For the love of half square triangles {shortcuts + block design}

Because I love HSTs and you should too!

I know there are a few beginning quilters out there who follow my blog, so I thought I’d start posting some tips, tricks and beginner basics I’ve picked up along my quilting journey. And given my love for half-square triangles, I figured what better way than to start with some easy HSTs?!

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Half-square triangles are one of the most basic blocks to piece together – and just as their name implies, they’re quite simply made from two triangles of contrasting fabric, sewn together to make a square. Commonly used as a base in much more elaborate blocks, they are often an essential part of the quilt building process.

There are a handful of different methods for making HSTs, depending on the quantity needed. In this post, I’ll be showing you how to make sets of two, four and eight.

For each method, you will need two squares of contrasting fabric. The size of your squares will determine the outcome of your HSTs. For each tutorial, I’m using  6.5″ squares.

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To make 2 HSTs:

1. place your two squares on top of one another – right sides together.
2. draw a line from corner to corner, diagonally
3. sew a 1/4″ seam down both sides of your line (2 seams total)

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4. cut along your drawn line
(1 cut total)

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5.press the seams open toward the darker fabric and trim away the excess fabric to square up your block

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To make 4 HSTs:

1. place your two squares on top of one another – right sides together.
2. draw two diagonal lines from each corner to corner – making an X
3. sew a 1/4″ seam around the perimeter of your square (1 seam total)

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4. cut along your drawn lines
(2 cuts total)

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5. press the seams open toward the darker fabric and trim away the excess fabric to square up your blocks

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To make 8 HSTs:

1. place your two squares on top of one another – right sides together.
2. draw two diagonal lines from each corner to corner – making an X
3. sew a 1/4″ seam down both sides of each line (4 seams total)

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4. cut along each of your drawn lines
5. make a vertical cut across the center
6. make a horizontal cut down the center
(4 cuts total)

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7. press the seams open toward the darker fabric and trim away the excess fabric to square up your blocks

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Just to show an example of one of the many ways to use half-square triangles, the Split Sawtooth Star Block below was made using one large HST for the center and ten of the smaller HSTs for the star’s eight points and two of the block’s corners (with two small contrasting squares for the other corners). Easy peasy!

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Need to make more? Debbie at A Quilter’s Table has an awesome tutorial for making eighteen HSTs at a time! Go check out her tutorial for Big Batch HSTs here!

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Does anyone know of any other methods of HST making? I’d love to hear about them!

xo.a

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13 thoughts on “For the love of half square triangles {shortcuts + block design}

  1. Thanks so much for this post, Amanda! I was actually just wondering how to make these. I have yet to take the plunge but I really would like to give quilting a try.

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    1. You’re welcome! These blocks are fun to make and they’re so easy! I made one of my first quilts from HSTs and it’s still a favorite. You should definitely give it a try. 😄

      On Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 6:56 AM, Gypsy Moon Quilt Co. wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh how I love HSTs!!! These are the techniques I use as well and find I get into a groove when I’m making them and find it really relaxing. Well, except for the squaring up bit 😉

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