There are so many different styles of quilts you can sew using diamond quilt blocks. There are different versions of the diamonds themselves, as well as numerous ways to arrange them. A lot depends upon the angle of the corners of your diamond. If you simply place squares on point, you will form diamonds of a sort, or if you want more elongated diamond shapes, (60-degree diamonds) read on, as those are the type I will be discussing here.
Diamond Quilt Blocks
If you think about it, many star quilt blocks are in fact made up of diamonds arranged in a circle. There is also a multitude of different ways to arrange the diamonds to create different patterns.
HRT Diamond Quilt Blocks
The simplest way to piece diamond blocks, and be able to sew them together easily, is to use the half rectangle triangle method.
To make 4”x 8” (10cm x 20 cm) finished blocks, you will need:
- Two 3”x6” (7.6×15.2 cm) rectangles in the plain background fabric,
- And two 3”x6” (7.6×15.2 cm) rectangles in a patterned fabric.
(Metric sizes have been rounded off and may not be entirely accurate.)
You will need to cut each of these rectangles diagonally from corner to corner, but be careful and plan ahead before cutting! You will need a top left to bottom right cut in each fabric, and then a top right to bottom left cut in each fabric.
Now you need to mix and match these triangles to make half patterned, half plain rectangles.
To stitch the triangles together, place them with right sides together matching up the long edges.
When placing the triangles together, you must offset them slightly to create a seam allowance and give your diamonds nice sharp points. The narrower point must overhang the wider point by ¼“ (6mm). This will create little ‘ears’ but they can be trimmed later.
When you have stitched your units together, press 2 blocks with the same orientation towards the plain fabric, and the other 2 towards the patterned fabric. This will enable the nesting of your seams.
Trim your rectangles to 2 ½“x 4 ½“ (6.4 cm x 11.4 cm). The diagonal seam must be ¼“ (6mm) from the top and bottom so that you will have a seam allowance and lovely sharp points. Now arrange the 4 rectangles into a diamond shape.
Sew pairs together first. Press seam open to reduce bulk.
Then sew the 2 pairs together to form the diamond shape. These blocks will look good with sashing in between them, or you could place them in an offset pattern. Because of their proportions, you could really change things up and arrange them in alternate directions!
Diamond Quilt Blocks Using Templates
You can, of course, buy a special acrylic diamond-shaped template. These generally have multiple sizes printed on one template, so can be used for various different projects.
You can also download a template of the size you require off the internet and use that to make a strong cardboard template to draw around and then cut out. It is probably best not to use a cardboard template with a rotary cutter, though, as you may shave off a little bit each time!
You can also buy ‘wedge’ or triangle-shaped acrylic templates and sew the triangles together to form diamonds. (Or once again, make your own!)
Here I have placed 2 triangles together to make a diamond shape. Take it from me, it’s not a great idea to used striped fabric for this! Matching up those stripes is tedious!
If you want to try this method, you need to cut all your triangles out, then plan ahead and place them to match up the triangles. You will then sew together a row of triangles.
When you have made your rows, press all the seams on one row to the left, and all the seams on the next row to the right, to allow the triangles to ‘nest’ nicely. Then add the next row of triangles, matching the colors accordingly.
This gives you another easy way of sewing together diamonds without any difficult y-seams. This method will give you a whole quilt of diamonds, without any background fabric.
Jelly Roll Diamond Quilt Blocks
If you plan to work with precut fabrics, you can use your normal quilting ruler to help you cut the diamond shapes accurately. You must just be sure that your quilting ruler has a 60-degree angle marking on it. I have placed green tape on my 60-degree line on my ruler for clarity.
Line up the 60-degree line on the ruler with the edge of the fabric. Cut along the edge of the ruler.
The next cut must be parallel to the first one. Turn your fabric around so that the angled cut is on the left. Measure 2½“ (6.3cm) from your first cut and cut along that line. I have now placed the tape along the 2½“ line as well, so you can see how to line it up. You will have a diamond shape.
If you want larger diamonds, you can use wider strips of fabric, but then when doing the second cut, you must cut along the measurement line the same width as your strip of fabric.
English Paper Piecing Diamond Quilt Blocks
This is another way to create diamond quilt blocks. Because of the awkward angles and points, it may be better to create your diamond shapes and stitch them together by hand. The added advantage of this method is that it is possible to create so many combinations of diamond shapes that would be extremely tricky to stitch together by machine.
The principle for EPP is that you cut your diamond shapes out of paper, then cut fabric shapes out ¼“ (6mm) larger all around.
You then baste or stick the fabric to the paper with the seam allowance folded in. You can choose to baste all the way around the shape, as I did with the floral fabric, or just catch the corners, as I did with the rust fabric.
Then you stitch the shapes together by hand, using a small, neat, whip stitch and a fine needle.
This allows you a lot of control over corners and points! Because you have this extra flexibility and control with hand stitching, you can even make hexagons with your diamond shapes.
Diamond Quilt Blocks - In Conclusion
Once you have decided upon the method of creating diamonds that suits you best, it is time to combine your shapes into a complete item, whether a small tote bag or a large quilt. You could make a star pattern.
Or this famous pattern that creates a wonderful optical illusion. It is known as building blocks, baby’s blocks, or tumbling blocks.
As with Log Cabin blocks, these originated in the USA in the 1860s. According to folklore, there was a “Quilt Code” used by the settlers who were helping escaped slaves. You can see that color choice is extremely important when creating this illusion. You must have the lightest diamond on the top of each block, the darkest to the left, and a medium-toned diamond to the right.
If you experiment a bit with various-sized diamonds, you will no doubt find numerous ways to create a diamond quilt. Enjoy playing around with these shapes! After all, the saying and the song say that diamonds are a girl's best friend!
More Quilting Articles
- Quilting for Beginners
- Quilting Terms
- Quilting Tools
- Quilt Basting
- How to Bind a Quilt
- Quilting Stitches
- Quilt Borders
- Basting a Quilt
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- Half Rectangle Triangles – Easiest Tutorial to Make Them
- Windmill Quilt Block – Best and Easiest Method
- Nine Patch Quilt Block – Easy Tutorial for Perfect Blocks
- Pinwheel Quilt Blocks – Single & Double Easy Methods
- Flying Geese Quilt Blocks – Best & Easiest Methods
- Log Cabin Quilt Blocks – Easiest Tutorial for Beginners
- Half Square Triangles – Easiest 2,4 & 8 Patch Tutorial & Formulas