Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Half Square Triangle Tutorial for Joanna

Happy New Year! I thought I would use the first post of the year to do a half-square triangle tutorial for my friend Joanna. She mentioned to me that she was going to make a quilt similar
to my red, aqua and white one but that she wouldn't be able to get all her points to match up like mine. Well, I used to struggle with that as well until I learned to make them this way. Hopefully, this tutorial might help other quilters not already using this method as well.

Let's start.
First of all, I think it is quite important to always have good tools. This tool pictured above is essential in this process. It's an Omnigrid 6.5" square ruler with diagonal lines! I use this ruler a lot!

I'm going to use two five inch squares. I am going to use my charm pack of Heather Bailey's new Nicey Jane fabrics and some Kona taupe to make a baby quilt. Obviously you can use any size.

Draw a diagonal line point to point on the reverse side of the piece of fabric that will show the line best. I am using a pen here--usually I use a retractable pencil. Use an invisible marker if you are worried about anything showing up on the back of the quilt.

Then lay the two fabrics right sides together and pin the corners. Next, sew LESS than a 1/4 inch on both sides of the line. The most important step in this process is to SEW A STRAIGHT LINE! Usually I use a guided quarter inch foot but mine is missing in action at the moment.

I also don't usually use orange thread, but I was too lazy to change what was in my machine at the moment. Here is what it looks like before cutting apart.

Ok, just rotary cut on the line. I'd like to mention too that many quilters use a 45mm rotary cutting blade but I find a 28mm is so much easier to handle and cuts just as well.

Ok, one of the reasons working with triangles can be tricky is because you are working with a bias edge. As you probably already know the bias is the stretchiest part of the fabric and distorts easily. Most of the time distortion comes during the pressing process. So, it is best not to over do it! Turn the fabric to the darkest side and with up and down motion only set the seam on the wrong side. Now open it up and press from the front.

Looks like this...

Now, the final step is to trim down the square to exactly 4.5" Use the ruler for this and make sure the diagonal on the ruler is exactly over the diagonal of your fabric. You also need to make sure that the 4.5" mark has room on both sides. You will be able to tell if you sewed your lines straight if your diagonals overlap exactly!

This picture shows that the one side has already been cut. Flip it around and do the other side.

Here are the two half square triangle units showing about how much you will actually trim off. Each square is exactly the same size so sewing together is much easier. I also recommend using pins while sewing units together until you get really good at matching units up! ESPECIALLY for the longer lengths together. I used to hate pinning, but if you just give in to it and realize it is all part of the process for perfectly matching points--you will get used to it and not mind it so much either! LOL.

Hope this was helpful. :)


Corrie said...

cool thanks for that! I have a lot of charm squares floating around and wanted something to progress on from just a plain charm squares all sewn together quilt!

perfect! thanks for sharing!

Joanna Myers said...

Aw, thanks, Jen! I will go and pick up an omnigrid. Hoping to have more space for crafting in the new house, and therefore more patience!

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