Monday, July 14, 2014

Big Batch HSTs

There are many ways to make half-square triangles (HSTs), and I've used most of them. How many you need for your particular project, and how scrappy your project is may determine what method you use. Two, four, and eight at a time seem to be popular quantities. {Click the numbers for tutorials for each.} Well, for my current project, I need over 100 of the same fabric pairing. So I wanted to make more at a time. 18 felt like a huge jump from eight, and it was really quite simple. Here's a tutorial that makes 18 - 2 1/2" HSTs. I'll have a few notes at the end if you want to make a different size.

Cut 2 - 9" squares, one of each of your fabrics. Layer the 2 fabrics, right-sides together. Using a fabric marker, mark a grid on the back side of 1 of the fabrics, marking at 3" intervals both horizontally and vertically.
Now mark diagonal lines as shown.
Take your fabric to your machine and sew a scant 1/4" on either side of each diagonal line.
(I stitched with contrasting thread so you could see the stitching easily.
Being very careful not to move the fabrics as you cut, use your ruler and rotary cutter to cut along all vertical, horizontal, and diagonally marked lines. And here's what you'll have!
One thing to notice with this method is that you've sewn over the tips of most of the HSTs. But it is such a short little seam once you have cut the HSTs apart, that one quick flick of your seam ripper, and that little seam is gone.
Now press your HSTs as desired and trim to size. Note that the dimensions I use leave you very little excess to trim away.
You can see the bits I trimmed away in the next photo.
SO, if you aren't comfortable with cutting it that close, I'd suggest starting with 9 3/4" squares of fabric, dividing it into a 3 1/4" grid for 2 1/2" finished HSTs.

IF you'd like to make a different size HST, the basic formula is:
finished size HST (2.5") X 3.6 = size of fabric squares (9")
Remember to round up if you like a little more leeway. And the size of your beginning fabric squares needs to be divisible by 3. Note that other sizes were not actually tested.

By cutting a 9" WOF of my 2 fabrics, and then cutting squares from there, I was able to get 4 sets - or 72 HSTs - in no time at all. And I don't see any reason you couldn't expand on this idea and make even more. Yay.

24 comments:

Sarah @ mila+cuatro said...

This is very helpful - thank you!

Lesley said...

Excellent tutorial. I have used this method in the past and it definitely sews up quickly!

CityHouseStudio said...

Fantastic! I've never seen this method -- love it!!!

tink's mom said...

Oh this looks like plan ole fun. Never saw this before but can't wait to try it out. Thanks, great tutorial.

Ellyn said...

brilliant. simply brilliant.

DonnaM said...

I may be using this technique soon. Thanks for the tutorial to remind me how to do it!

Susan said...

What a great technique! It took me a moment to focus on what you were teaching us because I was loving the subway map fabric. :) Over 100? Oh my goodness...

Leanne said...

You know that heart pattern by Vanessa at V and Co that uses her ombre fabric and a lot of hsts from the one fabric. This is brilliant and so much faster to make them, I might just have to get busy on that now.

Blue.Ridge.Girl {ShadowsoftheBlueRidge} said...

Now this is one great method! I've never seen this before. Thanks for sharing it :o) I do think I'll be giving it a try sooner rather than later.

Marci Girl said...

Very clever! I would have never thought about doing it this way!

seveneleven said...

Very, very interesting. Will give this a try for sure. Thanks.

elnorac said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful tutorial, Debbie!

Spontaneous Threads said...

great idea. I've seen HST paper that you can use to make 12 at most, but then you have to pull all the paper off….. your method is much more doable and tree friendly

Katy Cameron said...

Grand idea!

Anne said...

I like this method. Will need to remember it.

Rachel said...

Very cool!

Anita said...

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

aangto said...

Wow! Can't wait to see what you're making! What size bloc loc did you get? I was thinking about getting the 4.5 or 6.5 Do you like it better than a hst square up ruler?

Carla said...

Brilliant, Debbie! Thanks for sharing the formula as well. This would make quick work for lots of projects!

Cathy said...

Love it!!!!

Jake said...

This is the first way I learned to make HSTs. My first quilting book was Quick Roatry Cutter Quilts from Pam Bono and this was the technique she offered for her Santa Christmas tree skirt. It was one of my first quilting projects and was quite a feat for someone who was new and self taught! The binding was a nightmare for me as it was my first binding attempt as well. I love this technique. It's the first time I have sen a popular blogger use this method.
The copyright page is missing in this book, but it know it is quite old. I was so drawn to the designs that are what we now call modern. I've just never been a fan of traditional block after block quilting....and this was long before I learned the advantages of appliqué!
Love your blog!

Wendy said...

what a great tip, thank you!

Claudia said...

Haha! This is marvelous! Thanks so much for sharing!

Anja said...

What a cool trick. Thanks for sharing.