Discover How to Make Accurate Hourglass Units

Make Hourglass Units with the Quarter Inch Patchwork Ruler

Have you tried to make hourglass units by drawing a line from corner to corner and then hoping you sew ¼” from each line? Let’s take the guesswork out of sewing these units with this quick tutorial! Speed and accuracy are guaranteed with these Madam Sew rulers!


You can easily create hourglass units from your half-square triangle units by using our slip-resistant, Quarter Inch Patchwork Ruler (QIPS)…no measuring is necessary!

To learn how to make half-square triangles, check out the QIPS online instruction manual.

Hourglass Units Instructions

Place one of your pressed, half-square triangle units right-side down on your work surface. Now, lay your QIP ruler on the square so the middle line runs diagonally through opposite corners and fabrics. Draw a line on both sides of the ruler.

Note: Test on scraps of your fabrics before marking.

scrap fabrics 1
scrap fabrics 2

Next, align your marked unit on top of an unmarked unit, on your work surface, with right sides together so the opposite color triangles are lying against each other. The seams should nest (line up opposite each other) easily.

line up opposite each other
Align your marked unit
seams should nest

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Pin or clip if needed. Sew on the edge of both marked lines closest to the middle.

marked lines closest to the middle

Trim your threads. Then, grab your cutting mat, cutting ruler and rotary cutter. Cut down the middle between the sewn lines.

Trim your threads

Carefully press open toward the dark side if you can. Trim the little ears of fabric on the two seam edges and square up your units if needed. You now have hourglass units (sometimes called quarter square triangles).

Trim the little ears of fabric

Tell us what you do with these hourglass units. Will it be a table runner, pillow, quilt or something else? Let your creativity soar! Share with us on the MadamSew Quilting Facebook page to inspire others.

Don’t have the Quarter Inch Patchwork Ruler set yet? Click here to purchase!

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1 comment

Love these tutorials. Thanks

Susan Wojtkowski

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