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Stitch Sampler Block #15: Easier

When I did a giveaway a couple weeks ago I asked you all to tell me what is your favorite shape to piece. The overwhelming choice was half square triangles! I am actually kind of surprised by this (-:

So I figured you’d all like block 15 for our Stitch Sampler this month: it’s made up of 49 HST’s and quite striking. It takes a bit of time to sew, but it’s soooo worth it in the end.

BUT. I did the sewing for this block different from the pattern, I wanted to share my method and measurements with you in case you want to do yours this way too. First, I made the HST’s a different size to eliminate the narrow strip borders on the block and I’ll show you how to sew the triangles a different way that you might like (rather than cutting and sewing on the bias edges). Also, a bit more clarity on the colors and how many to cut of each one. Maybe I’m dense, but I had to think hard about how many to cut for each color just figuring it out from the picture.

Here we go!

how to sew half square triangles for quilt block

First, download the free pattern <<here>>


You need five color fabrics. I used pink, blue, yellow, green, purple, so I’ll refer to those in these instructions to keep it clear. You replace your chosen colors for the same positions. You also need a neutral fabric (I used a white/gray print).

From the white fabric: cut (25) squares 2 3/4″

pink and green fabrics, cut (5) squares 2 3/4″

blue and purple fabrics, cut (6) squares 2 3/4″

yellow fabric, cut (3) squares 2 3/4″

Match each white square, right sides facing, with a color square. Use a pen or pencil to mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of the white squares (keep them mated up with the colored squares) as shown in photo above.

how to sew half square triangles for quilt block

Use a quarter inch foot on your sewing machine to sew 1/4″ on either side of the marked line on all the squares. It’s quickest to do this in a long string, sewing all one side, then the other, then cutting the threads in between.

how to sew half square triangles for quilt block

Once you’ve sewn the seam on both sides of the line on all the squares, cut on the line to separate the two halves.

Open the triangle squares and press toward the color fabric. Be careful to distort the units when pressing.

If needed, trim and square each HST unit to 2 1/4″. Even if they don’t need trimming, it’s a good idea to cut off those little points that stick out at the corners. Removing those will reduce bulk at your corners when you sew them all together.

how to sew half square triangles for quilt block

Arrange the HST squares in rows of seven units. Orient them so that the colored triangles are all to the lower right and the white triangles are all to the upper left.  Refer to photo below to arrange the colors in their correct positions.

how to sew half square triangles for quilt block


Sew the half square triangle units together first in rows. Use a true 1/4″ seam, not scant. Press odd number rows to the right and even number rows to the left. Sew the rows together to complete the full block. It should measure 12 1/2″ square.

I am imagining so many possibilities for this block! do you see them?

I’d like to make a whole set of blocks like this, each one with all the same white fabric, and the same color triangles in each block, but each block a different color. Wouldn’t that be a great way to create a rainbow? or use a whole bunch of scraps (divide scraps by color and make a block from each color group).

What if you make them the same way as we did here, with the rows of colors, and then when you sew a bunch of them together you’d create a pattern like a trip around the world quilt, but with triangles! I would love that so much.

How about making a bunch of blocks with the same color fabric (choose your favorite color and use ALL the scraps!), but make half the blocks with black for the neutral and half with white and then sew them together alternating the black and white. Can you imagine that? so fun and unique!

Anyway, my mind could go crazy! it’s so much fun to imagine all the possibilities for a simple shape. Isn’t that why we keep making quilts?

Be well my friends, and happy sewing!
Color Girl Quilts Sharon McConnell




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3 thoughts on “Stitch Sampler Block #15: Easier

  1. Sharon Naylor says:

    Love your tutorials! Be sure to check this sentence. “Be careful to distort the units when pressing.” I think you meant “Be careful to NOT distort the units when pressing.”

  2. Meg says:

    I have a question. I have a few of your free block patterns (thank you!) and you have us cut triangles and sew them together to make the half square triangle. I have only done the method above before. Is there a way I can convert your instructions so I can just cut squares and sew them together instead?

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