Make the Fastest HSTs
Create Perfect Half Square Triangles Quickly
Are you tired of spending countless hours cutting, sewing, and trimming half square triangles (HSTs)? I’m going to show you how to make the fastest HSTs so you can make your beautiful HST quilts quicker!
You’ll be creating perfect half square triangles in a fraction of the time it used to take. This simple cutting and stitching process results in multiple half square triangles at once. So stop wasting time cutting individual squares. Start making your HSTs faster and with more accuracy. This effective grid method saves you time, effort, and provides accurate results.
Unbelievable Quilting Hack
24 HSTs at a time with Perfect Points
Traditional HST methods can be difficult and awkward, but there are much easier techniques. This HST grid method is much faster and you’ll even see improved accuracy in your blocks. What’s not to love about that?!
Ordinarily to make 24 HSTs with charm squares, you would select, mark, sew, and cut each pair individually. This method is so much easier which also makes it faster. Instead of using multiple charm squares, we’ll use fat quarters. Pairs of fat quarters are trimmed to size and marked for sewing. The beauty is that all twelve are sewn at the same time resulting in 24 HSTs. It’s an incredible time saver!
HST Grid Method Tutorial
Easy Half Square Triangles Fast!
This tutorial will demonstrate how to use a 5-inch grid in place of multiple charm squares. This allows for increased accuracy for all your finished HST blocks in much less time. Once you learn how to make the fastest HSTS with this method, it may be used for any size HST. Simply adjust the grid size for the HSTs you want. Generally, adding one inch to the desired HST finished size is the grid size square to begin with. Therefore, simply measure and mark your grid accordingly.
Select & Mark Your Fabrics
To begin, choose two coordinating fat quarters cut to 15-inches x 20-inches and place them RST. The marking is easiest when the lighter fabric is placed on top. Place the layered fabrics with the widest edges going from side to side.
Using a ruler to mark your sewing and cutting grid, begin by drawing a 5-inch grid that is two lines across and three vertical lines from top to bottom. You should have twelve 5-inch blocks drawn. These will be your cutting lines after the sewing is finished.
Draw the Diagonal Sewing Lines
Now draw the diagonal cutting lines which will also be used a your sewing guidelines.
You WILL NOT be drawing a line from corner to corner of the fabric. Instead, you will be drawing a line where the square corners cross each other.
First, start in one corner and draw a line through the corner of three blocks to the opposite side. Then skip a block across the top and draw another line through two blocks to the opposite side. Finally skip a block down along the side and draw a line through the single block as shown in the diagram.
Repeating the same line drawing process as above, draw the lines in the opposite direction. When finished, every 5-inch block should have a diagonal line through its center. Pin to hold both layers together.
Sew Your HST Grid
Now it’s time to sew. You WILL NOT sew along the straight cutting lines, only the diagonal lines.
Each seam allowance will be ¼-inch away from the diagonal lines. Sew all the seams in one direction first on both sides of the diagonal line. For the most accurate results, keep your seam allowance consistent on every seam.
Repeat sewing diagonally in the same manner in the opposite direction. Every 5-inch block should have a ¼-inch seam along each side of the diagonal cutting lines.
You have just sewn 24 HSTs! How quick and easy was that?!
While this may be the fastest HST method, you still need to press. Once your grid sewing is completed, press the entire piece from the back side. This will set the seams and keep the fabric smooth and exactly where it needs to be.
Cut Your HST Grid
With your 5” grid sewn and pressed, it’s time to cut each HST block apart. So, grab your ruler and rotary cutter. You will cut along every solid line. The order you cut is up to you, but I found it easiest to cut the unsewn vertical and horizontal lines first. If you’re careful moving your ruler, the blocks should all stay in place for cutting. Sometimes those single blocks on the corners move easily, so those may be easier to cut individually.
Place your ruler along one of the longest diagonal lines and cut. Do the same for the other two lines going in the same direction. Rotate your ruler and repeat in the opposite direction. Congratulations, you just made 24 individual half square triangles!
Pressing Half Square Triangles
Pressing your HSTs is an important step before trimming or sewing them together. Your seams will align better which makes your quilt top look nice and smooth.
Be sure to press and not iron, or glide across your blocks. You may find it easier to finger press the seam first. You can also use a stiletto or other pointed tool to help you press the seams open or to the side.
Decide which side you want to press your seams towards and press all your blocks the same way. Generally, you’ll want to go towards the darkest fabric depending on your color selections.
Hold your block and press the iron directly on it without any gliding motion. The seam is on a bias which means it will stretch. If you glide the iron from corner to corner, you may distort the block and it won’t fit well into your quilt. The only iron movement you should be making is straight in alignment with the sides of the block.
As a result of intersecting seams, some of the HSTs will have a couple of stitches in the tip of the HST. Gently remove them without pulling hard so as not to stretch your blocks.
Now that you have made all these beautiful HSTs, it’s time to trim them and assemble your quilt. Trimming HSTs goes quickly after making them with the grid method. Be sure to check out the previous link to see the full tutorial.