Beginner’s Guide to Half-Square Triangles (HSTs)

Half Square Triangles are my favorite quilt block! They are fairly simple to make and together they can make so many different designs! Just to get an idea, take a look at my favorite HST quilts.

If you are new to quilting, the standard method of making HSTs is the “two-at-a-time” method. I’ll show you the process step-by-step below! After the tutorial, we’ll discuss the other ways of making HSTs. Ok, here we go!


To start, you will need two fabric squares. Take the finished sized of the HST and add one inch if you want some wiggle room (I do!). **The standard practice is to add 7/8″. I’m just lazy and it’s so much easier to just add an inch and trim extra. But it’s up to you! Check out this handy HST cutting chart if you want a cheat sheet for the 7/8″ math.**

Here are my two squares. I’m starting with 5 inch charm squares, which will finish at 4 inch HSTs. On the left, you see the right side of the fabric. On the right, is the wrong side.
right side wrong side fabric

Use a pencil to draw a diagonal line from one corner to another on wrong side of the lighter colored square.
draw line on center

Place the two squares right sides together with the lighter color on top.
right sides together

Sew ¼” from that line on each side of the line. (If you have a lot of HSTs to make, it’s best to chain piece them during this step.)

right sides together

Cut along the line you drew to split the square in half.

Open and press to make two HSTs.
On the left, I pressed it open. On the right, I pressed it towards the darker fabric. How you press is a matter of preference. I prefer to press them open for flatter seams. But many people like to press to one side so they can nest seams.
pressing options

Trim to exact size needed (in my example, 4 inches). trim HST

Tada!!! Two perfect Half-Square Triangles!!
Half Square Triangles

One of my favorite things about quilting is people are always sharing new methods and techniques to making piecing faster. Here are a few other ways to make Half-Square Triangles. After you’ve mastered the “two-at-a-time” method, try a different way and see if you like it better!

Quiltcon Recap Post Roundup

Here are some of the wonderful Quiltcon recap posts I’ve been reading this week. I seriously cannot get enough!

Amy from Diary of a Quilter gives a great overview of Quiltcon with some really fun behind the scenes photos. Plus a video!

Yvonne’s posts on Quilting Jetgirl are always an insightful read. Here, she takes on Quiltcon from three different angles: Volunteering, Her Quilts, and a Final Recap

If you are trying to restrain yourself (like I am) from buying a vintage camper, do not read this recap from That’s What She Sewed.

Even quilt shows cannot escape controversy. I appreciate when people can disagree without fighting and even bringing larger topics to ponder to the table. Read Katie’s questions and opinions here.

I love Christa’s thoughts on what makes Quiltcon different from other quilt shows. Bonus: her post also has great photos!

If I watch a video about Quiltcon, I can pretend I was actually there, right?!

Oh the photos in this really make me swoon. I love seeing the quilts next to each other. It somehow changes their look from just seeing a picture of the individual quilt. Plus there is a promise of a part 2 blog post!

Jenny from Quilt Skipper has a really fun post with several quilts that I didn’t see pictures of anywhere else.

Nicole from Modern Handcraft’s award ribbons seriously stole the show. Someone needs to make her a ribbon for her ribbons. Amazing.


Free Pattern and Newsletter Launch!

I’m beyond excited to be launching my modern quilting newsletter, Half-Square Headlines!!! Each month, I’ll have an exclusive interview with an awesome quilter, share the latest news from around the modern quilting world, plus include tons of inspiration. And I’ll definitely have freebies and fun giveaways along the way.

To celebrate, I’m giving away my first free pattern called Starbelt to all new subscribers!

Free Quilt Pattern

I spent weeks designing and putting this exclusive pattern together just for you. I hope you love it. And I think it would look just as fabulous in prints as it does in solids!

Join in the fun. Get a free pattern. Sound good? Let’s do it!

Don’t wait. This pattern won’t be free forever. And if you think a friend would love it too, please use the share links below to spread the word.

How to Sew Triangles Part 2

Today we’re going to finish our mini series of how to sew triangles by sewing rows of triangles together. If you missed Part 1 about how to cut and piece triangles, click here.

Here are my rows of triangles, ready to be sewn together. In this example, I’ll refer to the row at the top as “top” and the row beneath it as “bottom”.

sewing triangles part 2

Take the top row and place it right sides together with the bottom row.

sewing triangles part 2

To line them up, make sure the seams on the triangles from the top and bottom rows line up. The red line below shows which seams should be lining up.

how to sew triangles in rows

Pin your rows together to make sure everything stays lined up. I like to put pins on either side of the triangle point and one pin in the center of the triangle.

sewing triangles part 2

Continue pinning the entire row.

sewing triangles part 2

Sew 1/4″ inch from the edge, removing the pins as you approach. Some people even leave their pins in, but I’ve broken too many pins and needles with mine doing that.

Press open your seam. Yay! Two rows of happy triangles.

sewing triangles part 2

Here’s a little sneak peek of the progress of this project. It will be heading for it’s new home in a couple weeks.

triangle rainbow mini quilt

How to cut and sew triangles using a triangle ruler

how to cut and sew triangles

I absolutely love triangle quilts but it is an unfamiliar shape for me to sew with. It feel like everyday I need a lesson on working with them. So I decided to write these notes to help me. Maybe they’ll be useful to you too!

I’m using the Tri Tool triangle ruler. It really makes the process faster than using the angle lines on my normal ruler.

Step 1: Cut fabric strip
Decide what size you want your finished triangles. Cut a strip of fabric 1/2″ inch wider than your finished size. For this example, I decided to use 3″ triangles, so I cut a 3.5″ strip.

how to cut and sew triangles

Step 2: Cut triangles
Place the top of the triangle ruler at the top of your fabric strip. Hold the ruler and cut fabric along the right side of the ruler (for your first triangle, you’ll also need to cut from the left side).

how to cut and sew triangles

Turn the ruler upside down, so the top of the ruler is on the bottom of your fabric strip. The left side of the ruler should be lined up with the left side of the fabric. Hold the ruler and cut fabric along the right side of the ruler.

how to cut and sew triangles

Continue cutting until you have all triangles cut out.

how to cut and sew triangles

Step 3: Sewing triangles
I think it’s quickest to chain piece pairs of triangles, so that’s what method I’ll use.

Place triangles right sides together. The flat part of the top triangle should be below the bottom triangle’s point and should exactly span the width of that section.

how to cut and sew triangles

Chain piece all triangles. Notice that the 1/4″ seam matches the width of the flat part of the top triangles.

how to cut and sew triangles

Press triangles open. Notice the tails sticking out from the triangles. We’ll use them to help line up the next set.

how to cut and sew triangles

Place pairs of triangles right sides together. The top triangle’s point lines up with the bottom triangle’s tail (both silver in this example). The top triangle’s tail (blue) lines up with the bottom triangle’s point (maroon).

how to cut and sew triangles

Chain piece all triangle pairs. Notice that the 1/4″ seam lines up in the V shape created by the points lining up correctly.

how to cut and sew triangles

Press triangles open. Continue chain piecing until all of your rows are completed!

how to cut and sew triangles

To walk through how to sew rows of triangles together, click here for Part 2.

Linking up with Lessons Learned over at Quilting Mod