Half-Square Triangles

November 16, 2008

Half- square triangles are squares made up of two right triangles. The ability to quickly make a bunch of them should be in every quilter’s garner of skills. Half-square triangles are used in many blocks, for instance Pinwheel and Broken Dishes.

The following directions are for a block with a finished dimension of 5 1/2" x 5 1/2". For one half square triangle cut out:

  • 1 light colored square 3 3/4" x 3 3/4"
  • 1 dark colored square 3 3/4" x 3 3/4"

Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the light colored square.

Stack a light colored square with a dark colored square with right sides together. In fact, stack a bunch of them like that and take them to your machine.

Now figure out where you need to stitch to get a 1/4" seam from your pencil line. Using a consistent seam allowance is very important to keeping your blocks all the same size. You are going to be stitching to the left side of the pencil line. There is no need to back stitch at the beginning or ending of the seam.

After you stitch to the end of the seam, don’t raise the presser foot or clip the threads. Just grab your next squares and feed them under the presser foot and continue stitching.

When you get all of the squares sewn with one line of stitching you will have a long chain of squares. But wait, don’t cut them apart yet. Take the whole line of squares and turn them around so that you can sew another line of stitching on the other side of the pencil line.

After you get both lines of stitching sewn on all of the squares you can cut the threads holding them together.

And cut the squares into triangles by cutting on the pencil line.

Viola!! Press the patches open and press the seam allowance toward the dark side.


One comment

  1. Did you mean unfinished 3-1/2"? Not 5" with 3-3/4" to start.

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