Saturday, January 18, 2014

Half Square Triangle Tutorial



When I recently posted about half-square triangle options I received a few e-mails asking me for some more details about my construction method. Since I had to make some half-square triangles for this months Bee blocks, I took a few pictures along the way. Half-square triangles are so much fun to make with gorgeous fabrics, and they really are some of my favorite quilt blocks to make. It was fun to get to sew with the Flea Market Fancy prints!



 I use a mechanical pencil and a 1/4" wide ruler to draw lines on the back of the light fabrics. There are other brands available, but I've had these two different Quilter's Quick Quarter-8" and Quilters Rule Quick Quarter II 12 inch   tools for several years. They are exactly 1/4" wide and have slits along the center to line up with the center points of your fabric squares. I probably use the larger size the most, although the smaller size is handy for small blocks.



 I usually draw the lines fairly light, but I drew darker lines on this block  so it would show up a bit better. After marking all of my light-colored squares, I place them right sides together with the same size print squares. Then I sew along each of my drawn lines.

I like to make my half-square triangles a bit bigger than they need to be and then trim them to the perfect size. I generally add 1" to the finished measurement of my desired block size and cut my light and print squares that size. So to make 3" finished blocks I'll cut 4" squares.


 After sewing I cut the squares in the middle of my two sewn lines. I don't press yet.



 I use the "Fit to be Quarter" square ruler (by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts) to trim my blocks. Again, there are other brands available, but I love this ruler because it will trim blocks at every quarter inch up to 6 1/2" square. I also have a larger "Fit to be Quarter" ruler which trims blocks up to 9 1/2" square.


With this ruler you simply line up your sewn line with the desired block size line and trim away the extra fabric at the side and top. For this example the fabrics had been cut even larger than normal for photography. Normally I am trimming smaller pieces off of the side and top.



At this point I press the half-square triangle blocks. I press these seams open unless I'm following a pattern with specific pressing directions. I find that pressing these seams open really helps my piecing to be more accurate as I use these sections in blocks.

Please feel free to email me with any questions or clarifications. Things have been pretty busy around here with the holiday weekend, but I'll get to your email as soon as I can!




I had fun finishing up a couple of Bee blocks today...



And I made two matching blocks for me...I have 5 of my 25 finished now!


Thanks so very much for stopping by!


New fabrics and sale fabrics  are at Southern Fabric this week.


20 comments:

suemac said...

I never thought to trim before I pressed. What a great idea.

DIANA said...

I agree I think I have that ruler too I tried to send pics of my hst email to u also what is the fastest way to press seams open I hate doing that but need to sometimes thanks diana

DIANA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barb Gibney said...

Ahhh. I love your blocks...and I think I need one of those fit to be square rulers. Thanks for sharing

Linda Cates said...

Thanks SO MUCH, Sherri. It's so helpful to see a detailed description of what works for you. I'm trying this method. Thanks for your continuing inspiration.

AnnieO said...

I was curious if you pressed all your seams open---for the multiple settings of the blocks it sure makes sense! Very pretty blocks.

CathyK said...

Love, love, love this tutorial and those blocks!! Thank you so much!

Jeanna said...

I thought I had seen every technique for creating these blocks but this is a new one for me. I love the trimming before pressing and also pressing the seams open. Thank you for sharing this method.

Your Bee Blocks are very nice!

Sandy Lowery said...

Thanks for this tutorial. I have a problem with accuracy so will try your method.

Ramona said...

Thanks for showing how Monique's ruler works. I wasn't sure I really needed another ruler but you may have changed my mind. I think I will try pressing those seams open as well. Thanks for the tutorial.

WoolenSails said...

I do love the quarter inch ruler, nice for making the sewing lines, love making triangles this way.

Debbie

crazyquilter said...

I love half square triangles too.

I find the trimming of all 4 sides a bit time consuming and recently I was referred to another quilting tool which I find to be very helpful.

http://www.quiltinaday.com/shoponline/rulers_display.asp?i=1087

Using this ruler you only have to do 2 cuts instead of 4 - unbelievable but true!

I bought the ruler and it really does work.

OPQuilt said...

Great idea to trim before pressing open the block. I always learn something new from you!

Elizabeth

Sharon@Sharon at Home said...

OMG ... a light bulb moment.

Sherri - I have been quilting for 30 years. I start my half square triangles the same say ... two lines, cut down the middle ... but I always press open and then trim. Trimming first is just brilliant.

I am in the middle of a project that has a lot of half square triangles and I tried your method. Brilliant. I can't thank you enough for your tip.

Sharon

Sharon@Sharon at Home said...

PS ... I don't have the same ruler ... I just used my 2/12 inch square. It has a diagonal line on it and works just as well.

Thanks again.

Heidi [Banks of Frog Creek] said...

Thank you! I never thought to trim before pressing - love that! I also appreciate knowing the measurements... I like the idea of cutting the first square an inch longer than I want the half-square triangles to be. Great info!!

Grandmasewnsew said...

Thank you for this tutorial. I have and love the Fit to Be Quartered Rulers you have and love them. I never thought to press the blocks open but that makes sense now that you say why you do it. I also recently bought a set of Bloc-Loc rulers which I love but you'd have to press first. I'm looking forward to trying your method which really does seem much simpler. Thank you for your great blogs!

Sonya said...

Sherri, thank you SO much for sharing this with us! I'm so grateful for these tips to help make my quilting more perfect! I just ordered all of these rulers :)

•stephanie• said...

THIS IS GENIUS!!!!! two trimming cuts instead of four is the best news ever. thanks so much!!!

Beatrice said...

Hello,
thanks for sharing!
Beatrice.