Half square triangles or HST’s are the building blocks of a lot of great quilt blocks.
There are SO many wonderful tutorials for making these, but I wanted to show you a little cutting trick I use when trimming up. As always, this is the way I make them and it may not be suitable for everyone.
First, a little math:
If I wanted my quilt to feature 6 inch HST, I need to make 6.5 inch HST.
If I want to make 6.5 inch HST, my beginning square needs to be 7 inches.
So, I cut one 7 inch square of my print fabric and one 7 inch square of background fabric.
By following this math, you will end up with 2 HSTs for every 2 7-inch blocks you put together. So if you needed 50 HSTs, you would cut 25 7-inch print blocks and 25 7-inch background blocks.
Lay print fabric face up and place background fabric on top of it (if you were not using a solid and using another print, you would want to put that one face down OR both 7 inch blocks facing each other).
I use a ruler and a pen to draw from one corner of the square to the other.
Now you want to sew a straight line ¼ inch on both sides of your drawn line.
I like to get all of my blocks (when making multiple HSTs), both print and background, and run them through my sewing machine one right after the other. All on the same side.
Then cut the strings that connect the blocks, and do the other side the same way.
See my chain piecing in the background. Do all the right sides of your drawn line at once. There is no need to stop each time you do one block. Keep shuffling the blocks in there one at a time without cutting your threads.
When you have all the blocks sewn with one line. Then cut the threads that connect them all. After that you can sew down the other side of drawn line the exact same way. I did 192 HSTs yesterday in about 45 minutes.
For some reason I did not take a picture of this next part, so bear with me.
Take all your blocks to your cutting board. With your ruler and rotary cutter, line your ruler up with your drawn line and cut. You now have 2 half square triangles.
DO NOT PRESS OR OPEN THESE UP YET. There is more work to do first.
I’m going to show you 2 ways here. One way that I use and the other way you can use if you don’t have any fussy cut rulers.
If you do not have a 6.5 inch fussy cut ruler, go ahead and press open your HSTs and trim them down to size. You are done.
IF you do have a fussy cut ruler, here is the trim method that I use.
First, a little reasoning.
I am not a fan of laying my block (already pressed out) and then trimming down to size and cutting off the little triangular tails. I tend to make a lot of cutting mistakes doing it this way. So this is why I press last.
Your HST should still be folded and un-pressed, looking very much like a triangle.
Take your fussy cut ruler (you need a fussy cut ruler the same size as you want your HST to be. So if I wanted 3.5 inch HST, I would need that size fussy cut ruler) and turn it corner up, just like your HST.
There is lines that go ¼ inch all the way around the perimeter of the ruler, and also a line that goes diagonally down the middle. You want the line down the middle of your ruler to go on top of your stitch line at the bottom of HST.
I’ve lined up one side of the ruler with my HST on one side and the diagonal line is on my stitch line. You see how those little tails hang off the ends. Cut them off with your rotary cutter. And rotary cut the right side to trim it down to size.
Now you can press it open and then you’re done. No more trimming.
There are fancy rulers you can buy that have all the sizes for every HST you might want and they do the same thing. Since I already have a whole mess of different size fussy cut rulers, I can do the same thing without spending more money to get yet another ruler. I vote no more spending money.
If you have any trouble, I’m happy to help. I LOVE talking to quilty people.
Yesterday, I worked on an order for: Kelly K.
Almost all day.
I got all the triangles made for your quilt and started assembling them into blocks. I got halfway with that step.
I also managed to squeeze in work on a few more orders.
I cut quilt tops for:
Jane S, Brooke H, Wendy A, Nancy C, and Patricia P.
I moved the following order back 60 days:
Alecia H and Sandy M.