Friday, September 8, 2017

A Quick and Easy Way to HST's

Looking through this year's quilt gallery, I've certainly made lots of HST (half square triangle) projects this year.

So how about a tutorial on making multiple HST's from yardage? We're talking 8 HST's from just two squares of fabric - say what??? Yep, that's right  - two squares=eight HST's. What an incredible time saver! And we all want to save time so that we can make more quilts, right?

So let's go over the following handy-dandy reference chart for making any size HST for your project.

HST Size Chart

HST size and cutting chart

The first column, "Finished HST size needed" is the HST size after it's sewn into a quilt top. 

The second column, "Unfinished HST size After Trimming" is the HST block size before it's sewn into a quilt top. 

The last column, "Size of 2 Squares to Cut" is the size of the starting two squares needed to make 8 HST's for the required finished size. 
Please note: This is an over-sized square which allows for seam width errors. The resulting HST's will require trimming to the proper size, as given in the second column.

My quilts for the Making Connections Free Motion Quilting Workbook use 5" finished HST's. Following the 5" row on the chart, I'll make 5 1/2" unfinished HST's, like these below,

half square triangles

starting with 2 pieces of fabric, each 12" square. 

two squares to make eight half square triangles

Now the fun begins!

Mark guidelines for stitching
On one square, place a ruler corner to corner, and with a pencil, mark a diagonal line.

mark first diagonal line

Rotate the ruler, and mark the other diagonal.

mark second diagonal line

Pin the squares together.

pin squares together

Stitch a scant 1/4" seam on each side of the line.

scant quarter inch seam

This part goes really fast - nothing like zipping through straight line stitching!! Zoom zoom!

hst stitching

Make the first cut
Place the ruler vertically, with the edge in the middle of the block, and lined up with the outer edge. Make the cut.

hst cut 1

Make the second cut
Lay the ruler horizontally, again with the edge in the middle, and lined up with the outer block edge. Make the cut.

hst cut 2

Make the third cut
Place the ruler edge along one drawn diagonal line, then cut between the stitching.

hst cut 3

Make the fourth cut
Rotate the ruler to the other drawn diagonal line, and make the cut in between the stitching.

hst cut 4

Open the HST's and press 

eight hst blocks

Trim the HST's to the correct size
Be sure to line up the diagonal lines of the block and the ruler. Below, you can see the block is a bit larger than 5 1/2", and will trim to be perfect!

hst trimming

And there you have it! Multiple HST's, easily made, and trimmed to an accurate size - the perfect ingredients for a well constructed quilt!

Happy Quilting!


  1. this method I fond great but find I have lots of spare HSTs left over so one day will have a great scrappy HST quilt

  2. Thanks for the tutorial and the chart! Enjoy your vacation.

  3. Thanks for the chart! Very helpful.


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