The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilting Basics 3: How to Piece Half Square Triangles

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Quilting Basics 3: How to Piece Half Square Triangles

This week is all about Quilting Basics and starting the year with a solid foundation as we begin a new Machine Quilting Block Party. Earlier this week we learned how to prepare our fabric properly and cut the pieces accurately.

Yesterday I shared a video of piecing tips to help you match seams just right and today let's learn how to piece half square triangles in this new Quilting Basics tutorial:

Half Square Triangles are going to be a big part of this year's Machine Quilting Block Party. Click Here to find the pattern for Block #1 and get started making some half square triangles right now!

Today I decided to challenge myself to explain half square triangles in the simplest way possible with an info graphic. An info graphic is an image that contains all the steps to a process in one place.

Obviously you have to keep the pictures and steps simple because there isn't a lot of space. This is part of my goal to simplify this year. How do I streamline a process and take out all the clutter and fluff to leave just what you need to know?

It's not easy for me to condense information because I want to share ALL of it with you at once. That's a bit overwhelming and sometimes not helpful. Sometimes it's nice just to see the steps in the simplest format and go from there.

I think I need a bit of work on the lettering sizes because I had to super size the image to be huge in order for you to be able to read the text. So if this blog post looks a bit weird - that's why!

I had a lot of fun creating this little image and I'd love for you to share it on Pinterest if you like it too.

Now back to creating half square triangles - I prefer this method because you never have to fuss with cutting and piecing actual triangle shapes. That's really nice because it seems like every time I cut a triangle it ends up going wonky.

So this method just uses squares and you stitch to both sides of the center, then cut them apart and viola! you have two half square triangles. It's like magic!

I know this isn't the only method to make half square triangles though. Do you have another method you like better? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Hi Leah Day,
    Thanks for all the quilting tutorials. I have learned a lot. After putting sewing on the shelf for a couple of decades due to a non-functioning sewing machine, I got a machine for Christmas. So far I have mostly made table runners. They are great learning projects and the little tips and the little details are what have improved my skills so much.

    Could you comment on a couple of things:

    When pressing the seams, I have been in the habit of first pressing the seam unopened to set the stitches, then open up the seams, finger-press and finish up with the iron. Is there value in "setting" the stitches first? Does it help or harm?

    An older and much more experienced quilter told me she starches the squares when making half square triangles. What is your take on this suggestion?

    Thank you,


    1. Great questions Brit! Personally I don't press to set a seam because 1) it doesn't seem to help get the seam open to me and 2) it heats up the fabric so I singe my fingertips as I try to open it! So I just don't do that step because it doesn't work for me.

      On Half square triangles, I starch and press all my fabric before cutting so it's already stiff and stable for piecing before it's cut. After it's cut, I don't typically starch again unless the fabric goes really loosey goosey. Does that make sense?

    2. Thanks, and yes, your explanation makes sense.


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