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Half-Square Mania

Half-Square Triangle Quilt


6 to 8 quarter-yard cuts of multi-color fabrics (or more for variety)
1 yard black (or white) background fabric (avoid directional fabrics)
1 yard fabric for border
1/2 yard fabric for binding (less if same as borders)
fabric for backing
thread for piecing
thread for quilting (if desired)
floss or crochet thread for tying (if desired)


Rotary cutter, mat, and 6" x 24" ruler
Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies
Iron and ironing board


  1. Cut one 6" wide strip from selvage to selvage from each of the multi-color fabrics.
  2. From your collection of strips cut an assortment of twenty-four 6" squares.
  3. Cut four 6" wide strips from selvage to selvage from the black background fabric.
  4. Cut twenty-four 6" squares from the black strips.
  5. Cut five 5" wide strips from selvage to selvage from the border fabric.
  6. Cut off the selvages.
  7. Cut five 2.5" wide strips from the binding fabric.


  1. Draw a diagonal line on the back of each multi-color square using a pencil or chalk.
  2. Place each colored square on a black square with right sides together and pin.
  3. Sew 1/4" away from the pencil line on both sides—two seams per square.
  4. Cut along the pencil line using your rotary cutter.
  5. If you open the triangles you'll see you have two blocks that are each half multi-colored and half black.

  6. Using a dry iron (no steam!) press the seams towards the darker fabric very carefully using an up and down motion (don't iron back and forth!).
  7. This is to avoid distorting the fabric since it's on the bias.

  8. Trim each block to 5.5" square
  9. You should have 48 squares made up of 2 triangles each.

  10. Lay the blocks out in a configuration that pleases you.
  11. Sew the blocks in each row together.
  12. Sew the rows together.
  13. Press seams to one side (or, if you prefer, you can press seams open.)
  14. Measure, cut, pin, and sew on the border pieces to the two short sides of the quilt.
  15. Press seams towards the borders.
  16. For the two longer borders you'll need to piece the borders.
  17. Again, measure, cut, pin, and sew on the border pieces to the two long sides of the quilt.
  18. Press seams towards the borders.
  19. Layer backing, batting, and pieced top.
  20. Baste with thread or safety pins if quilting or if simply tie the quilt.
  21. Trim edges.
  22. Make binding and apply it to the quilt.

Other possible layouts and color combinations:


Barn Raising

Monochromatic Barn Raising

Streak of Lightning

For more details on finishing the quilt, there are a number of very good books for beginning quilters in our library or you can consult any number of web sites, such as About.com's Quilting pages.

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