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.


A quick note about Squares

The first in the Come Quilt With Me tutorials… Squares!

If you are new to sewing or patchwork, squares tend to be the easiest thing to start with. A nice simple shape to help you get to grips with seam allowances and matching points.

The tricky part is choosing which fabric???

Square Choice

Above is a pile of 2.5″ squares as it’s October I thought why not do a Halloween theme. You can either cut this out by hand with scissors (recommend drawing a cardboard template to help you first) or with a ruler and rotary cutter. With the latter i tend to cut strips in the desired width first then do bulk chopping of the length.


Then it’s laying them out in your desired pattern. Here I’m doing two panels of 4 x 4 squares. Once you are happy you can start.

RSTPlace the squares right sides together and line up the edges. I tend to use a scant 1/4″ seam when sewing as it helps to make a better fit. There’s no need to backstitch at the beginning or end if you are going to be using an iron to press the seams as the heat from the iron will help it “set” and stop any unraveling *One useful tip I didn’t know when I started playing with patchwork*


Once your rows are done press the seams. Usually you press the seam to either the left or the right side. To help with matching up the squares, alternate on each row which side you press. NB- when you are doing blocks and different designs you will usually press the seam to the dark side of the fabric so it will show less but doing it consistently here will help for better matching of your squares.

Nested 2 Nested Seams

As you’ve alternated the seams on your rows it should line up when you start to sew them. If you wiggle them into place so each seam lies side by side (as in the picture above) your points will match perfectly.  This is called a “nested seam”.  Pin or clip in place and match up the rest. If you are still worried they won’t align gently lift the open side up to see where your squares will fall.

Voila FinishedOnce you are done voila- perfectly matched points on your squares.

I hope that you have found this useful- if anything doesn’t make sense just shout either here or over on the Flickr group. For a quick project make that you can do with squares check back later in the week 🙂