Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fast HSTs - And a DEAL

I had lots of comments and some email discussions on HSTs (half square triangle blocks.)  There are many methods to make HSTs.   I think I may have tried them all.  Some have you marking a line or several lines on the back of the fabric like I showed in 2009.   Most of them are truly easier than cutting triangle pieces and sewing them together

A couple of years ago, I saw a video from Missouri Quilt Company on making four at once with NO drawing lines.  It is super easy and as accurate as your quarter inch seam.  However, if you are going to trim them, that is easy to adjust also.

I find that sometimes the pieces want to shift, especially when I am pivoting at the corners.  So, I have typically pinned them.  But now - No more pinning!   I decided to try using the Lapel Stick glue that I reviewed.  So let me show you what I did.

First I pulled out a layer cake and of course my Lapel Stick.
 I chose two squares from the layer cake with nice contrast.
After putting down a sheet of wax paper to protect my sewing table,  I placed the darker square on the wax paper.  I glued at the corners -about an inch each way.
And at the center of each side - again about an inch.
You can see the glue here but it is almost invisible and it washes away completely.
Next, I placed the light colored square on top with the fabrics right sides together.  Then I finger pressed the areas with Lapel Stick to hold it in place.
Next I sewed a quarter inch seam around all four of the outside edges, carefully pivoting in the corners.
Once sewed, the block is cut diagonally.
Line up the ruler so that your rotary blade will cut exactly into the corner seam.  Then rotate the block without shifting it. (I used a rotating mat so I didn't have to pick up the block at all.)  Next cut the other diagonal.
 When you open these up you will have four HSTs. You can then trim them to size.  With the 10" layer cake blocks, I got a 6 3/4" HST that I will trim to 6 1/2"  This will make a perfect 12 inch finished block.
Jean mentioned that the outside edges are now bias cut.  I always starch first.  But the bit of stretch allows me some "fudge room" when I am joining the squares. I find it a plus rather than a flaw.  Of course you should avoid stretching those edges.

Keith at Lapel Stick is offering my readers a fantastic deal on Lapel Stick.  You can get a box of Lapel Stick - that is 40 Lapel Sticks  - for only $50.    The retail price on these is somewhere in the range of five dollars each, so this is an amazing deal.  The price includes Fed-Ex shipping with tracking.
I think that this deal is too good to miss.  I rarely pin anymore except for garment sewing.  No more pins sticking me is a good thing.
This offer is good until October 20, 2014.   You could buy a box of Lapel Stick and have a gift for everyone in your Guild or sewing group.  I hate to mention it, but Christmas and Hanukkah are approaching quickly. If your group does a Halloween party, you could use these for "Trick or Treat" also.  But then again, you may want to keep them all for yourself after you have found how much easier they make your sewing.

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Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated.


kathyinozarks said...

I have a hard time these-getting them accurate-so I may just try this-thanks Gene

Barbara said...

Very clever!
An aside, Gene, you are probably the one blogger I know who has the most pieces of equipment and helpful goodies! However, that said, we all need a little "fudge room" from time to time. :)

Unknown said...

great idea! thanks for sharing. :)

JJ said...

I would have never thought of using it for that but very clever.

Val's Creative Life said...

Oh my...since I seem to never "pin"...this may be the answer! Thanks for the informational the trick or treat guild idea!! PS: I've had a lot of spam too and the word verification has helped...whew! My first visit here...Val from

Sharon said...

Great tip, Gene. Where easy do you use the Lapel Stick? I have only used it for foundation piecing.

Sharon said...

Great tip, Gene. Where easy do you use the Lapel Stick? I have only used it for foundation piecing.

Beth said...

I forgot about that method. I really must try that one. I do have a layer Cake that I have no plans for....hmmmm

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

Great tutorial Gene and like you I think I have tried every way there is to make HSTs!

Marjorie said...

This is a great idea. I have never used the 10" layer cakes because I didn't want those bias edges on the outside, but after watching many Jenny Doan videos, have come around to the idea that it could be a good thing. The only thing I would do differently is that I would sew straight through and off the fabric on each side rather than trying to turn that corner so perfectly like you do. Am sure that turn would never happen like that for me. :)