Easy Quilt Blocks using Half Square Triangles
Want to learn to create beautiful and easy quilt blocks that look complicated and fancy – but are not? Half square triangles are a great place to start! By using just one simple quilt block technique, you can create beautiful quilts. These simple quilt blocks will then grow into a stunning quilt. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions.
How to Make a Half Square Triangle Quilt Block
There are several ways to make a half square triangle (HST). Our instructions are for the most common way to create this block. Begin with two 4” x 4” fabric squares. The finished size of the half square triangles will be 3” x 3”.
When referring to a “finished size” in quilting, this means after sewing. So, these half square triangles will be 3½” x 3½” at the completion of this stage, but when added to your quilting project, they will be a “finished size” of 3” x 3”. It is important to understand this difference. We will be using the Creative Grids 4-in-1 Half Square Triangle Ruler in the process of making a HST and the measurements on the ruler are shown in “finished size”.
If you are using fabric with a printed design on it, you will need to take notice of both the right and wrong side of the fabric. The diagram below shows how the fabric sides will be shown in the creation of the HST block.
Place the marked fabric square on top of the unmarked fabric square with the WRONG sides facing outward. Make sure to evenly align all four sides with each other.
Sew with a scant 1/4” seam allowance on both sides of the drawn center line using it as a guide. A scant seam means you sew slightly less than a full 1/4” seam allowance.
With your rotary cutter and ruler, cut the sewn square fabric in half along the hand-drawn line.
With your Creative Grids 4-in-1 Half Square Triangle Ruler, place the bottom edge seam line along the 3” line. Make sure the point of the ruler is inset from both edges of the fabric.
Press seam towards the darker fabric. You will now have two half square triangles. The current size of these blocks is 3 1/2” x 3 1/2”. The finished size of these blocks when sewn into a larger quilt block will be 3” x 3”.
Nesting Fabric Seams
The following beginner quilt blocks using half square triangles will the “nesting seams” method when sewing the rows of fabric together. This technique allows you to create perfect corners in a very quick and easy way.
You will alternate row, by row which direction you press your seams towards. In row 1, the diagram below has you press the seams to the right. In row 2, press your seams to the left. Alternate from row to row the direction of pressing the seams. When you are ready to sew the rows together, each block will nest right into each other. Pin to hold the nested seams in place. Sew using a ¼” seam allowance.
4 Simple Quilt Blocks using Half Square Triangles
Now that you know how to create Half Square Triangles with the Creative Grid 4-in-1 Half Square Triangle Ruler and nest seams, let’s make some quilt blocks. Even though these blocks look tricky to make, they are both easy and beginner friendly. I won’t tell if you don’t!
The Friendship Star is the perfect quilt block to begin with. The Friendship Star features nine blocks sewn together in three rows across and three columns down - a Nine-Patch block. Historically, pioneer quilters would make quilts not just out of necessity, but to also to celebrate a marriage, comfort someone who is ill, or give as a remembrance gift to a loved one moving away. Quilters continue this tradition to this day.
What is extra special about this quilt block is that the center is left simple so that the pioneer quilter could hand embroider a message to the person they were gifting the quilt to. Use the link below to access a PDF tutorial for this quilt block.
PDF Download: Friendship Star Tutorial
Road to Oklahoma
The Road to Oklahoma quilt block is found in quilting dating back to the mid to late 1800’s. This block pattern shows the travel to the west as pioneers journeyed to begin a new life on the plains. This block is a Double 4-Patch block – 16 blocks total. Use the link below to access a PDF tutorial for this quilt block.
PDF Download: Road to Oklahoma Tutorial
The Clay’s Choice quilt block originally honored Henry Clay (1777-1852). He was a politician in the early 1800’s in the United States and served as Secretary of State, Senator, and Speaker of the House of Representatives in his long career.
This quilt block, like the Road to Oklahoma quilt block is a Double 4-Patch block. This quilt block utilizes 8 half square triangle blocks. It is a little more complicated than the previous two quilt blocks, but the same sewing techniques are used to create this traditional block. Use the link below to access a PDF tutorial for this quilt block.
PDF Download: Clay's Choice Tutorial
The Flying X quilt block is almost identical to the Clay’s Choice quilt block. By flipping four of the half square triangle’s direction, you will get a much different look and feel. Playing with fabric color also separates the two blocks. Use the link below to access a PDF tutorial for this quilt block.
PDF Download: Flying X Tutorial
Simple Half Square Triangle Quilts
With these four easy quilt blocks, you can create beautiful quilts. For our HST quilt block tutorials, we used just six fabrics from the Between collection by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. The first quilt uses the Road to Oklahoma, Clay’s Choice, and Flying X quilt blocks.
This quilt was created using all four of the quilt block tutorials. By changing fabric colors or relocating block placement, it is easy to imagine how a quilt can evolve and grow.
We hope you have enjoyed this Easy Quilt Blocks using Half Square Triangles blog post. Would you like to learn more quilt block techniques? Let us know! If you make any of these blocks, share them with us. We love to see your work! Happy Sewing!!