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Monday, January 3, 2011

Half Square Triangles... The Novel

With all the buzz over the latest Bonnie Hunter mystery Roll Roll Cotton Boll, and the step with the 600 HSTs, it has had me pondering...

How many ways can one make a Half Square Triangle...
....or is it a Triangle Half Square?

Many Quilters swear that their way of creating half-square triangles is the best... which method is YOUR favorite?

I have challenged myself to try to find out just how many ways there are to make HSTs. = D Here is a "short" list of all the various ways I have found broken down by method. I have also included links to tutorials and videos when available.

Cut two triangles and sew them together.
Either cut a square in half, or use a template to cut your triangles.

Pros: Great if you need to just make 1 or 2 HSTs/ Good for fussy cutting/ Nice if you do not have a rotary cutter/Good for especially large HSTs/Very little Waste
Cons: Takes the longest/ Still have to trim dogears/Might have to square-up

Cut Triangles from Strips with use of a specialty ruler.
: Great way to use up scraps/No need to cut-off dog ears/No need to square up usually/Very little waste
Cons: Slow process/Working with Bias
*EZ Angle Ruler - A favorite of Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville - Great for use in Scrap Quilts - Cut Triangles from Strips and also no need to trim dog ears.
*Fons and Porter Ruler -similar to the EZ Angle Ruler.

2 HSTs @once.
This is probably THE most popular method out there. Layer two squares right sides facing, draw a line down the middle, and stitch .25" on each side, then cut to create 2 HSTs (at once.)
Pros: One of the more efficient ways to make HSTs/ Very little waste
Cons: Will need to trim dog ears/Sometimes innacurate and needs squaring up
Without Specialty Ruler:
Photo Tutorial:
Video Tutorial:
Using Specialty Ruler:
June Taylor Ruler: Assists in accuracy
The Angle Ruler: Goes on your sewing machine so you don't have to draw your lines on your square before sewing.

4 HSTs @once:
You can make 4 HSTs (at once) with this simple method. Stitch all around the edges of two square right sides together. Cut on the diagonal and VOILA!
Missouri Star QC shows us how it's done:
PROS: Good for mass-production/ One of the faster ways to make HSTs/Not a lot of fabric waste
CONS: Still have to trim dog ears/ Might have to square-up/ working with Bias edges

8 HSTs at once:
Draw two diagonal lines on your squares right sides together - stitch .25" on both sides of each line, cut, and you will have 8.
Click HERE for MY latest tutorial on 8@once HSTs.
PROS: You can make a lot at once time/Great for mass-production/Not a lot of waste
CONS: You still have to trim dog ears/ You almost always have to trim or square up/You have to start with a very big square so you must have some pretty big pieces of fabric for this

Paper piecing:
Stitch onto printed paper for amazing accuracy - Rip the paper off when you're done.
Pros: Very Accurate/No trimming/Little Waste/Great for Scrap Triangles and squares
Cons: Peeling off the paper/ additional cost- of paper and ink
*Thangles are available already printed on specialty paper and you supposedly don't have to change your needle or stitch length. (Great for Sawtooth borders)
*Trish Stuart shows you in this VIDEO how to use Freezer paper to paper piece HSTs. I think you are able to reuse these too? (Freezer paper would be easier to remove than regular paper)

Using Strips to make multiple HSTs
Penny Halgren shows you in this VIDEO how to make multiple HSTs using strips.
PROS: Great for Jelly Rolls or precuts/Little Waste/might be Good for Scraps/
CONS: Might have to square-up/Will have to trim dog-ears

The Grid:
Draw or print a grid on your large piece of fabric right sides together to make mass HSTs.
PROS: you can mass-produce your HSTs/ might be additional cost -ink and paper/little waste
CONS: Will need significantly large pieces of fabric to start with/ Will have to trim dogears/Might have some squaring up to do
*INKLINGO lets you print directly on your fabric for NO paper-piecing. Video Tutorial
*This Video shows you how to use CATS Templates. This is definitely new to me. Very interesting and I'd love to know your thoughts on this method if any of you have tried it.
*These two websites offer FREE Grids for you to print using your regular ink-jet printer OR you can print on to paper and paper -piece. Several sizes of HSTs to choose from.


Stitch and Trim - Stitch a Triangle to a square and trim off excess.

CONS: Wasteful
PROS: Good for working with very small pieces or pieces already in place./Accurate/


Stitch around the edges of a folded square placed on half of a full square.
PROS: Great for small pieces/Nice 3-D Effect/Stitching is on the outside instead of within the block/Accurate/No trimming
CONS: Wasteful/Time consuming

HSTS from Tubes:
PROS: Good for Scraps/Good for Precuts/Fast
CONS: Some squaring up required/must trim dogears/ Bias Edges
Tube Method Video

I also found this interesting VIDEO. This method makes 2 HSTs and 2 QSTs at once by sewing together little pocket 4 patches. CHECK IT OUT!


  1. Great post Katie. I had no idea there were so many ways to make 1/2 square triangles.


  2. Fabulous post, Katie - one to bookmark for future reference! Jennifer shows another way on her Bronzewombat blog:
    Thanks for taking the time to pull all of these methods together.

  3. Very helpful information. Thanks!

  4. This is fanfreakin'tastic! Thank you so much!

  5. The only one you're missing is Inklingo. :-) Have you tried it yet, Katie?

  6. I have inklingo on there!!! promise!!! ;c)
    It's under Method #8