Everyone had seen me making triangles as of late. I’m been busy working on my Holy Toledo quilt and it is LOADED with half-square triangles.
If you are new to quilting, a half-square triangle is what you see in this quilt. The square is made up of two triangles, typically one light and one dark, and when that happens in the quilting world, that unit is known as a half-square triangle.
Many new quilters don’t like them. They are sewn on the diagonal, they are easy to get wrong especially for beginners. There are many methods of making them. The trick is to find the method that works best for you…and over the years, this is the method I have had much success with.
Recently Donna sent me a note and asked me what method I use. I promised her that I would write about it…and today I am. I also made a video that shows you how I did it.
I need triangles that finish at 2″ in the quilt so as a rule of thumb, I cut strips that are 1/2″ LARGER than the size of the FINISHED piece in the quilt. I layer the pieces together with a dark light, dark light. I am cutting two sets at once. I do this a lot and typically on a normal day, I might cut as many as 8 layers at once. This day I was only cutting four. In the video, I give you a good description of exactly how to cut.
From there I take my pieces…To the machine. I use a Seams so Easy Guide by Lori Holt. Find them HERE on Amazon. My glue dots have released over time and don’t stick so I use washi tape to stick it down.
I feed my piece in as shown making sure to line that outer edge up with the 1/4″ line on the guide.
These are all chain pieced into the machine making sure to follow that line on the guide.
From there off to the ironing board. I chain iron much like I chain piece. Please note that in the video. I believe it saves me a lot of time.
So…it’s time for the test. How did I do? Perfect… Nope. Just slightly off. Look closely at the 2 1/2″ line at the bottom of the picture. I’m slightly off.
Now this is what I am going to tell you. In the quilting world, this is TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE. You do not ever need to be more accurate than this. If you beat yourself up over that tiny sliver that the square is over, I think you will find quilting hard and not super enjoyable.
There are so many places you can error:
Do your best at each of these steps and your triangles will be good enough for your quilt.
Look at the very first picture I showed you of my quilt….here it is again.
I promise you that at least half of the triangles in this quilt have that much of an error to them. Most of that error is hidden in the seam allowance. Do you see it? Does it make a difference to the quilt? Both of the answers are no.
So, what difference does it make….ZERO. Yes, it’s important to try your best. Yes, it’s important to strive for improvement. Beating yourself up over this? NO! Enjoy quilting.
I have said this a million times. You can go to and listen to any professional quilter. You can take their classes, you can attend their retreats. You can buy every single piece of fancy equipment to strive to make the perfect half-square triangles. The truth is, no matter what you do, every single one will never be exactly perfect. Most of them, yes. All of them never.
I would much rather tell you a method to get good and gets mostly accurate results then teach you to fudge the rest because, in reality, every piece you sew will not be perfect so it’s really fudging that is the most important lesson…not perfection.
So…I’m off my soap box. I think it’s just so sad when people say, “Oh, I won’t make that quilt. There are triangles in it.” Come on…give it a try. The world of quilting can open up to you if you master a method of half-square triangles that is good for you and let yourself be human and make tiny imperfections. You saw mine aren’t perfect. It’s okay if yours aren’t either. Try your best and move on. You can fudge it in the seam. I promise.
So watch the video…I think I do a better job of explaining it all there.
Forgive my fumble with the camera near the end. Kalissa was supposed to cut that, but I forgot to tell her to before it was published, now it’s too late and you already witnessed, I’m not perfect!!
Head on out and tackle half-square triangles. You can do it!!