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How to Square Up A Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

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So, you have sewn a bunch of half square triangles…..and now’s the fun part.  Or not!  Squaring up.  This is a totally important and actually crucial part of quilting. If you end up not squaring up your quilt blocks, they will haunt you for ever more in the quilt!

square up your half square triangle quilt block | patchwork posse | easy sewing projects

The quilt blocks won’t line up.  They will get all distorted and by the time you sew them together and add a few borders you are done for.  Everything is off.  The seams won’t match, sometimes the top of the quilt is bigger or smaller then the bottom of the quilt.  It all goes crazy- crazy.

To avoid all the frustration and issues, it’s time to learn how to take the time to square up your quilt blocks.

The most offensive is the half square triangles.  They tend to never be right after you cut and sew.    I would recommend making your half square triangle a titch larger than you really need so you can trim it to the correct size.

You’ll be so much happier in the end!

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Square Up half square triangles- #1

Use the Bloc Loc ruler.  This ruler is super fancy.  It has a diagonal trench on the wrong side of the fabric.  The seam area of your half square triangle quilt block will nestle in the trench.  *if it doesn’t, adjust where you are placing the ruler until it does.

Move the ruler to the correct size of block– the one I was going for was 3 1/2″ X 3 1/2″   Remember that at each corner, there should be your center seam.  They should be at a point.  If they aren’t you will need to adjust where you are lining the ruler.

square up your half square triangle quilt block | patchwork posse | easy sewing projects

Square Up half square triangles- #2

Use a regular ruler.  Method one– the quilt block is closed.

Watch this…..you can cut your half square triangle BEFORE you iron it open.  How awesome is that!

1)  Take your dry erase marker and connect the same measurement on one side and on the other side of the ruler.    Draw this line with a dry erase marker….you will use this drawn line as a guide in the next step.  If you accidentally mark an incorrect line wipe off and start again.

* the measurement you are using to draw the line on is what you want the half square triangle unfinished size is.   So, for instance if the quilt pattern called for 2 1/2″ half square triangles, you would mark a line from 2 1/2″ to 2 1/2″.

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3)  Line up your CLOSED half square triangle with the drawn line and trim the sides.  The drawn line should be on top of your seam for the block!  You can’t see my drawn line below, but I highlighted it with the white dotted line.  See how it lines up with the seam of the block.

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Method 2:  still using a traditional ruler–

1)  Open the half square triangle and iron

2)  Line up your traditional ruler similar to the bloc loc, the diagonal seam is lined up with the corner of the quilt block.

3)  Trim the sides

These techniques work great when you have a bunch of half square triangles to sew and cut.

It’s one of the worst things about quilting for me…. I am not one to have patience with this step, but have had HORRIBLE luck when I skip it.

I would suggest you take the time to do it.  You’re life will be so much better!

Do you have a trick when it comes to squaring up your half square triangles?

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6 Comments

  1. Carol Stearns August 20, 2014
  2. Becky August 20, 2014
  3. Allie August 21, 2014
  4. Susan September 27, 2014
  5. Jean February 16, 2018
  6. Glenda Constable October 30, 2018

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