seam allowance to the print side.  Repeat for second triangle pair.
  5. Stitch each half of the block together, starting 1/4 '' from the edge and stopping 1/4'' from the end.  Stitch through the seam of the triangle pair, backstitching right before and right after going through seam.
  6. Trim  Quarter-square Triangle (if necessary) to 3 1/2 ‘’, taking care to spin seams on back.  Repeat to make a total of four (4) HST.

Assemble the Block

  1. Following diagram, assemble block into rows after marking the stitching line on the wrong side of each block.  Your stitching will start 1/4" from the edge and stopping 1/4" from the end.  Fold the Quarter-square Triangle seam to the side so it is not caught in the stitching.  Each row will measure 3 1/2 x 6 1/2''.
  2. Mark stitching lines on one row.  Place two rows together, RST, as shown in diagram. Pin at the each of the seam intersections, as well as the beginning and ending of the stitching line.
  3. Push your needle through the seam allowance to the other side and backstitch. (See tutorial)
As needed, refer back to our tutorials (including video) on each of the hand piecing skills:
Fabric requirements are available as well as some suggestions of useful tools and notions and a coloring page.  (See overall QAL page for more information.)

 (Make sure you stop by to see Kristin's block after you read through the tutorial!)

Thanks to Fat Quarter Shop and Famore for sponsoring the block tutorials!

The link-up for the Quarter-Square Triangle block - block 6 in our QAL - opens on Thursday, February 14!  Finished blocks can be shared in any weekly link-up, however, so don't worry if you get behind.

For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.  

Have a wonderful day! Patty


  1. Excited to get started on block #4 :)

  2. Great block, I want to try to piece a block by hand, it would be great to have a hand project for the summer.


Thanks for visiting Elm Street Quilts. Looking forward to hearing from you!