Tutorial: Versatile HSTs

HSTs or Half Square Triangles are one of my favourite ever patchwork tools. They are so versatile and so many designs can be made with them. Endless possibilties 🙂

Again the hardest part is choosing the fabrics!

Fabric Choices

There are many ways of creating HSTs. I’m not advocating that the following is the best way it is what I prefer and what works best for me. To look at other ways I’ll pop some links later in the week over the Flickr group.


To start first work out the size of your finished square when sewn together. Add on an inch to cover seam allowances and start cutting your squares. What I’m making here each square finished will be 1.5″ so I’ve cut a load of 2.5″ squares.

But if you want your finished squares to be 5″ start with 6″ squares.

StartOn the wrong size of a square use a ruler and pen (quilters pencil, air erasable pen or just a Frixion pen) to mark a diagonal in the square. This will serve as a guide for sewing your seams.


Place two squares RST (right sides together) lining up the edges. You are going to use the line you have drawn as a guide and start sewing a seam to one side that is an scant 1/4″ from the line. Make sure you sew as straight as you can.

ChainstitchingIf you are doing more than a few! To speed up the process and save thread  you can do what is known as chain piecing. Basically once you have sewn the seam on your first square instead of cutting the thread, line up your second square and go! Between each square make sure your needle has finished its round though.

Either SideWhen you have done that simply turn your square round and sew a scant 1/4″ seam on the other side of the line.

Now I forgot to take photos of the next process…. Cut along your drawn line to have two pieces. Using your iron set your seams and then press open the triangles to get one square block!

TrimmingTrimming…. If you have a ruler with a 45 degree angle line align the line with the diagonal on your block and trim your HSTs. As I started with 2.5″ squares I want to trim these to 2″ exactly to ensure my sewn sections will be 1.5″.

Trimming 2Flip over and trim the other side.

Neat tidy squareAnd there you go one lovely looking trimmed square ready for use.

30s repros funDo you like my pile? I’ll share some tutorials over the next couple weeks on the sort of blocks you can make and how to turn a block into a cushion or a mini quilt.


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  1. I make mine the same but I really dislike the trimming step, which is why my HST quilt top has been a WIP for over a year!

    • Trimming is the worse but I tend to plug in music and what feels like hours later… sore back! But it does look really effective 🙂


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