Half-Square Triangles Made Easy by Connie Kauffman

Have you ever been blown away at the intricacy and beauty of a quilt made with half-square triangles (HSTs)? Whether they are large or small triangles, few or many, they look amazing. Now, you can do this too! There are several quick and easy methods to creating half-square triangles, so do not hesitate to create your own triangle treasures.


If your pattern calls for a few blocks with HSTs, you might want to create them with this simple method:

1) Cut two squares 7/8″ larger than the final size of the block you want. For example, if you want you block’s final size to be 3″, then cut 2 squares 3-7/8″.

2) On the wrong side of the lighter fabric square, draw a line from corner to corner across the diagonal.

3) Pair the marked square right sides together with a darker square with the marked square on top.

4) Sew 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line. Be careful not to stretch the squares, since the stitching is done on the diagonal bias of the squares.

5) Cut the squares apart on the marked line.

6) Press the two units to the right side with seams toward darker fabric to complete two identical half-square triangles.

7) Clip off the dog-ear triangles.


If you would prefer not to mark the squares, a quilter has developed a tape that will help out immensely. Tiger Tape (www.tigertape.com) is a 1/2″-wide tape on a roll. Place the tape across the diagonal of the top square with the centerline aligned with the corners and then sew at the edge on each side of the tape. Then, remove the tape and cut between the stitched lines. The tape may be used several times before eventually losing its adhesiveness.



There are many products on the market that enable you to make quilts using accurate half-square triangles. Personally, I prefer the printed products. Below, I’ve listed five recommendations, all with similar sewing techniques, using a paper or fusible interfacing that have printed lines for easy sewing and cutting, with easy to follow instructions. Also, all of them place the lighter fabric against the paper or interfacing, so seams are pressed to the darker fabric when pressed. Just sew on the dotted lines and cut on the solid ones. If necessary, press and remove the papers. This method makes it extremely easy and very accurate.


Thangles papers come in narrow strip packages and are to be used with fabric strips that are 1/2″ wider than the finished-size block you want. The packages come in 15 different sizes to make triangles from 1/2″ – 6″. These paper-strip patterns can be less cumbersome to handle, and are great to use with leftover or precut fabric-strip rolls that are popular today. The papers are thin enough that you can use a regular stitch length to sew, and they are easy to tear off after use. (www.thangles.com)

Triangles on a Roll

Triangles on a Roll is a handy product with paper patterns in sizes 1″, 1-1/4″, 2″, 2-1/2″, 3″, 3-1/2″, 4″, 4-1/2″, 5″ and 6″. Each roll is for one size and will make hundreds of half-square triangles. You cut the number of squares you need from the roll as you need them. One roll will last a long time. These are especially good to use when you know you will be making one or two size units for many projects. The papers are thin and easy to remove. (www.trianglesonaroll.com)

Triangle Paper by Quiltime™

Triangle Paper patterns come on a fold-out sheet of thin, manila-colored, 11″ x 17″ paper that fits the size of half a fat quarter and are very easy to tear. The papers come in sizes starting at 3/4″ with 1/4″ increments to 2-1/2″ and with 1/2″ increments to 5″. There is also a variety package with three sheets of each size.

Little Triangle Papers come in 7″ x 7″ sheets — about 25 sheets per package. (www.quiltime.com)

Ta-Da Triangles™

Ta-Da Triangles are printed on a thin fusible interfacing. You press the interfacing directly to the fabric, which eliminates the need to tear off any paper product. The fusible is very soft and pliable and stays on the finished square. This also helps keep the square stabilized and reduces fraying of the center seams. This product is printed to fit a full fat quarter of fabric.

Ta-Da Triangles come in packages for sizes starting at 1/2″ with 1/4″ increments to 6″. There are also four different combo packages with several sizes in each. (www.TaDaTriangles.com)

Triangulations™ 3.0

This is a CD containing patterns to make half-square triangles starting at 1/2″ with 1/8″ increments all the way up to 7-1/2″. You can find just about any size you want on the CD, copy them onto your computer, and print as many patterns as you need. The CD is easy to use and the instructions are easy to follow. Another great advantage to this product is that it also includes patterns for quarter-square triangles, in multiple sizes, as well. (www.bearpawproductions.com)


Whatever method you choose to make your own half-square triangles, remember there’s no product that can substitute for quality fabric and accurate stitching. Once you have tried many methods, you will probably find your favorite that will give you perfect results every time. After that, you will be making quilts using half-square triangles more often in the future.

Several projects in this issue use half-square triangles. Even though they may recommend one method over another, substitute your method of choice; remember to cut the fabric pieces the sizes needed to result in the correct-size unit for success.

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