Hey Everyone, welcome back to Technique Tuesday. Today also marks the completion of the first week of the blog challenge I am taking part in. I hope you are enjoying my new daily posts.
Today I am going to talk about half square triangles or HSTs for short. They are everywhere in quilting – borders, blocks, sashing – well you get the idea there is no getting away from them. They come in all sizes and colours from teeny, tiny ones to big block size. For many quilters HSTs are not their favourite thing to make but they do provide some very interesting design effects.
This will be a 2-part post – today I will discuss the traditional method of making HSTs and next week the grid method.
Making an HST
1. To begin pick the fabrics that you want to use – HSTs are usually made up of 2 different fabrics, though you can use the same fabrics if you wish – oh, that just gave me an interesting idea for a mono-fabric quilt but that’s for another day.
2. Cut the squares needed out of the fabric. If the HST is to be 3″ finished and it is 3½″ unfinished as the seam allowance needs to be accounted for then I cut my squares ¾″ larger than the unfinished size. This means that for 3½″ unfinished HST I will cut my squares 4¼″ . This gives me extra fabric in case of a crooked sewing line or not so accurate cutting. There isn’t much wastage when adding the extra bit of fabric and it saves a lot of heartache and re-sewing in the end.
3. Draw a pencil line on the wrong side of the lightest fabric from corner to corner. A regular pencil will work just fine but a fabric marking device will work too.
4. Place the square with the pencil line on top of the other fabric square right sides together.
5. Sew a ¼″ seam on one side of the pencil line. Using my ¼″ foot, I usually have the left hand edge of the foot lined up just on the pencil line.
6. Repeat step 5 on the other side of the pencil line.
7. Cut apart along the pencil line using a rotary cutter.
8. Press the seam towards the darkest fabric. Use a dry iron to press with. If you would like to know a few more pressing tips then check out my post about pressing.
Squaring Off the HST
Squaring off is when the HST is trimmed down to the size needed.
1. Place the HST right side facing up and the seam line going from bottom left corner to top right corner on the cutting mat.
2. I use a small square ruler such as 4½″, 5½″ or 6½″ square for squaring off as these small square rulers are much easier to work with than the regular 6½″ x 24″ ruler for this job. The HST needs to be squared off to 3½″.
Line up the diagonal line of the ruler at the left hand bottom corner of the seam line with the 3¾″ vertical and horizontal lines matching the side and bottom edges of the HST as best you can. It is very important that the diagonal line on the ruler is square on with the diagonal sewing line of the HST. See photo below.
3. Trim off the excess fabric on the right hand side and top of the ruler.
4. Spin the HST around so that the edge just cut is at bottom left hand corner.
5. Repeat step 2 only this time placing the 3½″ vertical and horizontal ruler lines on the side and bottom edge of the HST. Take care to make sure the diagonal like is once again lined up with the seam line.
6. Trim off the excess fabric on the right hand side and top of the ruler.
7. A perfectly square 3½″ HST.
So there you have it – an easy tried and true method to make half square triangles. Tune in next week to see how to make them with the grid method.
If you have any questions or are having difficulties please feel free to contact me, I am happy to help and only an e-mail away.