Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Using a half square triangle ruler

After attending a quilter’s weekend event at Berry Patch Fabrics I realized how much I truly had to learn about quilting and went back to the basics. So I started last week with a simple 4 patch quilt, it’s amazing how a new machine and taking my time helped make my corners much better. Then I moved onto a 9 patch design (Tossed Nine Patch by Eleanor Burns), again doing much better.

4 patch quilt
Then the Patchwork Squared Quilt-a-long started and I was brave enough to foray into half square triangles, which luckily is what I learned at the quilt weekend. I had made squares like this before using the ‘draw a line on the back of 1 square’ method. At the class I learned how much easier these are to make using a ruler. And my finished block came out better than ever before. For those of you that haven’t tried this method here’s a tutorial.

I find the nifty notions ruler the best.

1. Cut 2 strips of fabric, right sides together, 1/2” bigger than what you want the finished square size to be. I needed 3 1/2” squares so I cut my strip 4”. It is important to place them right sides together for this method to work. You will be cutting both strips at the same time so it's important that the strips be even.

2. Trim the edges of the strips to even them up and remove any selvage. Then place the ruler on the fabric, face up (so you can read the writing) with the 4” mark lined up at the top of your strip and the left edge of the strip. Cut along the diagonal line.

3. Holding the pointed edge of the ruler, flip it over so that the diagonal edge lines up with the cut edge and the top edge lines up with the 4” mark. You will have a ¼” point hanging over the bottom, this is normal. Cut along the straight edge of the ruler.

4.  Now you will both parts of the square cut together perfect. Sew along the diagonal edge using a ¼” seam. Press and trim to 3 1/2". There you go 2 perfect easy squares.


  1. This is a very clear tutorial, thanks! I am just starting out, for the most part, and learned to do HSTs by making a square 7/8" larger than your intended finished size unit, then cutting in half and sewing. It looks like grabbing one of these rulers would make it a whole lot easier!

  2. I just taught a class of beginners how to make HSTs using 4 different methods. None of the methods involved a specialty ruler and now I can see where it would have taken some of the scariness out of the whole process.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and technique!!


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