New Orleans House Project

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sugar Bowl: A Quilt Block Tutorial

I discovered the Sugar Bowl block when I was searching through Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, looking for quilt blocks that related to Louisiana.  I kept the idea in mind for a few years before I finally decided to make the block for the 2015 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Several folks expressed an interest in making their own Sugar Bowl blocks, so I thought I would try my hand at a tutorial.

The block is easy to construct and great for using up scraps.  It's also easy to adjust the fabric cutting requirements to make different sized blocks.  I'm using measurements for 8" blocks (finished size), but doing some simple math will give you dimensions for a variety of sizes.

You will need two different fabrics for each block.  A traditional interpretation (like mine above) would use a dark fabric and a light fabric.  Use your stash and your imagination to put together interesting combinations!

You'll need:
one 4 1/2" square of light fabric
one 4 1/2" square of dark fabric

one dark strip, 2 1/2" wide and about 18" long
one light strip, 2 1/2" wide and about 26" long

An Easy Angle ruler

Layer your 4 1/2" light and dark fabrics - right sides together - on the cutting table.  I used 4 1/2" wide strips, but 4 1/2" squares will work, too.  Line up all the edges and make sure the left side of the strip set is a straight edge.  (I just have the fabric folded back to show the right sides go together.)
Line up the Easy Angle ruler for a 4 1/2" half square triangle (HST) unit.  Cut along the ruler's diagonal edge using a rotary cutter.  
You now have the large HST unit for the center of the Sugar Bowl. 
Next, you'll be cutting pieces from the 2 1/2" strips.
Again, layer the strips right sides together and make sure the left edge is straight.  Use the Easy Angle ruler to cut 2 1/2" HST units.
Flip the ruler to cut the second unit.  Continue cutting HST units until you have 6 sets.
Cut one 2 1/2" square of dark fabric and FIVE (not 4 as pictured - I can't count!) 2 1/2" squares of light fabric.
Lay out the block pieces in correct locations; stitch all the HSTs together first.  Press the HSTs carefully and trim off the dog ears.  
Next stitch the left and top HST units together.  Also stitch the right and bottom HSTs (which form the base of the sugar bowl) to the light square next to them.  Press the pieced units in whichever direction makes them lie flat.  The goal is to assemble your block pieces into units which can then be stitched together in the same manner as a 9-patch block.
Join all the top row units into one strip, then all the middle units into one strip.  Join all the bottom row units into one strip.  Press the seams so they will nest together when the three strips are sewn together.  Now sew the main three strips together and press the final seams. 
You have just completed your first Sugar Bowl block!

I hope my instructions are clear - let me know if you have any questions.  Go ahead and give the Sugar Bowl block a try - it's quick and fun - and calorie free!




  1. What a fun block. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Love the purple fabric you used.

  2. Thank you for the tute, I'm going to pin it for later reference!

  3. Well done! Thanks for taking the time to put together a tutorial for your Sugar Bowl blocks. They just may be one of my RSC16 projects! I seem to be accumulating a number of those. :o))

  4. Thank you, I may make these.Very cute.