Triangle Corner Trick

I was piecing these blocks with triangle corners (like the corners in this block) yesterday and thought I would share a quick trick. Usually a pattern (including my own) will recommend drawing a pencil line from corner to corner on the wrong side, and sewing along the line. Like this one:
But since I’m a hurried sewer and drawing little lines on 160 squares doesn’t sound like super fun, this is what I do instead:
Place a piece of tape so that edge is in line with the needle of your machine.
When you are sewing on your squares, start in one corner, and keep the opposite corner on that tape edge to keep the seam line straight.
When your done you’ll have a nice straight line from corner to corner, without having to draw gagillions of little pencil lines. Keep in mind though that the smaller the square the easier it is, it might be a little harder to keep a perfectly straight line with bigger squares.
After trimming and pressing the corner should look like this:
Tricky huh? I learned this from my Mom. I always wondered why she had painters tape stuck to the front of her machine….now we know.

75 Responses to Triangle Corner Trick

  1. Mimi October 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    This is an awesome tip!! I like to take shortcuts that work and this is one that I will definitely try. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Melissa Corry October 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    That is a great little tip!! Thanks!!

  3. Quilty Conscience October 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    You are just too clever! Thank you! What a great idea!

  4. Wendy October 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    I just might try this…I don't like having to draw all those lines either. Thanks!

  5. Miss White Wall October 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Such a great idea!

  6. corinne October 25, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    What a great idea. I am going to try this one

  7. Care October 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm #


  8. nettie October 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm #


  9. Jennwith4 October 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Awesome!! Going now to put tape on my machine! Thanks. =)

  10. laura October 25, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    Great tip, Thanks!

  11. Vicki @ DottyJane October 25, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Thanks! Better than drawing lines!

  12. Becca October 25, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

    Mind blown. Thank you!

  13. Fullgrownwoman October 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    I love you. I seriously owe you like a child or something. I was facing doing this for way too many blocks to fathom and was dreading the heck out of it.

  14. Sew I Was Thinking... October 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    You're so clever! Thank you.

  15. Mary October 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Brilliant! Thanks so much!

  16. Terriaw October 25, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Great tip! The quilt shop where I first learned how to quilt recommended that if we were having trouble keeping a 1/4 inch SA. Works great for these triangles, since I agree, who wants to draw all those lines! We want to get to the piecing and quilting part, right?!

  17. "Lois Grebowski" October 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    Painter's tape is my best sewing friend (besides my seam ripper). I love it. great idea for keeping it straight. Thanks for sharing!

  18. amandajean October 25, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    handy tip! thanks for passing it along!

  19. Purple Quilter Queen October 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    I do the same thing and yes it is fabulous!! Works so well! Jenn

  20. Courtney October 25, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Oh how I wish you would've posted this 9 months ago… when I was drawing pencil lines on 123948102349824619286 triangles! Great post, I will definitely use this shortcut!!!

  21. Emily Elizabeth October 25, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Wonderful wonderful tip. Thanks for passing it along!

  22. WoolenSails October 26, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    Nice idea and once you set it up, it saves on the tracing step.


  23. Anna @ Fresh Dew Drops October 26, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    Brilliance! Sheer brilliance! Thank you to your mom and to you for sharing with us.

  24. kc October 26, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    Well, how about that. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!!

  25. Bec Clarke October 26, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    Oh I just did a million little half square triangles for pinwheels. I will be using this next time.

  26. mummastimetocreate October 26, 2010 at 6:44 am #

    Yay thanks for this tip!! I'm so lazy when it comes to pinning and drawing, so this is a great tip for me! Painters tape is also good if you don't like pinning – I just stick it to one corner to stop the pieces moving. It loses it's stick reasonably quickly, but you only need a tiny bit and it's so much faster (and less hazardous LOL…) than pinning.

  27. Kate October 26, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Thanks for the fantastic tip! Sounds like you had a very clever mum.

  28. Linda October 26, 2010 at 11:43 am #


  29. Smithatron October 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    A veryt clever timesaver!

  30. Mitzi October 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Thank you! Just today I am starting this quilt and your tip is EXACTLY what I needed.

    Thank you! Perfect! I was dreading dreading dreading drawing all those lines and now I don't have to.

  31. Elsa October 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Great tip! thanks so much!

  32. Ronda October 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    I learned this in a quilting class. Now all my machines have tape on them. This is a great idea and I appreciate you reminding us of this. It simplifies and that is just what all of us quilters need.

  33. Diane October 26, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    Wow! Neat trick…. I hate drawing all those lines.

  34. Joanna October 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    Great idea. Thanks to you and your mom. I hate the line drawing.

  35. Jantine October 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Wow, thanks,you just got me over a hurdle ;-)

  36. All It Seams October 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

    Thank you for the tip, aren't mothers great!

  37. Alison October 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Oooh, what a brilliant idea! I'll have to pass this along to my sister and mother! They'll thank you, I'm sure :-)

  38. di October 27, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    Oh wow! Thanks for sharing this with us! I have a quilt that I want to make that makes it's blocks like that and now i'm really wishing that I had one of those extension tables for my machine. lol

  39. Linda October 28, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    You and your mom are SO CLEVER! Thanks a bunch for this tip. PS There is a cream stick in Amishland with your name on it and a donkey or two missing you!

  40. Belinda October 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    If you also sew another line 1/2" away from the first (out towards the corner)& cut between the sewing, you get a bonus 1/2 sq triangle :)

  41. Karen November 2, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I just love simple but brilliant ideas like this!

  42. Cowgirl in the City November 2, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    Awesome! I wish I had thought of that last weekend when I was grumbling at all my little triangles! Thanks for the tip.

  43. Fabric Warrior November 5, 2010 at 3:10 am #

    I tried this trick yesterday, and it worked wonderfully. I cannot offer enough thanks!! It saved me SO much time making half-square triangles.

  44. eileensideways November 6, 2010 at 3:15 am #

    how do u cope with the machine eating the corners?

    • Pat October 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

      Use a little piece of fabric as a starter. Stitch on it first then onto the beginning of your corner.

  45. Diane November 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    I was getting ready to start a quilt with these little triangles and said 'wait! I remember something about a trick to di these…. now where did I see that" Thanks !!!

  46. bethanndodd July 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Loving this tip! Especially since I will be making one of those 4th of July star quilts…thanks! Smiles~Beth

  47. Elle September 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    I love this trick! My addition to it is that I usually now will sew another seam about 3/8" away from the first one, but them apart with a very scant 1/4 inch seam, and then I save all those list squares to put into charity quilts/mini-quilts/other projects (especially if I'm chain piecing, since I can just run them all through the machine in line again, using my existing seam line as my guide (and my 1/4 inch foot is a little wider on the left, so it works pretty perfectly.) Probably silly, but I read a blog entry about getting extra charity quilts from scraps, and despite the fact that I have too much fabric and need to use it up, I've become a bit obsessed with reducing waste. Anyway, I thought I'd share (and at the same time thank you for this great tip – it has made my sewing speed up considerably)!

  48. Tora´s Vintage Dream October 17, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    This sounds so easy I´m going to use this tip when I will sew my corners on a lot of snowball blocks, thanks for the tip :)

  49. Just Carol November 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    So simple–what a great idea! I hate drawing those lines. Thanks!

  50. Susan November 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Along with everyone else, thanks for the tip!! As a new quilter, I will take all the tips I can get to make my quilt turn out better. I'll be watching for more!!

  51. Sandra December 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    What an awesome tip! Thanks!

  52. mara oliveira March 31, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    amei a dica, vou usar com certeza…

  53. emedoodle May 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    This is the most life changing thing to have found on pinterest today. How is it that I didn't know this while drawing all those stinking lines for the Swoon quilt?! :) thanks for sharing!!

  54. Goldogmom September 7, 2012 at 5:13 am #

    a great tip. Can you share what you use these blocks for? Ive made HST but like the idea of the different sizes of these two pieces, making a block. Do you have a pattern for using them?


  55. elnorac January 5, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Wonderful tip!!!

  56. Gina January 6, 2013 at 1:53 am #

    I love moms !!

  57. Kerri February 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    I just drew lines on 300 tiny squares, and THEN found this tutorial on Pinterest! I guess I will know better for next time. :)

  58. Julie Bagamary March 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    GREAT tip! I passed along to my friend who does more precision piece that I do.

  59. Mary Ruth May 28, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    You are so nice to share GREAT TIPS! This is a great time saver and helps to make more accurate corners! Way to Go! Thanks!

  60. Louise Bruce July 18, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    Thanks for the tip, I will have to try this out….

  61. Cynthia Oxford-Fishman January 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    I am new at quilting and I am right now gathering a lot of information/tips as to how to make quilting fun instead of work. I want to thank you for this tip. I hope you do not mind me asking this question, if I folded my square in half, finger press it or iron it once folded in half would that not give you a straight line to sew on? As I said I am new to this so if it's a silly question, I will laugh with everyone eles, LOL!

    • Meredith Hill May 21, 2018 at 4:15 am #

      Yes, I never draw lines. I press the squares in half on the diagonal and then sew on the line. But her tip is much faster.

  62. allison January 30, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    You can definitely do that Cynthia…it will just take a lot more time! :)

  63. Cynthia Oxford-Fishman January 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!!! I will file your tip away and be sure to use it with my first quilt. I love your blog and all of your great projects. I am looking forward to learning from you and referencing your blog frequently!! I am so happy I found you today!!! Happy quilting!

  64. ellie May 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Great tip! Thanks for the info!!

  65. gRANDEBBIE May 18, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    This is fabulous info, I don't think drawing a gagillion
    Lines is fun either!!!

  66. twemyss May 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Genius, just what I needed as I have a quilt pattern that is dull so putting it on point makes it interesting, many thanks!!

  67. Pat October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

    What part does the ruler play? Or is that painted on your sewing machine cabinet?

  68. Jolene July 10, 2018 at 6:26 pm #

    Awesome idea..thanks for sharing!

  69. luveurope July 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm #

    Fantastic tip…wish I saw this 2 weeks ago :(

  70. C. Butcher November 20, 2018 at 6:44 am #

    I suppose if you have a top loading bobbin in the way of the tape you break the continuous tape line up to fit over bobbin cover then resume the line of the tape as you suggested??

  71. Adriene Grzenia December 7, 2018 at 3:26 am #

    I’m definitely going to give this one a try.

  72. CAM March 17, 2021 at 4:09 pm #

    Place a piece of tape so that edge is in line with the needle of your machine.
    Do you have a blog on how to get the tape in the right spot, so that it is straight? Straight is what matters.

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