Monday, January 28, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL: The Half Square Triangle (Block 2)

Welcome to block 2 of the Hand Pieced QAL!  We are so very happy to have you joining us!

The first four blocks in our quilt feature very basic blocks - ones we will use as building blocks for the other blocks in our quilt.  Last week we learned about the 4-patch.  Today is is all about the Half Square Triangle (HST)!  (Once you've read through the tutorial, stop over and visit Kristen to see her block!)

Pictured: Famore Snips (affiliate link)

The HST is often made two at a time when you construct with a sewing machine.

By hand, however, it is best to just make one at a time.  Although you will be sewing on the bias edge, the pieces are small enough that there isn't much risk to things stretching out of shape.  The formula for cutting HST is very simple - take the finished size of the HST and add 7/8".  For example, a 2'' finished square (like in today's block) starts with a 2 7/8'' square cut on the diagonal.

Your first stitching line should be drawn ¼ '' from the cut edge, starting and stopping ¼'' from the corner.  (See Marking Stitching Lines tutorial for more information.)

The Perfect Piecer is a great tool to mark the start and end points of your stitching line.  Place a pin on those end points to remind yourself not to stitch all the way to the edge.

Pictured: Perfect Piecer and Robot Mom Sews Thread Conditioner (affiliate links)

Once the HST is sewn together, carefully press and sliver trim as needed to correct size and remove the dog ears.

When you are ready to start assembling your block, again mark your stitching lines so they start 1/4'' from either edge and will line up with the stitches you did to create the shape.

Carefully assemble each row paying attention to the block diagram so your HST are oriented correctly!

To sew the rows together, draw your stitching line and nest together the seams, pinning before and after.  Remember to sew through the seam allowance, not over it.  See the Sewing Seam Allowance tutorial for more information.

Now let's make our block!

Block size: 6'’ finished (6 1/2’’ unfinished)

  • All seam allowances are ¼".  
  • Stitching lines are drawn on wrong side of fabric and always start and end ¼'' from the edge
  • RST=Right sides together

  • Print fabric: (3) 2 7/8 " squares, each sub-cut in half on the diagonal to yield (2) triangles
  • Background fabric: (3) 2 7/8 " squares, each sub-cut in half on the diagonal to yield (2) triangles
  • Background fabric: (3) 2 ½ ''  squares

Creating the HST block   
  1. On a background triangle, mark a ¼" from each side of the diagonal and draw your stitching line between these marks. (tutorial).
  2. Place one print triangle on top of one background triangle, RST. Pin at the beginning and end of the stitching lines. 
  3. Stitch along one side, starting ¼" from the edge and stopping ¼" from the end. Finger press open, pressing seam allowance to the print side.  Trim  HST (if necessary) to 2 ½''.  Repeat to make a total of six (6) HST.

Assemble the Block

  1. Following diagram, assemble block into rows after marking the stitching line on the wrong side of each block.  Your stitching will start ¼" from the edge and stopping ¼" from the end.  Fold the HST seam to the side so it is not caught in the stitching.  Each row will measure  2 x 6 ½ ''.
  2. Mark stitching lines on each row.  Place two rows together, RST, as shown in diagram. Pin at the each of the seam intersections, as well as the beginning and ending of the stitching line.
  3. Push your needle through the seam allowance to the other side and backstitch. (See tutorial)
  4. Repeat to add final row.
As needed, refer back to our tutorials (including video) on each of the hand piecing skills:
Fabric requirements are available as well as some suggestions of useful tools and notions and a coloring page.  (See overall QAL page for more information.)

Thanks to Fat Quarter Shop and Famore for sponsoring the block tutorials!

The link-up for the Half Square Triangle (HST) block - block 2 in our QAL - opens on Thursday, January 31!  Finished blocks can be shared in any weekly link-up, however, so don't worry if you get behind.

For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.  

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.

Have a wonderful day! Patty


  1. Another great block. I am really enjoying this.

  2. I saw this question in the Facebook group and thought I would ask again here... For those of us using template plastic rather than a quarter inch seam ruler what is the actual triangle size? Thank you?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. The HST finishes 2'' in the block. You should be able to cut a 2'' square in half for your template.

  3. Thanks, Patty! I'm looking forward to getting some triangles sewn up today!

  4. Love doing blocks by hand.
    Thank you.

  5. I will start this week and hope to catch up with everyone.

  6. Thanks for the great "tute" Patty. I feel a lot more confident going into this block than I did last week. ;)

  7. Your work is beautiful and I really like that red fabric!! Looks sparkly in the pics! Oh, and I love my Famore snips too!

  8. Triangles...oh my. Looking forward to giving it a try.

  9. Thanks for the great tutorial. And thanks to you and Kristin for all the hard work you both are putting into this for us!

  10. Great, easy to follow, and a pretty block.

  11. I just cut out my fabrics last evening and began stitching them together this afternoon. This is a great learning experience for me. The tutorials are great and very helpful, thank you.

  12. Dear Patty, dear Kristin, thanks a lot for this great challenge of doing hand piecing. I just finished the second block and I am suprised how accurat it turned out. I would like to see a picture of the backside of the HST block, because the seam allowances don't match in the right way. Greetings from Germany yours Andrea

  13. Dear Patty, dear Kristin, thank you for this great challenge of hand piecing. I just finished the second block and I am very suprised how accurat it turned out. I'd like to see an picture of the backside of the HST block, because my seam allowances don't match in the right direction. Thanks a lot, greeting from Germany, yours Andrea


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