Sunday, September 14, 2014

Don't be Shy!

Half Square Triangles are not difficult!

I'll not re-invent the wheel today! There’s no need since we have easy access to so many others that have taken the time to provide photos with the step-by-step process!

What can you do with HSTs? Goodness gracious! The question is not what can you do, but rather ~ which one! It’s difficult to decide as there are so many lovely block pattern designs using Half Square Triangles! Chasing Cottons Quilt Designs has a nice collection of examples such as:

Have you wondered what size squares you need to cut first to end up with “x” inch squares? It depends how they are cut…


Make one Half Square Triangle
     I’ll do one and share pictures (because I couldn't find just one HST, anywhere!). It’s a waste of fabric!
            If you need a 2.5” HST, cut the original two pieces 2 7/8” (I like to allow a bit extra, but not much, and is not the “waste” I mentioned)

Cut 2 contrasting pieces (didn't photo the 2nd piece), then
with a pencil, draw diagonal line 

Start with your leader,
stitch the pencil line,
end with your leader used as an ender before cutting threads!
Press stitches to meld,
trim 1/4" away from seam
~ now that's where the waste comes in!
But, I see future "leaders"!

Finger press,
then press with hot dry iron,
flip it over, press again on right side
Measure & trim to size - 2.5"
There you go! 

Making two at a time:

Go back to Chasing Cottons's blogspot and you not only see how to make two at a time, but she shows how to chain piece... keep sewing until you have them all done the same!

I did a set ...
2 square pieces prepped just like before,
now I'm stitching to the side of the pencil line...
once at the end, flip it around,
and go back down the other side

I cut on the pencil line here.
You can use a quilter's ruler and rotary cutter, but scissors are simply quicker for me.
Press to meld, press open after finger pressing.
NOTICE: I have the diagonal line of my ruler, along the diagonal stitching line as I line up my square,
then trim where needed.  

The extra length, aka "dog ears" should be cut off...
sometimes I do it now,
sometimes I wait until I join two HST's together,
then snip off both at the same time 

This is a fabulous chart that shows what your 2 original squares should be cut to get the final 2 HSTs needed for your particular design:
Making eight at a time:

Oh, my, goodness! I love writing these articles as I stumble across such amazing tricks for my own use, as well as sharing with you! laugh yourself into Stitches* shows us (with great pictures!) how to make 8 half square triangles out of 2 pieces of fabric! Oh! My! My! I'm doing the happy dance!

She even provides us a chart (when making 8, it’s a bit different than the chart above when making only two at a time), sharing what size the original 2 squares of fabric must be to yield the needed HST size!

I just had to try this!

And, it works beautifully!!!!

Now, knowing which one to sew to which side of another... once you figure it out, put a couple of pins along the side to be stitched. Place them on your baking sheet and carry over to the sewing machine!

Another method of mass production of HST

I experimented, played around, to see how these were made, but made mine much larger! She used jelly rolls (2 1/2" wide).

I cut 2 widths of fabric 4 3/4" wide, stitched down the length on both sides, pressed to meld the stitches.

I trimmed of the selvage end, then placed the diagonal line on my ruler on the stitch (seam) line.
Cut off the tail. 

Then slide the ruler up to the top stitch line,
MAKE SURE the diagonal line of the ruler is lined up on the stitching (seam) line!!!
Cut using your rotary cutter.
Continue this sliding action from bottom to top,
Always Placing Diagonal Line of Ruler ON THE STITCHING (SEAM) LINE,
cut until the end!
(There will be some left over, to do something else with!)
There you go!

Something a bit different…

But, what if you don’t want a Half Square Triangle thingy, but a rectangle one? This looks like fun/different and I will try it soon! 


Now that you have Half Square Triangles made, how do you sew them together to end up with perfect matching points?

Over at Chasing Cottons Quilt Designs again, Beck took the time to create a fabulous step-by-step photo tutorial on sewing the HST’s together! Whatever the design you are going for, the basics are the same. Remember to use your leader to start, then you’ll see how to chain piece lots at a time!
Press with Caution

When pressing the HST seam either open (I highly recommend) or to one side, finger press first (using only fingertips, press down on the open seam), then press with hot iron – be careful not to stretch out as you are dealing with the fabric’s bias. What is bias? It’s the diagonal cut across a piece of fabric, it’s very very stretchy!

Now the hard part ~ deciding which pattern to use!

Here are more block patterns I saw on Pinterest using HSTs ... have fun!

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