Tip for Saving Scraps: Half Square Triangles

I’ve been using this trick to save my scraps and make half square triangles while I’m at it.  It’s a great method to use when your adding stitch-n-flip corners to a block.  
Lay the square in the corner of your block with the pencil line like so:
And stitch down the line as you normally would.  Instead of trimming and throwing that whole corner away, sew a second line 1/2″ away from the previous seam towards the corner like so:
Then cut in between the 2 seams:
Press, and you’ve got your block with the triangle corner, and a half square triangle.
The half square triangle will be 1″ smaller than the original corner square you sewed on.  So this corner square was 4″, and my half square triangle is 3″.   This is a great trick for patterns like Pow Wow where the corner squares are large and it creates a lot of waste. 
Then you’ll have lots of little tiny HST’s to make another project!!!  Because all you needed was another project right??!  ;)

45 Responses to Tip for Saving Scraps: Half Square Triangles

  1. **nicke... February 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    good tip. i try to do this often.

    • Jo Ann February 16, 2020 at 11:04 am #

      Well I just did this a few weeks ago and I was sure it was a new tip but I guess I am late to the party. I have about 400 1.5 inch perfect half square triangles.

  2. Charity February 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    Ah, very clever. =)

  3. Dolly February 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    That's a wonderful idea !

  4. PeggyinNO February 7, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Sew thoughtful of you to share this! Thanks!

  5. Melanie February 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    I should do this. I always "need" more projects too :)

  6. Cindy February 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Janarama February 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    Fantastic idea … very clever!

  8. Mary Grace McNamara February 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    Great idea to share! I did this once with a pattern I was making and the leftover HSTs were 1 inch! I used them to make mug rugs! There was as much fabric in the seam allowances on the back as there was on the front!


  9. Amy Friend February 7, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Ugh, this makes me feel wasteful. I keep thinking I should do this!

  10. Noela February 8, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    What a great idea. Hugs….

  11. CitricSugar February 8, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    I do this religiously – saves so much time and so many scraps… I try to remember to do it when I miter my bindings, too. :-)

  12. Kris February 8, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    Love this!

  13. Kate February 8, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    I do the same thing, especially when making flying geese. Just need to work out what to do with all the HSTs!

  14. UKMUMINUSA February 8, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    I do the same too, now I just need some ideas what to do with them all!

  15. Zara February 8, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    What a fabulous tip! Thanks!

  16. Rebecca Grace February 8, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    That's a great idea! I am nowhere near organized enough for that, but I think it's cool anyway. Like people who not only cook Thanksgiving from scratch, but also have gourmet casseroles and panini sandwiches planned for all of their turkey leftovers. You go, girl! :-)

  17. Joanie's Quilts February 8, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    Great tip! I love finding ways that doesn't waste!

  18. Carla February 8, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    Right! It's a two for one deal ; )

  19. Live a Colorful Life February 8, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    I need to start doing this. It's a great idea. Because if they aren't already sewn together, and just trimmed off, I have found that I will probably NEVER sew them together…

  20. Happier Than A Bird Quilts February 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I do this too. I hate the waste so bad!!
    I made a baby quilt from my Swoon scraps.

  21. trish February 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    This is so cool. I will do this when making the pow wow quilt. :o)
    Have a great weekend. Trish

  22. Lindsay_Loris February 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Such a good idea – thanks for posting it:). I've always been put off patterns which seem to create so much triangular waste but not now!

  23. Babby58 February 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    When I made my son and daughter-in-law a quilt two Christmases ago, I had a lot of half-square triangles left over. I used this trick and turned all the extras into a matching quilt for their pug!! It was a win-win situation!

  24. Chris S February 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks for the great tip!

  25. Franziska February 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    I made this when making my Swoon blocks and will possibly have enough HSTs for a zig zag pillow matching my Swoon quilt once it will be finished. I mark two lines that I sew on instead of one but the rest and the effect is the same. I read this tip at Fromthebluechair.

  26. Denise SA February 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    I think this is a great idea thank you for sharing

  27. Colette McDonald February 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    I was just getting ready to start a project that use that technique and was thinking there has got to be an easier way to save and use those HST that I trim. Thanks for the hint.

  28. Jude Jones February 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi Al, I am glad to see you still have the new blue scissors still in working order, ha ha. Mine don't usually last that long. =)

  29. Meredith February 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    What a genius idea! Thank you for sharing!

  30. Sherryl February 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    That's such a great idea. I never save all those little triangles because if they're really small they can be such a pain to work with… but I could totally find a use for a bunch of little half-square triangles! Thanks for the tip. Why didn't I think of that?

  31. Cindy~ Heart and Sew Inspirations February 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I learned this tip in a quilting class. I thought it was so clever and do this when I can. I have quite a few, now just need to come up with a project for these small hst. What do you do with yours?

  32. Elle February 9, 2013 at 3:58 am #

    I always do this! Between this and using enders and leaders and chain piecing, you can end up making multiple quilts at once in almost the same amount of time (and save money!). One other tip to add: Press the block for the first time to set the stitches before cutting off the hst – cuts down on the ironing time, too! The one thing I've learned, though, is be sure to buy some extra background fabric. I have tons of wonderful teeny tiny chevrons I put together from tiny hsts, but I can't get any more of the great white background fabric that I used, so my awesome design idea went by the wayside! I'll have to rethink it!

  33. amy smart February 9, 2013 at 4:59 am #

    Uh! So smart! Why didn't I think of this 104 triangles ago (last week)? I will do it faithfully from now on.

  34. Carie February 9, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    That's a really great idea thank you. I'll have to remember that next time I'm doing triangles.

  35. Lappedamen February 9, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Thank you for sharing. It's a good tip, but I don't need a new project right now. Happy sewing!

  36. Gina E. February 10, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    What a neat idea! Thanks for that – now all I need is remember to do it!

  37. Amber February 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Brilliant! Thanks for the tip!


  38. sonia February 13, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    I ususally sew on both sides of the diagonal line. I made a "hugs and kisses" quilt and with the scraps I made my "pinwheels galore". Great tip!

  39. autumnesf February 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    I just finished a queen sized quilts using mostly left over scraps turned into hst's that I did for a year. I do have the advantage of having a go cutter so it made it real easy to cut a stack of scraps at a time. Just over a year I had enough to throw together a quilt for a wedding gift when I suddenly needed one!

  40. Stephanie February 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    what a great tip. i've seen this before in a quilting class i took, but had forgotten about it. it's nice to be reminded of wonderful ideas.

  41. Donna February 22, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    What a great idea. I've kept so many of these triangles. now I'll go sew them together to make them much more manageable for future use. Thanks!

  42. Millie February 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    I should do this too. Thanks for sharing.

  43. Sherry December 15, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Thanks for posting this great hack, can’t wait to try it out

  44. paperworx4seniors2 January 19, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

    Have been trying to get myself motivated to doing some sewing and eventually some quilting. Have new machine bought early last year have hardly used it. Had right shoulder replaced on 12/7/15 so had to hold off for while but want to get to it again, used to do lot of sewing and miss it. Your tutorial is very clear so even I can understand. You do beautiful work. Have subscribed
    Have wonderful weekend

Leave a Reply to Mary Grace McNamara Cancel reply