Sew half-square triangles 4 and 8 times faster than you are now

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The humble yet mighty half-square triangle (or as I’ll fondly refer to it here: HST) is an essential element in scores of classic quilt blocks. And when you’re making a quilt that’s chock-full of HSTs, every little trick that streamlines the process can add up to quite a bit of time saved. If you find the process of making HSTs one or two at a time somewhat tedious, today is your lucky day! Check out videos below of super simple and speedy HST-making methods that will quadruple—and maybe even octuple—your output. We’ve also included easy math formulas for cutting fabric to make HSTs in any size you need.

Four-at-a-Time Half-Square Triangles

Size to cut = (desired finished size x 2) + ½"

For example, to make a 2″ finished unit (2½" with outer seam allowances), cut two 4½" squares (2″ x 2″ = 4″ + ½" = 4½").

Reading this in email? Click here to watch the video.


Eight-at-a-Time Half-Square Triangles

Size to cut = (desired finished size + 1″) x 2

For example, to make a 2″ finished unit (2½" with outer seam allowances), cut two 6″ squares (2″ + 1″ = 3″ x 2 = 6″).

Reading this in email? Click here to watch the video.

So quick and easy! Now that you know how to become a lean, mean HST-making machine, it’s time to put these methods to good use. We have three terrific books on sale today that feature easy half-square triangle quilt patterns galore.


Favorite Quilts from Anka's TreasuresFavorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures by Heather Mulder Peterson

Heather Mulder Peterson’s classic patterns were inspired by the sewing legacy of her great-grandma Anka. The beautiful “Maple Harvest” quilt featured on the cover includes ample opportunities to stitch up HSTs for the blocks and border.
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Maple-Harvest-quilt
Maple Harvest from Favorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures


Maple Leaf QuiltsMaple Leaf Quilts: 12 Projects, 9 Triangle Techniques by Ilene Bartos

Speaking of Maple Leaf blocks, don’t miss Maple Leaf Quilts by Ilene Bartos, where you’ll learn even more helpful triangle-making techniques. The HSTs you need for the lovely quilt “Midnight Leaves” would be stitched and ready in a snap!
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Midnight Leaves quilt
Midnight Leaves from Maple Leaf Quilts


Crazy for ScrapsCrazy for Scraps: 19 Favorite Quilts from Sally Schneider

Crazy for Scraps is bursting with fun, scrappy patterns that include half-square triangles. The beautiful “Oceans Waves” quilt requires 800 of them, so the eight-at-a-time method would come in extra handy!
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Ocean Waves quilt
Ocean Waves from Crazy for Scraps


Pinwheel PartyPinwheel Party: 12 Fun and Unique Quilts by Ellen Pahl

Any quilt with Pinwheel blocks most likely necessitates many HSTs. Ellen Pahl’s book Pinwheel Party includes 12 fun pinwheel patterns, including the easy and quick-to-make mini quilt Pinwheel Pirouette. The four-at-a-time method would work like a charm for this pattern.
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Pinwheel Pirouette quilt
Pinwheel Pirouette from Pinwheel Party

What’s your go-to method for making HSTs? Tell us in the comments!

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12 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I LOVE your newsletters! You share so much helpful information. I have suggested to several friends and especially new-to-quilters that they should sign-up. This is the one newsletter that I read EVERY TIME! (Oh, and yes, I do buy your books.)
    Thank you!

    Well you just made our day. 🙂 We LOVE hearing that, Karen, thank you so much for sharing, and for spreading the word! –Jenny

    —Karen on September 26, 2016
  • Thangels.

    —Marty on September 26, 2016
  • You should just publish a book full of everyone’s tips and instructions. All are helpful.

    —Chris on September 26, 2016
  • Not a fan of making HST’s until now:( Wow, this is my new way to make 4 and 8 HST’s at once. Love it……thanks for sharing.

    —Diane B on September 28, 2016
  • I like to use triangle paper to make HST’s.

    —Sherril McGann on September 30, 2016
  • Triangle paper is the best most accurate way for me.

    —Rhonda on September 30, 2016
  • Love the quilts: Ocean Waves and Maple Harvest….

    Kay on September 30, 2016
  • I too love you you weekly review I can see the quilt books before they even make it to my local or email store thanks. I like this video. I never thought about the 6″ block to make triangles. I will have to make a quilt using this idea.

    —Linda Christianson on September 30, 2016
  • I used to sew 1/4″ on either side of the diagonal, and then cut on the diagonal – but that only makes 2-at-a-time. Double and quadruple that sounds ‘way faster! Thanks. And thanks for the warning about the stretchy-bias sides. I’m not always careful when handling my blocks as I’m always in a hurry.

    —JanG on September 30, 2016
  • I use the easy angle ruler and 2 strips back to back for speedy assembly. Kathy in Colo

    —kathy pfaltzgraff on September 30, 2016
  • I usually draw a line across a square to make 2 at a time. The 8 at a time seems like a time saver. However, the 4 at a time method yields 4 1/4 square triangles which could affect your design as well as not being stable enough for a block edge.

    —Linda Towers on October 3, 2016
  • SQangles are a super quick way of making hst’s that are accurate with no trimming and no paper to tear off. They come in several forms to make hst’s, fast flying geese, stitch n flip, etc. Checkers will have the newest versions at market, hot off the press!

    Sue on October 3, 2016

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