Saturday, May 11, 2013

Setting in Triangles

Several people have asked how I set in the triangles on my hand applique quilt project 

from Block #30, Full Bloom from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

I thought this would be a great opportunity for the share and learn.

The block is about half done, as I need to add the pieces I made in my chain hand applique post. But the quilt has 12 other similar blocks that required construction, and those come first, before I forget how they were done!  Now, the original design has the big center leaves appliqued on, but I decided to piece them in, and made them triangles too.  So, here's a tutorial on setting in those triangles.

Two of my favorite quilting tools are freezer paper and glue, which are both used in this project.  The freezer paper holds all the stretchy edges nicely, eliminating pleats and puckers, and providing a straight edge to stitch against.  And a glue pen, such as Sewline or Fons&Porter, 
provides a nice thin line of glue right where I want it.  Sometimes I do use school glue sticks, but it's harder to get a fine line.  And I don't worry about the glue as I wash my quilts after they are done.

The first step to the set in triangles, is to trace or print the templates onto the dull side of freezer paper.
Iron the large piece to the wrong side of the block, aligning any placement markings.  Trim out the triangle, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance (SA), and make a clip to the center point.  Press the SA to the dull side of the freezer paper.
Iron the triangle piece to the right side of the set in fabric, leaving a 1/4" SA on at least the short legs.  Apply glue to this seam allowance.
Before the glue dries, apply the block piece, right side up, aligning the point and edges of the freezer paper with the folded SA on the block piece.  Press to dry the glue.
Now to the sewing machine!  Flip the piece over, and pull the seam allowance away from the freezer paper.  Line up the needle to the edge of the freezer paper, and stitch to the center point with the needle down for turning.

Leave the needle down, raise the presser foot, and lift up the freezer paper piece to rotate it from front to back.  Originally, a fold of this fabric was created at the front of the project, and now it needs to be created in the back in order to continue stitching.  See the following pictures:
 Lift up the freezer paper piece.
 Rotate just the freezer paper piece.
Form the fold at the back.
Now rotate the whole piece to continue stitching.

Remove the freezer paper, and press one side of the set in triangle with the seam towards the triangleAt the point, create a fold of the SA so that the point will lie flat.
Press the point and the other side, and the set in triangle is done!
I make my blocks a bit over-sized then trim to size, that's why the triangle sticks above the block.  For me, it eliminates the problem of too small a block, and makes everything a bit tidier. 

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and will give set in triangles a try!

Happy Quilting!


  1. Wow you sure make piecing look easy. I am definately going to have to give this a try!

  2. I'm so impressed that you've made a block from one of the magazines! I have all the issues and haven't made a single one! Thanks for tutorial!

  3. Wow. You made that look so easy.

  4. Thank you for linking to my party and sharing this tutorial. I love and use freezer paper and glue too.

  5. Great block! Thanks for sharing - I am sure I would need a lot of practice... but I will try! Enjoy the week!

  6. Thanks for sharing!Great tips, I hope to try it!


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