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Simple Sampler Quilt: Cutting Half-Square Triangles

This post you'll learn how to make two different blocks using half-square triangles.  Since half-square triangle quilts are super popular at the moment and they have a long history in quilting tradition, I'll show you how to make 16 triangles at once that can then be arranged in a variety of patterns.  I'll show you how to arrange a pin wheel block and an hour glass block today, but the possibilities are endless when you start to arrange, rearrange, and make variations in combinations.  

The first part of this post I will walk you through how to create 8 squares made of half-square triangles, and then I will demonstrate the lay out and piecing of the pin wheel and hour glass blocks.

To start making the blocks get all of your supplies and tools ready. You are going to need:

  • cutting mat
  • rotary cutter
  • quilting ruler
  • sewing machine and thread
  • fabric bundle (I chose Persimmon by BasicGrey for Moda)
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Washable fabric marker or pencil

Making Half Square Triangles 

STEP 1

Select two contrasting fabrics and press them flat. Cut the fabrics to the following dimensions:

  • One red square 10-3/4 x 10-3/4
  • One print square 10-3/4 x 10-3/4

STEP 2

Place the fabrics right sides together and line them up together.  Use either a washable fabric marker or pencil to mark strait lines from corner to corner. 

These lines will guide your presser foot as you sew the fabrics together.  

Place the outer edge of your presser foot on the line and sew a strait line on both sides. The lines you've sewn should measure 1/2" apart.  If they do not, or if they slope towards or away from each other, rip the seams and resew. These lines will create the seams for some of your half-square triangles in upcoming steps. 

STEP 4

Using your rotary cutter and quilting ruler, cut along the lines that you drew in Step 2.  You should have 4 triangles that are sewn closed on two sides.  Press the fabrics. 

STEP 5

Take each of the triangles you cut in Step 4 and line up your quilting ruler along the unsewn edge and 45° corner.  Cut along your ruler and repeat for the remaining 3 triangles.

* Before you make your cut, be sure to double     check that your ruler is properly aligned.  

Step 6

At the end of Step 5 you should have 8 triangles.  

Trim off the corners of the seams at at 45° angle.

Press open the seams and you sill have 8 squares made of 2 half-square triangles.


The Pin Wheel

STEP 1

To create a Pin Wheel block, take 4 of the blocks you made and lay them out as pictured.

Before you start sewing, make sure the seams are pressed flat.

STEP 2

To start creating the block, place two squares right side together and line up the 45° seams. Pin the fabrics and sew together.  

 

STEP 3

Repeat Step 2 for the other two squares and press the seams towards the red triangles. (On the top of the picture, towards the left, on the bottom of the picture, towards the right.)

Press the seams flat and lay out the fabrics according to the picture.

STEP 4

Place the top fabric strip and lower fabric strip right side together, and use a pin to ensure that the center seams of the fabric strips are aligned.  

Sew the strips together and press the seams open.  Press the right side of the fabric to ensure a flat block.


The Hour Glass

STEP 1

To create an Hour Glass block, take 4 of the blocks you made and lay them out as pictured.

Before you start sewing, make sure the seams are pressed flat.

STEP 2

To start creating the block, place two squares right side together and line up the 45° seams. Pin the fabrics and sew together. Press the seams towards the red triangles. (On the left of the picture, towards the bottom, on the right of the picture, towards the top.)

STEP 3

Place the left and right fabric strips right side together, and use a pin to ensure that the center seams of the fabric strips are aligned.  

Sew the strips together and press the seams open.  Press the right side of the fabric to ensure a flat block.

There are so many creative possiblities with half-square triangles.  Variations in color values and gradations can change the entire look of a quilt, and the number of patterns that half-square triangles can offer are practically endless.  So if you're interested, have fun making as many triangles as you like and piece an entire quilt top, or you can just make the two blocks I showed you today.  Follow along next week for more of the Simple Sampler Quilt!

Happy Quilting !

- Rita