Quick and Easy Half Square Triangle (HST) Hack

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

The other day (or like, two months ago) on QuiltCast, Amy and I were talking about shortcuts and tools we use in our studio. I mentioned blue painter’s tape, and how I use it for making Half Square Triangles (HST) quick and easy. WITHOUT MARKING. Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t mark the back of my half square triangles. I’m a quilting rebel, what can I say. (By the way, have you been listening to QuiltCast? It’s a podcast for quilters that I’m doing with Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side. We’re getting some great feedback on it, and I’d love yours. Head on over and download it and let me know what you think? xoxo)


Anyway, I figured you’d want to see this awesome little hack, because hey, it saves me a ton of time…and who really loves marking the back of HSTs anyway? *crickets*

That’s what I thought.

So get yourself some blue painter’s tape, and let’s do this thing.

Mark one line right down the middle of the tape, and another line 1/4″ away on either side, for a total of 3 lines.

Put the tape on your extension table, lining up the middle line with your needle. Be sure not to place the tape over the feed dogs.

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

To sew a standard HST, line up the top corner with your needle and place under your presser foot. Align the other corner with the middle line.

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

Start sewing,

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

keeping the bottom corner on the middle line as you sew.

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

Sew all the way to the other corner…

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

set your seam, trim your excess,

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

press toward the dark, and VOILA!

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

To make 2 HSTs, simply align your top corner with your 1/4″ seam allowance (I use the edge of my patchwork foot) and the right or left line.

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut


half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

then rotate and repeat…

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

on the other side of the diagonal.

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

Cut between the two seams…

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

Set seams, press toward dark, trim up, and check it out! Two HSTs and NO marking!

Seriously people, it’s like magic. (However, it is not magic taking photos in the basement.)

On my table, the biggest HSTs I can do with this method is 3″ square–but for those of you lucky ducks who have a custom table where your machine is inset, you may be able to go even bigger. Just make sure your tape is straight out from the needle.

half square triangle quilting quilt tutorial shortcut

What do you think? Will you try my Half Square Triangle Hack? Do you have any fast and easy methods of your own? I’d love to hear them!

Also. YOU GUYS. New Patterns and a Black Friday coupon code coming tomorrow!! I’m crossing my fingers you love these new ones as much as I do.




  1. 1
    Jillian says:

    All of the sudden I see a light at the end of the tunnel… and a bunch of quilt block fabric packets that may just see the light of day as well. Simple and perfect trick. :)

  2. 2
    Kathy says:

    Genius! I love it.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Beth S says:

    Thank you for sharing this. What a wonderful idea! I flat refuse to mark these and have been known to eyeball it with success…most of the time. Lol But I need to develop patience and accuracy. This is perfect for stubborn people like me :)

    • 4.1
      April says:

      It’s my favorite way to make HSTs, hands down. I have done the eyeball thing, too, but I like that this is just a liiiiiittle more accurate. :)

  5. 5
    Donna H. says:

    This is so cool… I will try it! Thanks!!

  6. 6
    Sarah says:

    Love it! Thanks!!! Great pics.

  7. 7
    Barbara says:

    Genius – pure genius!!!!!!!!!

  8. 8
    Ann says:

    I have always avoided doing any triangles because I hate the idea marking them all. THIS is amazeballs!

  9. 9
    Kristin says:

    Oh my gosh! Genius! I will for sure be using this tip!

  10. 10
    Sharon says:

    What a great idea!! Thank you for sharing.

  11. 11
    Heather says:

    I’m totally new to quilting and thrilled I came across this before I have done many HST’s! Thanks:)

  12. 12
    Sandra says:

    This is sure to be a real time saver! Thanks for sharing!

  13. 13
    mpv61 says:

    I have two other ways I do HSTs, also w/o marking. One is to take that square you have above (right sides together), cut it on the diagonal, and then just chain-sew the triangles, using my magnetic edge guide to sew straight. It really doesn’t take any more time than your method and I can sew very quickly but still precisely.

    The other is to take 2 long strips, right sides together, and sew all along both long sides. Then I cut squares from that strip, and chain-sew both unsewn sides of each square. That leaves me with 2 squares sewn completely together. I then cut that into an “x” and I have 4 HSTs. I can’t tell you exactly how to figure your size; I usually do the math and then add a bit — I like to have extra to trim it just right. Method 1 on this pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262545853246612632/ shows that, except for it’s starting from a square for 4 HSTs and I usually need a bunch of the same HSTs at once so I go with strips.

    There are a lot of different HST methods out there, and I think there’s probably no such thing as the “best” one, just ones that work best for each of us in certain situations. I love seeing them all.

  14. 14
    Patricia says:

    This one works best for me!

  15. 15
    Angela says:

    This is awesome!! I can’t wait to try it!

  16. 16
    Lida Olivier says:

    Baie dankie vir die oulike idee!! Love it and can’t wait to try it out!!! Greetings from Sunny South Africa! Love our ideas! Lida

  17. 17
    Michele says:

    You are a Genius!!

  18. 18
    Marlene says:

    OMG this is so brilliant, why didn’t I think of this?!! Thanks, I’ve been marking with pencil for so long… This is so much easier — whew!

  19. 19
    Rosieq says:

    This is terrific…I’m afraid my eyes would put the tape on wonky, any helpful hints there, anyone. I like this idea….or going back to marking the center. You take a chance of losing any integrity on the bias by stitching the two seams before cutting. Otherwise, you would almost have to press the diagonal in place and sew….nah….

  20. 20

    […] tip:  If you do go for the traditional HST method you can follow this very cool tutorial by April Rosenthal of The {Studio} Blog.  An awesome way to sew them without the need to draw the […]

  21. 21
    Angela says:

    *Points at screen* Brilliant!!!

  22. 22
    google says:

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  23. 23
    Donna in MI says:


  24. 24
    Jola says:

    Brilliant!! Thx a lot for this!

  25. 25
    HST Hack! says:

    […] Jenny can do it by site, but I'm fairly new and still need some guidance. Here's a way to help! Quick and Easy Half Square Triangle (HST) Hack | The {studio} blog by April Rosenthal Molly Gig 'Em and God Bless Reply With […]

  26. 26
    Deb says:


    how wide is the painter’s tape you are using?

  27. 27
    Terrye Meade says:

    Some people are just born clever to help those less fortunates like myself
    What a great tip. Thanks so much.

  28. 28
    Nancy says:

    Thanks. I plan to share this with my Quilting Guild.

  29. 29
    Michelle Lubbers says:

    C’mon! So many neat little tricks, but soo many little children to take care of! I will get my chance, I will!! This is a game changer.

  30. 30
    Auntiepatch says:


  31. 31

    […] a YouTube video and a blog showing tape being used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJyRbtCvedk , Quick and Easy Half Square Triangle (HST) Hack – The {studio} blog by April Rosenthal For flip and sew or snowballing blocks, I've drawn a line on the machine bed from the needle […]

  32. 32
    Brenda L says:

    This is a great idea. However, this is the way l do it. Take two pieces of fabric right sides together. Sew 1/4 inch all the way around. Then cut it diagonally one way and then diagonally the other way. Leaves you with four hst. Another easy way.

  33. 33

    […] half square triangles. I experimented with an idea gleaned from a Pinterest photo that led to this blog post From The Studio Blog. It would work better with smaller squares, as mine block me from seeing the […]

  34. 34
    Sarah M says:

    Thank you! If only I knew this a long time ago,what a time saver it would have been. Gonin to use it from now on.

  35. 35
    Eileen Menke says:

    I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the video.

  36. 36
    Nette says:

    Brilliant! Thanks sew much! I have never used a triangle in my quilting, because they would never line up correctly. Tried your way and got it! YAY!!!

  37. 37
    Sofía says:

    Felicidades! Me encanta, ahora mismo lo voy a hacer. Besos desde España

  38. 38
    LynnAnn says:

    Thanks April, can’t wait it try.
    Happy sewing!

  39. 39
    Marcia says:

    I love this idea!! Im new at this…the Only problem I have is trying to figure out how much bigger to cut the squares so when the triangles are cut they arent too small…

  40. 40
    alcira says:

    exactamente lo que necesitaba, gracias es muy útil.

  41. 41
    Susana says:

    Genius, thanks God there are some very clever sewers that
    make our sewing days easier.
    I’m out to the swing machine,

  42. 42

    […] 4.  We all know there are many ways to make half-square triangles.  This method, no marking, was new to me so I decided I needed to share this tutorial from April Rosenthal’s website HERE. […]

  43. 43
    Allison CB says:

    A cute fix! THanks!

  44. 44
    Judie says:

    This looks almost too good to be true. What’s the math needed to tell you what size squares to start out with to end up with the right size blocks?

  45. 45
    Judy Mason says:

    Fabulous post

  46. 46
    Tina Sheppard says:

    Great idea.

  47. 47
    Christine says:

    i willldefinitely give this a try, thank you.
    Question.. Still can’t quite get the size right when making shortcut 2HSTs. What length do you add on to get actual size required please

  48. 48
    Sissi French says:

    Très ingénieux et simple à utiliser. Et j’aime votre “voilà “. Je vais lire tout votre blog . Merci !

  49. 49
    Vasu says:

    So simple! Pure genius. Surely going to try this.

  50. 50
    Rouhee says:

    I read this piece of writing fully on the
    topic of the resemblance of newest and preceding technologies,
    it’s amazing article.

  51. 51
    Cordella Zweemer says:

    love your hst idea, wil definitely give it a try. I can feel me likening hst more. Thanks so much. Corky

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