teaching sewing confidence, tip by tip

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Giant HST Quilt Tutorial - (AKA My Turn To Be Queen Bee)

Hard to believe it's almost December again and that means it's my turn to be Queen Bee in our NYC Metro Mod Quilt Guild Bee.

When my daughter Flicky went off to uni she took her quilt with her (My Very First Ever Quilt) so I want to replace it for her trips home and I'm asking my Bee friends to help me.

My inspiration is this 3.5'  x 3.5'  box framed copy of Warhol's Marilyn Monroe hanging in our apartment over Flicky's bed.

I want a quilt that’s abstract, bold and bright so I've designed this Giant HST quilt.  At this extra busy time of year, I like to make my Bee Blocks super quick and easy and it really doesn't come much easier than HSTs plus they have such great impact.

I’ve sent everyone a fat quarter (fq) of Charcoal Kona Solid and asked them to add a fq from their given colour group to make me two giant HST blocks.  Colours are divided into four groups so I’ll hopefully receive blocks across the full-colour range and not 22 blocks of one colour!

Bee Members are to choose a colour from their colour group:
Group 1: Red/Orange/Yellow - Earamichia/Judith/Kim
Group 2: Pink/Purple – Andrea/Maria/Rossanna
Group 3: Lime/Green/Turquoise – Brian/Ariana/Maren
Group 4: Blue/Aqua – Emily N/Emily K

I've asked everyone to keep fabric colours rich – I’m looking for saturation and intense colour and brightness within these colour palettes.  They can use solids or tone on tone prints – brights with an intensity of colour, trying not to use pastels or white.  I’ve used a tiny amount of white in a handful of my sample blocks but the overall feel of these fabrics is still of vibrant colour and the white isn’t the main player.

I also want seams pressed open (so the finished blocks will lie as flat as possible) and blocks returned to me untrimmed.

If you've stuck with me this far you might be looking for the tute here it is!!!

Giant HST Quilt Tutorial

For my quilt Kona Solid Charcoal is the 'main' fabric used in every HST block then I've used a selection of brights.  For each block, you'll need 2 fqs - 1 x main and 1 x bright.

To make this 36 x HST square quilt top you'll need:
 4.5 yds main fabric and 18 bright fqs (equivalent to 4.5 yds)
The finished quilt top size will be 96" x 96".

Making The Blocks:
Cut your main fq and your bright fq down to two 17.5” square blocks.  This is a slightly larger square than you need to make a 16.5" finished HST block but cutting at 17.5" is visually easier and will give extra wiggle room when trimming down to size, by all means cut smaller if you're confident in your cutting and sewing.

I'm cutting through 3 layers at a time here as you can see above.

To cut my 17.5" squares I've lined up my 12.5" square ruler along it's 11.5" line and then placed my long 6" wide ruler next to it - giving me a 17.5" line. 

Above you can see how I've used the 11.5" line of the ruler along the edge of the fabric.

Draw a pencil line across one diagonal of the 17.5" square.  If your ruler isn't long enough then use another ruler to extend fully across the fabric as I have above.

Place the two fat quarters right sides together (consider the drawn line to be the ‘wrong’ side of your main fabric block).

Sew a ¼” seam on one side of your drawn line using your drawn line as your guide.

Then repeat a 1/4" sewn seam on the other side of the drawn line.

This is how your sewn blocks will look with two parallel lines of stitching.

Cut along your drawn line to create 2 giant HSTs.

Press seams open to create a flatter block and subsequent smoother quilt finish for this modern quilt.

Trim blocks down to 16.5" squares.

Below is a photo of the blocks I've made - I need 36 blocks in total and my fellow Bees will be making me 22 (hopefully!) so I've made 14 blocks myself to finish the quilt.

Completing The Quilt Top:
Joining the blocks - use a 1/4" seam to join all blocks in a row, then join all rows to form the quilt top.  Pay particular attention to the seams, nesting and pinning as necessary to ensure accurate seam joints - (see my Easy Scrappy Nine Patches tute to learn how to nest seams).  Press seams open.

As always you can check out all the blocks that our Bee make for my Giant HST Quilt on my Quilty - Giant HST Block Pinterest Board - I'll add more pins as each person in the Bee posts photos of their finished blocks and you can see my NYC Mod Quilt Guild post here too.

Clicking on an image will take you to through to the new page of crafty goodness :)

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.


  1. This is awesome - I love the supersized blocks!

  2. This Looks so lovely - maybe I should try some giant sewing and not always tiny ;-)

  3. This is going to be fabulous - I just love kona charcoal, such a gorgeous colour, and it works so well with those brights. What a fabulous idea to put two rulers together, I never thought of that! It must make cutting over sized pieces SO much easier! Looking forward to seeing this one come together!

    1. Between you and me ;D it's another Bee Block disaster Sarah, currently thinking plans on how to make it look decent! - Chris x

  4. I love these huge HST's! After all the small (compared to this one) HST's I've done this year, this would be heaven to make!

  5. Those are huge HSTs and a great way to make a fun quilt really quickly!

  6. Those will make a bold beautiful quilt! Thanks for linking up to Building Blocks Tuesday too.

  7. Great idea for the supersized blocks! This will be a gorgeous quilt! Thank you for sharing your process.

  8. what beautiful colors and love how they go together like a retro finish
    come see what we shared at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

  9. This is going to be one gorgeous quilt !
    ( how I wish I could do something like this !)
    Saw you over at Distressed Donna down Home

    1. Thanks Suzan, if you've got a machine there's no reason why you couldn't give it a go - it's just a straight line. The only problem is once you start quilting is very hard to stop ;D - Chris

  10. HSTs are the bomb, so I guess that would make these Atomic!! Love 'em! Thanks for the tute, too!

  11. I love giant blocks, this looks like it will be a very bright quilt!

  12. Love the colors and the bold pattern. That will be one giant quilt. Thank you for sharing on Make It Monday.

  13. I am in love! What a fab quilt this is going to be!

  14. This is going to be an awesome quilt, I love big oversized blocks


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Chris Dodsley

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