Tuesday’s Triangle

19 07 2011

I’ve been mulling over the idea for a “how to” series, and have finally decided to just go for it.  My plan is to dedicate Tuesdays to triangles.  Different methods for stitching them and different types of triangles.  I hope there will be something for beginners as well as for the experienced.

I’m starting off with a method for a basic half square triangle.

Start with a square of the theme fabric and of the background fabric 1/2 inch larger than the desired block.  For my example I want a 2 inch finished half square triangle so I cut my squares 2-1/2 inches.

On the wrong side of the lightest square place a straight edge from corner to corner.

Mark a line along the straight edge.

Layer the two squares right sides together and stitch on the marked line.

If a person were making lots of half square triangles, they might get tired of marking all those lines, so here is a slight variation on this method.

Lower the needle on the sewing machine and line a straight edge up with the needle.

Mark a line straight out from the needle on the bed of the machine.  I would have added a base extension to my machine if I’d been doing more than a demo.  Many people will mark this line with a permanent marker, but in the off-chance I ever want to sell or trade my machine I chose to use an air erasable pen.  Masking or painters tape would also work.  There are commercially available products for marking the machine bed, but I don’t plan to add to my extensive collection of gadgets for this series.

Now put the needle in one corner of the layered squares and line the opposite corner up with the line on the bed of the machine.  Keep this corner on the line as you stitch.  You can chain piece to your heart’s content using this method.

Once the squares are stitched together, it is time to trim the seam to 1/4 inch.  I chose to use a small rotary cutter and ruler, but scissors will work.  If you are not concerned about bulk or shadow through, this step can be skipped.

To continue the visual process, here is the trimmed block.

The blocks are ready to be pressed.  First press the seam flat as stitched, to set the stitches.

Now press the seam toward the dark side (this is the general rule, unless it is necessary to press toward the light for construction purposes).  As simple as that a half square triangle.

As with most things, there are pros and cons to this method.  The biggest drawback for me is the waste unless the triangles are very small. (I’ll show you other methods in future weeks that eliminate the waste.)  A recommendation for this method —  it is easy to add a triangle to another shape.  For instance a larger square –

or a long strip/rectangle.

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