Half square triangles are so important in quilting and a favorite among many quilters. Learn from GO! Getter Emily of Handmade Emily Jane how to make perfect half square triangles (HSTs) every time with the AccuQuilt fabric cutting system. Hint: This is perfect for those of you who just want to chain stitch the day away!
Hi, I’m Emily and I've been using my AccuQuilt fabric cutter for nearly a year now. My current my favorite thing about using AccuQuilt is how EASY it makes half square triangles.
Whether you prefer to use the acronym “HST” or spell out half square triangle, one thing is for sure: it is one of the most versatile and iconic quilt blocks out there. I love how you can find HSTs in both traditional and modern quilt designs.
Today I am going to share with you why I love using my AccuQuilt to make my HSTs, and how I make them without even squaring them up or trimming at the end! I’m sure you have heard by now that there are lots of methods used to make a good half square triangle but using my AccuQuilt has cut the time involved drastically and I am so thrilled with the results!
My Half Square Triangle (HST) Quilt
The quilt pattern shown here is Aglow by Modernly Morgan. Aglow is a beautiful, wonderful pattern and is Fat Quarter friendly or even scrap friendly! I chose to do mine with yardage and did it using my AccuQuilt GO! Qube 8" Block to cut out all the half square triangles (HSTs).
What AccuQuilt Dies Should I Use?
Half square triangle dies are in no shortage in the AccuQuilt online shop. I personally used the dies that came with my GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block, but it would have been an even quicker process if I used this one to cut 12 at a time.
Try checking out these different dies the next time you want to make a quilt with half square triangles:
- GO! Half Square Triangle-2½" Finished Square Die
- GO! Half Square Triangle-3" Finished Square Die
- GO! Half Square Triangle-4" Finished Square
- GO! Half Square Triangle-4½" Finished Square Die
- GO! Half Square Triangle-6" Finished Square die
- GO! Half Square Triangle-8" Finished Square Die
Important Steps for using AccuQuilt HSTs
The pointers shown below can be placed into three steps:
1. Cut out the fabrics,
2. Sew together the fabric pieces,
and 3. Press the Half Square Triangles for a complete quilt block.
Tips for Cutting out HSTs with your AccuQuilt
Before beginning to cut any fabric, I like to spray them with Best Press and iron it flat. This extra step makes the fabric nice and crisp and aids later when sewing on the bias to keep the fabric from stretching.
When cutting, make sure your fabric is on grain with the edges of the blades of the shape itself, which means it will be slightly slanted from the edge of the die itself. As the fabric is fed through the machine, you should see that the die goes in directly straight, but the fabric is slightly diagonal.
Tips for Sewing Together your HSTs
While AccuQuilt takes away any cutting errors that may happen when making HSTs, it does not alleviate your potential sewing errors. If you're like me and don't plan on squaring them up later on down the road, it is imperative to take your time to sew with accuracy.
When piecing together any fabric, I always choose to use a "Leader", especially with half square triangles. Your “leader” is just any scrap of fabric that you sew with your machine immediately before sewing your triangles together. Do not snip your thread until the pieces are sewn. You'll end up with a long chain of HSTs. Using a leader before sewing your HSTs helps keep the machine from eating your tiny corner and increases accuracy dramatically.
If your machine has a straight stitch plate, you should definitely use it! Using your straight stitch plate can help prevent your sewing machine from “eating” the tips of your triangle fabric as it gets sewn. The smaller hole on the straight stitch hole makes it a little harder for the tips of your fabric to get pulled down into it.
What do you do if your machine does eat your fabric? Don’t panic! Stop sewing as soon as you notice a problem and gently take those stitches out, careful to keep the fabric from stretching as much as possible. Then, flip the fabric pieces over and start again from the other end (after using a leader first).
Want to make sure your seams are the right size? I highly recommend using a ¼" foot with a guide. If your sewing machine did not come with a guide, see if your local dealer has one or if you can find a universal one to fit your machine like this one.
Tips for Pressing Your HSTs
Before you begin opening your sewn together half square triangles, you will want to “set your seam”. Setting your seam is when you use your iron to press the seam flat before opening up the triangles. Next, gently open the triangles and press the seam to the dark side with your fingers, careful not to stretch the fabric. Press with a hot iron to make it crisp.
Once your half square triangles are pressed flat they should be pretty darn close to perfect. You have the option now to trim them to get them exact, or if you hate trimming, you can be like me and forgo that step altogether! I find that if you invest more time ensuring accurate piecing while sewing you can save a lot of time by not needing to trim, but of course it's a personal decision and you can do whatever feels the best for you.
Thanks for reading this article about making perfect half square triangles with the AccuQuilt! Please share your half square triangle projects with us on Instagram with @homemadeemilyjane and @AccuQuilt so we can see it. And feel free to reach out if you have any HST questions!