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!

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