Thursday, April 19, 2012

3 methods to make Half Square Triangles (HST)

I began my BOM project, and I was surprised to see that all the HST were made by cutting out triangles, and sewing them together...  I'm not sure why they made the pattern that way, but I prefer one of these methods.

Method #1
Put a strip of your dark and light fabrics together, stitching on both of the long sides.  Use one of these handy rulers that have the markings on them. Line up the mark  on your stitching line. The marks are labeled to tell you what size square you will end up with. A regular ruler will work, but it is more difficult to get an accurate cut because the markings are different.

Lay your triangle down, dark side up, and press to set the stitches...


Iron flat...
 Trim off the tags that stick out...

Voila!  Perfect little half square triangles!
Method #2 
Cut two squares, one light and one dark.  Lay them right sides together.

Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other.

Using a 1/4" foot, sew 1/4 inch from the line on each side.

Trim it right on that line between the stitching and press as described above.

Trim the tags.

Using the 45 degree line on your ruler check for accuracy and trim as needed.
 Method #3
Start as above, with two squares, right sides together.  This time sew around all four sides (these will of course be much smaller than the ones from Method #2).
 Cut on the diagonal both ways.

Press and trim tags and you have 4 HST!

There are also some printed papers you can buy from  your LQS called Thangles. These can be used to paper piece HST, and are very good for accuracy. Some drawbacks would be that you have to pick off all the paper, and you will have to buy them in the size you need and they would be good for only one use.

**Now for my disclaimer**
The methods above call for you to figure out how big you need to cut your fabric to end up with the HST size that you want. Personally, I live by the "better safe than sorry" philosophy, so I purposely make them a little larger than my pattern calls for and trim them down so they can be perfect. That can be quite a pain if you are making a lot of them! There are pros and cons to each method, but isn't it nice to have options??


  1. Is that the beginnings of your Patchwork BOM? Cute fabrics!

  2. I use method 2. I have not tried method one.

  3. Hi! I usually use method #2, adding extra as you say and then trim to the right size. I've drawn my own HSTs on paper, adding the extra measurement when I have lots of little triangles to make, it is actually very quick and the papers separate easily as the stitching perforates them!
    Thanks for the post
    Take care, Leslie

  4. Thanks for the Tutorial. I am new to quilting and this will help me figure out which method is best for me.
    BTW - I came over from Find a Friend Friday on Sew Many Ways and now am a follower!

  5. Method #2 is my usual one but I really like #1 ... wouldn't even attempt #3. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi stopping by from Sew Many Ways. I usually use method 2 but have tried 3 also.

  7. I love this! I want to make a pin wheel quilt and I hate doing HST. I love the 3rd method! Way easy! Thanks!!


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