Hurried half square triangles

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Hurried half square triangles

All quilters, regardless of modern or traditional bent, are going to need to know how to make half square triangles (HSTs). So since the quilt I’m working on now requires over 100 of them, I thought I’d share the two methods I’ll be using.
The Drawn Line Method

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Step one: place two squares right sides together and using the 45 degree mark on your ruler, draw a line down the centre. (I’m using a green friction pen.)

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Step two: after doing this to the required amount of squares (this method yields two HSTs per square) sew 1/4″ to the side of the line. Not on the line! This is also a great opportunity to switch to a double sided 1/4″ piecing foot.

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Step three: Now you can chain piece everything. After sewing this first seam, flip your chain around as though forming a circle and sew another 1/4″ seam to the side of your line.

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Step four: now take your ruler and cut along the line.

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Now you have two HSTs ready to be pressed. Everyone’s got their opinion about pressing. Seam open, to one side, starch or not, steam or not. This is my way of pressing and you take it with a grain of salt and do what you like best.
Danielle’s pressing method
First I take the cut triangles to the board. Then I give them a squirt of whatever’s on hand. Today I have Mary Ellen’s best press, but sometimes I use starch.
Then I take my steam iron (it’s a Rowenta pressure iron with a steam compartment separate from the iron itself. I love this iron and highly recommend it!) and put it on the seams like an elephant foot.

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Then it’s safe to open the HST up and press the seam to the side and give it some steam.
Trim your dog ears and you’re done!

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The Magic HST method
This method is cool because it yields four HSTs with each unit. The difference being the HSTs are smaller. So if you’d like larger units just start with bigger squares. This method is perfect for creating borders and you needs lots of HSTs in a hurry.
Step one: take your two squares of fabric and put the right sides together.

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Now here’s the mind bending part. Sew 1/4″ all around the perimeter of the squares.

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“That’s weird,” you say. But this method is all in the cutting.
Step two: take your ruler and align the sewn squares with the 45 degree marking. Cut from corner to corner.

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Step three: now turn the two halves around and line them back up. Align the 45 degree marking on your ruler and cross cut from the other corner to corner.

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Now you’re ready to press!

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A brief note about pressing and both methods described: there is a lot of bias along the edges of these triangles. I recommend some kind of starch when pressing just for stability. And handle them with care as you’re working with them.

Have a great week!

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2 responses »

    • Hmm I’m going to say that will likely finish at 4.5″ after cutting. They should finish the same size as my drawn line HSTs in the tutorial. But run an experiment first just to be sure! 🙂

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