Sewing at Home with Reva: Half Square Triangles

Hi, it's Reva, and I am doing some sewingat home today, and I am going to work on some fabulousfabrics.

These are some holiday fabrics.

Iit's a charm pack from Moda, and actuallythey're really quite pretty so I just pulled out a couple just to start with.

And I was going to turn these little guys into triangles.

So to do that, there are several different ways to do that, and I thought I would just kind ofwork on the basis of more of a traditional approach where if you wantto make two triangles from one five inch square, because that's what a charm packis, you draw a line from corner to corner on your fabric and then you sew aquarter inch on either side.

Now I have used a Frixion pen to I draw my line, and I thought I would just show you how I do that.

It's a little bit different, and you can use any type of fabric marker that you want, I just really likeFrixions pins because I can write on paper, I can write on fabric, and then yousimply iron it off and then it will go away with the heat of the iron.

But to thatpoint, do test your fabric because some fabrics, especially like batiks, havesomething in the fabric that tends to bind with the ink a little bit and itshadows white.

So just test that out.

This is a cut line so I could use a magicmarker if I wanted to, which I don't want to.

Anyhow, instead of just drawing a linefrom one side to another I find a lot of times that that can tend to stretch thefibers of the fabric, and when piecing it's really a great idea to not stretchor manipulate the fibers in any way.

And I actually do prefer to give this a nicespray with Best Press or another type of a spray starch because that will kind oflock the fibers, the horizontal the vertical fibers together, so that way they are more stable.

So what I usually will do is I will put my pensomewhere inside and lightly just draw out toward the tip.

I have the ruler fromtip to tip on the fabric, and then I am giving it a just a little bit ofpressure, basically just resting my hand so it doesn't shift.

And of course theQuilters Select rulers have that nice grip 'em on them so they don't shift anyhow.

So, but hopefully that makes sense.

Instead of just, you know, drawing fromone corner to another I kind of lightly work my way out in both directions.

And Iwould do that no matter what my marking tool is just to err on the side ofcaution.

Then I would take a piece of fabric, I'm sure a lot of you have seenthis, and align that with my cut piece.

Now notice that the peaks extend out alittle bit on this one.

Every manufacturer when they cut pre-cuts, cuts a little bit different.

Some are flat on the edge, some have a peak, some have a larger peak.

So you just kind of want to pay attention to that.

And I did say rightsides together, but my line cutting is my backside.

I need to be able to see that.

Now before we start sewing I would like to kind of talk a little bit aboutquarter-inch feet just for a second.

I'll put this here so hopefully you can seethem a little bit easier.

So there are three basic styles of quarter-inch feet.

This one is a standard foot.

It has the quarter inch is right here on the insideof that foot.

And let me set these two down here, and I'll bring this up so youcan see it a little bit better.

So if you take a look, see how this part of thefoot is a little bit narrower or closer to the needle? That is the quarter-inch.

And then this particular foot flares out a little bit and it's wider at thebackside to take advantage of the width, thefull width of the feed dogs.

So that is how that would work.

So I'm going toalign fabric to this edge right here so when you do that you're a quarter inch away.

Some quarter-inch feet will just be straight from the front all the way to the back.

Then this quarter-inch foot is the same exact thing only it has a little flange here.

And it is designed so that way so that when you are stitching it holds the edgeof the fabric.

So if this was here it would ride along the edge of the fabric.

So you have the edge of the fabric up against this little flange and that'sgoing to help you keep at that quarter inch mark.

As you can see it is rightthere at the edge where the quarter inch would be.

Then there is this style, andthis one is a quarter-inch.

Now all of these, the two feet I just showed you, ifyou have a Pfaff, are also available in clear.

Some quarter inch feet are onlyclear, some are only metal, so depending on the brand of machine that you have, but this one is a quarter inch foot.

So I have my quarter inch spacing here on theside, but it also has a blade or a flange down the center.

And that's fabulous forwhen you're doing your top stitching and I don't mean top stitch, I mean stitching on the top or doing your quilting, where you can put this littleblade in your seam line and it will hold in the seam line so you can stitch in aditch and keep everything nice and straight.

So those are some quarterinch feet just in case you always wondered what those, the differences were.

And then this is the one I'm going to use now because we're gonna be stitchingthrough on the fabric itself and I don't need a blade.

But I'm just gonna snap onmy foot here.

I do have gray thread on and i'm hoping that you'llbe able to see that pretty well.

So I'm gonna pull up my stitch I do like toquilt with a stitch length of a 2.

0.

It's just a little bit shorter and that givesme a little bit of a tighter stitch, because you're gonna be cutting piecesapart and handling them and it's nice to have that a little bit tighter, a littlebit shorter stitch.

Like just think about if it was at a 3.

0 it'd be really reallyeasy to come undone.

So now all I'm going to do is I am going to stitch.

And I'mgonna put my foot down on my machine, and my machine was smart enoughto tell me, hey, you don't have the dual feed engaged.

So let me put that on.

I lovemy dual feed.

Okay, so as I stitch let me put my needle down.

I love working withthe needle down.

But I do have the quarter inch side of the foot alignedwith that line that I drew.

So I'm just gonna stitch until I get to the bottom.

Now when we get down here I'm not gonnacut my thread, and I'm not going to turn or rotate my fabric.

But what I am gonnado is get my next fabric piece and line my solid square right along there.

Andagain I want that to be at the edge of the fabric, and I'm going to run anotherpiece.

So if you're new to quilting this would be considered chain piecing becausewe're making a chain of the different, a chain of the pieces.

So let me grabanother one here and do another one.

So this is a really very, very fast and easy, look, did you see? Put the purple up so we can see where we're going.

This is a really fast and easy way to get two triangles out of a five inchsquare, or a square of fabric of whatever size you need, as opposed to trimming, cutting, pre-cutting the triangles from your fabric.

And one last one I'll do right now, and then I'll show you what we do for thereverse side or the return side I should say.

Okay, so and I'm just going to slipthat up underneath the foot.

If you notice I kind of overlap the tips alittle bit because there's a gap in the sewing, so that's perfectlyall right.

So now you could go off on a leader or whatnot but I'm simply gonnastitch to the other side here because that's all gonna be in the seamallowance, and then I'm gonna return, rotate back.

And I know from the angleyou're at you cannot see but I'm about a sixteenth of an inch too far.

My foot isover.

So I'm gonna raise my presser foot and my needle and reposition so I am inthe right spot.

All right, so now as we come up here I'mgoing to show you my little overlap.

It's okay to overlap your tips because theseaming is done over here, and then you're not gonna have a long length ofthread in between but they won't be stitched together.

All right, so now timefor the third one.

And I'm just kind of lining up my lines there now.

If you havea machine that has a laser guide or an LED guide line marker that has a linethat shows out in front, that could be a Solaris, Luminaire, or a Dream or a Destinymachine or even the new Epic, the Viking Epic 2 has that, which isfabulous.

You can use that so instead of drawing this line on your fabric youcan just simply have that light illuminated right on the front of your, in front of your needle and on the fabric.

So I'm just now going to cutthat.

So does that make sense? So if you have a machine that has thelaser guide, use that.

The Dreamweaver, there's several machines Brother andBaby Lock have and then Pfaff also, I'm sorry Viking has as well, has the one.

Sosee how we mark the line here.

If you have a machine that illuminates thatguideline you can simply sew because it's going to illuminate the line foryou, and you don't have to draw.

So that's really a pretty fantastic thing.

So nowwhat, all you need to do is simply cut on your purple line.

And you know whatdoesn't even matter if you're straight or not or perfect, because it's allwithin the seam allowance.

Usually what I like to do is take this over to a smallcutting mat that I have beside my sewing machine and use my rotary cutter.

So I'mjust gonna trim that apart.

So then what you have is you have fabuloushalf square triangles all ready to be pressed and to be put into your nextproject.

So that's a pretty cool thing.

Now I want to talk to you about a littlebit of a different type of triangle.

And that, this is still a little half squaretriangle but done with a smaller piece on a larger piece.

So the big pieces arethe five inch squares and these are two and a half inch squares.

So they're goingto create this really cute little contrast corner on my piece here.

Andactually that is, they call it snowballing, or you can call it whatever you want, butlet me show you how this works.

It's really pretty neat.

So I'm going to takethat, and remember when we had our five and a half inch squares, I had a little bit of a peek out.

It kind of was the insideof my piece that my measurement, where they met up, so I'm gonna make sure I dothat on here as well.

So on here this one I'm gonna stitch right down the center.

And I'm sure you have seen many different, oops, patterns that call for a half square triangle that is stitched right down thevery center.

And then I'm gonna take my next one and do the exact same thingwith it.

I'm gonna align my piece real quick, and then I am going to just stitch to the other point.

Now this is all well and good.

I usually do not mark my fabric because I don't wantto.

I don't enjoy the task.

Unless it's something that really I find is gonna bevery necessary, I do not.

Now I have folded and creased my white fabric, which youprobably cannot see but I can.

So I'm gonna start stitching, and I see thepoint.

Let me get down here a little bit more so you can see the point.

There isthe point of the fabric.

Let me shift it over so you can see the point here.

Right now it's obviously not in line with the needle, but what I'm going to dois on the bed of my machine there are markings that go from the needle plate, bobbin cover, and actually mark down on my accessory tray here.

So I'm going toalign the tip with that mark on my accessory tray, and then when I come uphere it is matched up with the line right on my needle plate so I know thatI am straight so I don't have to worry about that.

One thing that using guideslike the laser guide or the markings on the bed of your machine does foryou is it allows you to position and to aim your fabric right away.

And youlook down here, sew by looking here.

Don't sew looking at the needle.

Iknow we were trained to look at the side of the needle and at the needle itselffor getting our stitching straight but if we do that, if we're off, it's reallytoo late to correct.

So if you, the further away from the needle you canguide and aim your seaming, the straighter and betteryour seams are going to be.

Now we have just a few of these done and the wholeidea is to come right here and trim that off, you know, make yourself seamallowance.

And then fold it back and you have this great great little edge onyour on your corner of your bigger square.

Sometimes you'll be working withtwo squares the same size but you need, the instructions tell you to stitch fromcorner to corner and then you would have a half square triangle, kind of like whatwe did before, only you wouldn't be stitching it right down the middle.

I'llshow you that in a second.

But what I want to do now is I want to takeadvantage of this fabric over here.

If you cut this off and throw itaway, it's waste.

So if you go back and you sew this a second time, then you canget another another set of triangles out of it.

So what I'm going to do is startwith this one here, and I'm going to align the left side of my foot, which iswider than my quarter inch.

So we know it's more than a quarter inch away, right?So I'm gonna start sewing, and I'm gonna sew with the left side of my foot justto the side of where my stitching was.

And I'm ready to come up on another onehere.

Get that fed under.

One thing I really appreciated about my machine is, this isthe Pfaff Icon, and I love the fact that there's actually feed dogs in the front, so it actually will pick up and start feeding that little bit of this.

So it'salready engaged with that fabric.

It's already feeding the fabric through, which is really pretty cool.

Okay, so one last one.

Let me flip this up here.

So now we're to the end.

Cut my thread.

And then I'm just gonna quickly cut off this unit from the one it's attachedto.

And then you can see I have this channel of stitching.

So I'm gonna cut inbetween, and again usually I would use my rotary.

It's not gonna give me a perfectquarter inch seam allowance in between, but that's okay because it's inside theseam length.

So this is my one piece I have.

It's a lovely tipped square with anice contrast fabric.

But you're also left with a small half square triangle.

So this is really pretty fun because now you can take this, press it, have it ready, and put it in a bag to use for a scrap project later.

Or maybe you want to putit into the border of the quilt that you're working on.

So instead of throwingthis fabric away or grabbing the triangles and trying to reposition themthey are all stuck together because they were stitched with this first stitch, sothey're in the perfect position to go ahead and stitch your second seam onhere, and it will give you a whole 'nother unit.

This unit actually finished out, it's two and a quarter is the width right now, so that would be a two inchfinished square.

No it wouldn't, it would to be one and 7/8, or three-eighths, wouldn't it?Oh my gosh, 1 and 3/4 when you're done if you take the seam allowance off of bothsides.

So that's a really pretty small little square, half square trianglesquare.

And I tell you I wouldn't do it, I I doubt I would on purpose choose apattern with a bunch of tiny little things like this.

And that'd be, thatbrings up a wonderful little memory I have.

There's several of us that like toget together and sew.

We don't do it often, but we do so enjoy getting away anddoing that.

And one of our friends, she's just a sweetheart.

She was doingthis beautiful quilt, and it was an Irish chain.

All these little tiny squares, andit was absolutely gorgeous.

And you know if you've ever worked with littlesquares, it just seems like you sew and sew but you don't get very farbecause the pieces are so tiny.

So she was lamenting a little bit about why hadshe picked a quilt with such small pieces.

And then we had to point out toher that she likes them.

And she goes, “No I don't.

” So we had to point out the projectshe brought with her.

They were all little tiny squares.

And so she had anepiphany at that moment I believe, that she came to terms with the fact that shedid actually enjoy little tiny squares.

And in with that I'velooked at my own self, my own patterns that I like to gravitate toward, and theyseem to have little triangles in them.

So I too have something that I've kindof found that subconsciously I gravitate towards.

So what kind ofstuff do you find yourself doing? It's kind of fun to kind of get to discoverwhat that is.

Okay so I'm, real quick I want to just show you another example.

And this is another piece and I'll draw the line just so you can see it here alittle bit.

So I'll just put my ruler from edge to edge.

The front of my sewingmachine bed here slopes so that's why I've turned it to an angle.

Hopefullyyou can see it too.

But I'm going to come in here, draw my center line, and drawthat one.

Okay.

So if you were doing a solid square and the instructions askyou to cut these squares and then stitch from corner to corner, this is where Ialways found it really a waste because what they want you to do isstitch from corner to corner and then cut off one half of it.

Right? Cut yourseam allowance.

Let's just do this real quick.

So they would ask for you now to trim off the excess off of one side, leaving a seam allowance.

And then that would give you your half squareunit.

Right there's your half square unit.

But then all this would be thrown away.

So that's where doubling up and just taking the time to take one more pass, just make one more pass to the side of your seam line, and then you will have a whole 'nother set of a half square triangle square that you can use for this project or a differentproject, because now you have that one just slightly smaller.

So instead of thisbecoming, hanging around in your trash bin, it now can live in your in yourresource area of scraps that you have to put together with something else atanother time.

So that is just my little tips for doing different types oftriangles and how those work.

So hopefully this will help you a littlebit on your next project.

So have fun sewing at home and I willlook forward to joining you in a little while.

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