Many of us have a love hate relationship with Half Square Triangles (HSTs). The fact that countless quilt patterns can be made from just HSTs makes them quite appealing. But making them can be QUITE the chore. There are several ways to try to diminish the work, but alas they don’t make themselves.
I’ve found that you really just have to pick your poison when it comes to making HSTs. And today, I’m going to share with you a poison, er I mean one way I like to quickly make a bunch of HSTs. This method works really well if you are making a quilt with a limited fabric story.
Have you ever tried Thangles before? They are really fantastic. While I loved Thangles because I literally made around 400 HSTs in a few hours, I then had to remove all the papers from those 400 some HSTs. Which took a long long long time.
It turns out that I am making a quilt with just 2 colors again, and at my friend Amy‘s suggestion I just marked my fabrics with my own grid. And that worked well. So that’s what I’m sharing with you today.
In this example, I made 40 HSTs, 2 1/2” finished, in about 30 minutes (apart from trimming). I use 2 colors – Kona White and Kona Wasabi. In general you will be marking the fabric with a box grid and diagonals, using the diagonals as sewing guides, and then cutting along all the marked lines.
After the tutorial there’s a chart with a bunch of different HSTs grid sizes for you to pin and save for later.
Step 1: Cut a single or double width of fabric depending on how many HSTs you need to make. Since I am making a bunch of HSTs, I am going to show a double width.
For 2 1/2” finished HSTs I cut a strip 6 3/4” x WOF (Width of Fabric, selvage to selvage) from each of my white and wasabi. (If you are curious that math is 3 7/8” x 2 for a double width.) Then I cut the widths at the fold and separate the two pieces. (Note: to maximize the number of HSTs you can get from a WOF don’t cut it in half.) So now, I have 2 wasabi pieces and 2 white pieces.
(Not shown but for a single width, cut a strip 3 3/8” x WOF. It should yield at least 20 HSTs.)
Step 2: Mark the grid on the two pieces of darker fabric. In my case, I marked on the wasabi pieces.
First mark the vertical line, which will be parallel to either side of the fabric and for 2 1/2” finished HSTs will be 3 3/8” away from either side, or the exact middle. (Skip this part for a single width.)
Then mark the horizontal lines. For 2 1/2” finished HSTs draw a line 3 3/8” away from the edge of the fabric.
Then mark a second horizontal line 3 3/8” from the first line.
For finished 2 1/2” HSTs continue marking horizontal lines 3 3/8” away from the previous line until you’ve used up all the space on your strip.
Tip: Use a fabric marking pen that erases easily just in case you were to mess up. Ask me how I know. 🙂
And finally, complete your grid by adding diagonal lines through all the boxes. (I wised up and used a darker pen to show you.)
Step 3: Then pair colors right sides together and pin. Remember I’m pairing white and wasabi. Tip: Pin away from the marked lines.
Step 4: Sew 1/4” away from the diagonal lines on both sides. Tip: Because you will be cutting into your seams, decrease your stitch length so that the stitches are less likely to unravel.
I’d like to take the time to say that I love the color Wasabi, but it doesn’t photograph with my sewing notions does it?!
Once all the sewing is finished your strip will look like this.
On this darker color you can see the seams better. (would it have been easier to change thread? Perhaps, but how else would I have know that Wasabi + Everglade = not the best?)
Step 5: Cut along all the marked lines. And tada! Forty(!) HSTs in no time.
Or, like this:
Step 6: Depending on your pressing preference, press seams either open or toward the darker fabric.
Step 7: For maximum accuracy, trim each HST down to 2 1/2”.
As with any HST triangle technique, this method has it’s downsides. One being you have to do some math to figure out where to mark your grids. And then you have to mark your grids. I’ve tried to make it a bit easier by making this table of common HST sizes for you.
Now, who will invent something that trims HSTs for us?!
Thanks for stopping by! I’ll answer questions in the comments…