Saturday, February 18, 2012

Easy HST Tutorial and February BOMs

For February, both of the Craftsy BOMs are focused on working with HSTs (Half-square triangles). In the monthly lesson, Amy introduced two methods for creating these, the traditional hand-drawn method and the "magic" HST method (here is a video linking to both methods as shown by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company).  Both have their perks and drawbacks. The traditional method is time-consuming but reliable and the magic method is quick but ends up leaving your bias edges around the outside of your squares. 

I ended up not using either and instead using a method that I worked out back in December, when I made this mini quilt for my mother-in-law. After playing with some fabric and doing a little math, I came up with a way to make a bunch of HSTs in one pass with minimal work. I am sure I am not the first to "discover" this, but I thought I would share a quick tutorial in case anyone wanted to see another take on making HSTs. The only tricky part of this method is that you need to do a little math in order to be able to figure out how big to cut your starting squares, but I assure you, if I can do it, so can you! 

HST tutorial 

For my HSTs, I needed to end up with unfinished 3 1/2" squares (3" once sewn into the final block). I started by taking that number (3 1/2") and adding 1/2" to figure in the seam allowance*. I then took this number (4") and doubled it (8") to figure out the side dimension of the fabric squares I would cut. Pretty simple, huh.

EDIT: Here is the actual equation to plug your numbers into:

A = your desired HST size (unfinished)
B = the side dimensions (in inches) of the square you will cut from your two fabrics (i.e. 8" x 8")

(A + 1/2") x 2 = B

Now that the math portion is done, here are the step-by-step directions for the rest:

1. I cut two 8" x 8" squares (based on my calculation) of fabric and layered them right sides together.
2. I placed a couple pins to prevent shifting and drew two lines diagonally, from corner to corner
3. I sewed on both sides (up and down) of these two lines
4. I then cut the sewn square in half length-wise
5. And then in half width-wise
6. Finally I cut the marked diagonals to create 8 HSTs ready to be pressed and trimmed to size

*Mathematically, you really only need to add 3/8" to your desired size for seam allowance, but I find that it is usually better to give myself some room to trim at the end rather than ending up too short.

HSTs for Craftsy BOM 

Here are my trimmed and pressed 3 1/2" HSTs ready to be sewn. 

Craftsy BOM: February Chunky Chevron
Chunky Chevron Block in Summersault, Prince Charming, and Kona Cerise
I used this method almost exclusively to make the HSTs in both of these blocks. The only ones that I used the traditional method on were the lighter triangles in the Chunky Chevron block, simply because I didn't need 8 of them, I only need 4. 

Craftsy BOM: February Balkan Puzzle
Balkan Puzzle Block in Summersault, Lotus (by Amy Butler), and Kona Cerise
I hope that you find this tutorial to be helpful! If you have any question or any other HST tips, feel free to leave me a comment. I'd love to hear what you think!

Linked up with:

      Sew Happy Geek


  1. Great tutorial, Jenelle! And I really love the blocks you made with them!

  2. I love the demo you did. I also am doing the BOM with Crafty and did both methods, now I have another to try. Great work. I am trying to get my Quilt Bee to join in the Crafty BOM and I will let them know about your demo on HST.

  3. Jenelle, this is AWESOME! I will definitely use this - 8 at once, that's amazing. Thanks.

  4. I love your method! I have never used the magic method because of the bias deal. Forget it. I will definitely be trying your way!

  5. I find it interesting seeing all the different methods, although I have no allergy to bias (as I starch to hell ;o) ) so the magic method doesn't bother me :o)

  6. Great tutorial. It took me a minute to figure this out and you have done it so well!

  7. Thank you for sharing this..I will have to try it out. :)

  8. Thanks for the great tip! I will certainly use this method!

  9. This is a great tutorial! I love HSTs, and will surely try your way next time. Thanks.

  10. Oh this is FANTASTIC. I really like HST but am put off by not being accurate enough. Thank you for this tutorial. Di

  11. Love this! I so glad I happened upon this post since HSTs are on my want to try in March list.

  12. Fabulous tutorial! 8 at once- WOW! So cool! Your blocks look fantastic too. So happy to have discovered your lovely blog!

  13. thanks for the tutorial. It's always nice to be reminded of short cuts that work.

  14. This is perfect! Thanks sooo much. I can't wait to give this a try.

  15. Very nice!! Linked up from Plum and June.

  16. Just hopped over from Plum & June - this is a great tutorial Jenelle! It is amazing how many different patterns you can get out of HSTs. Love the bright colours x

  17. Great tutorial. I love your blocks :)

  18. I am going to have to try this since me and triangles dont get along

  19. Great tutorial, I love the colors you chose for your blocks. So lovely.

  20. I love this technique! I have seen it in several places and don't know where it originated, but I tried it because of your tutorial.Thank you!

    Have you tried the BlocLoc ruler for trimming HSTs? I bought one months ago and just used it the other day, when I made my first ever HSTs using your tute. That thing is brilliant!

    1. Absolutely! I'm glad you liked the tutorial. :) I haven't tried that particular ruler yet, but I'll have to check it out. Thanks! :)


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