Half Rectangle Triangle Tutorial

In coming weeks I will share projects involving Half Rectangle Triangles, so I want to share my simple method for sewing and trimming them.  The half rectangle triangle (HRT) is a fun quilt block to make, but it does need to be trimmed correctly.  My first HRT project was my 20 in 20 quilt, a favorite of mine. I enjoy using them in quilts and I believe it’s a valuable block to have in your skill set.  There are plenty of tutorials and videos available online for this versatile and fun quilt block.  Since my Serve quilt pattern is full of half rectangle triangles (or HRTs), I decided to make my own half rectangle triangle tutorial, which I can guarantee stays available indefinitely.  

*Note:  The blocks demonstrated in this video finish at 3″ x 6″, so they are trimmed to 3.5″ x 6.5″.  To begin, you will need (2) 4.5″ x 8″ rectangles.  This is the size I start with for the 3″ x 6″ HRT block.


And there you have it!  My method for making a custom ruler for trimming your HRT blocks.  I actually own a few different “special” half rectangle triangle rulers, and yet I prefer this method.  It’s faster and simpler and works for both A and B HRT blocks.

I’m going to supplement the half rectangle triangle tutorial video above with a few photographs, which I hope will make it easier for you to make your own HRT blocks.  Here goes:

I refer to half rectangle triangles as HRT A and HRT B, depending on which direction the diagonal line follows.  We will make them standing on their short side, portrait style.  The half rectangle triangles with the angle running from bottom right to top left are HRT A. Triangles with diagonal line from bottom left to top right are HRT B.

Flip the triangle on the right, with right side down, on top of the left triangle.  If desired, you may pin before sewing because you are sewing on the bias.  Sew together along the diagonal.

Carefully press the seams closed, then gently open and press again.  Your untrimmed half rectangle triangles are sewn together and ready for trimming!

The trick with HRT blocks is in the trimming.  Because the diagonal is not a 45 degree angle, simply squaring the block won’t work.  I marked the 1/4″ seam allowance spot on these blocks below, and you can see they are NOT on the seam.  Therefore, we have to trim differently.

Now, to trim, we will first make a “custom” trimming window on an acrylic ruler.  For this size block, take washi tape and tape a 6.5″ x 3.5″ window on your ruler.  For right handed cutting use the top right side of the ruler, and for left handed cutting, use the top left.

Here is my ruler all taped for right handed quilting:

Using a sharpie, mark the 1/4″ seam allowance spot with a dot in each corner of your taped window.  You will use these dots to align your seams for trimming.

Trim your HRT A block by placing the window over the block.  Check 4 spots, namely that the fabric on the bottom and left sides is covered by the washi tape.  This ensures fabric for trimming the last two sides.  Next, align the dots you drew along the seam, as you see the pointers indicating in the photo below.  Trim the right and top sides.

Flip the block around.  This time, make sure the left and bottom cut lines run along the tape.  Again, align the dots on the seam (which should be easy) and trim again.

To trim a HRT B block, repeat the same process, but use the opposite two dots to align with the diagonal seam.  Again, be certain there is excess fabric on the left and bottom sides.  Trim.

Flip the block around and repeat the alignment, then trim the last two sides.  

You now have two perfectly trimmed half rectangle triangles, one A and one B.  The seam at the corners are 1/8″ away from the corner of the block, ensuring that when sewn into a quilt with a 1/4″ seam allowance, the seam will be in the right place.


So many great quilt designs include HRT blocks, and they’re also fun to design with.  I hope you find this half rectangle triangle tutorial helpful, and that you will enjoy sewing them!  



Listen Quilt – 4th Pattern in Resolute Collection

 Today I’m introducing the 4th quilt in my Resolute quilt pattern series.  This is Listen, a quilt designed around thoughts of the word, “listen”.  It follows Awake, Arise, and Stand, and will be followed by Serve.  All these patterns are available in my Etsy shop.  These words are dear to me and I have loved designing a quilt pattern for each one.  The Listen Quilt Pattern feels different from other designs of mine, but I love it.  It flowed naturally once I started sketching.

As I said, I designed this series around words that are meaningful to me creatively and personally.   Interestingly, the definition of “listen” is so much more than hearing.  It means “to hearken; to give ear; to attend closely with a view to hear; to obey; to yield to advice; to follow admonition”.  Listening to the creative spark deep inside requires silencing other voices.  Both creatively and personally, I want to improve my listening AND be more discerning about which influences I actually yield to. 

Pondering this, I found myself increasingly “looking up”, picturing sacred spaces that draw out the best in me.  The Listen quilt design grew from these thoughts.   This quilt design is simple, but requires precision and attention to detail, just like any true act of listening to someone we love.

As for the design itself, the Listen quilt features a fun star surrounded by a “trellis” or “lattice” design which frames the background and creates beautiful movement.  

Melissa Kelley quilted the Listen quilt with beautiful rainbows all over, and I love it.

The backing is a gorgeous floral I’ve saved for years.  It’s an old Moda print by Erin McMorris, her popular paint by number roses.  I found it on clearance ages ago and saved it for the perfect quilt.  Listen was it.  I love the dramatic florals on the back of this elegant design.

Perhaps my favorite part is the border.  I avoid borders on most quilts unless they really add something to the design, therefore I challenged myself to keep drawing until I got it right.  I knew this design needed a border but I wanted it to grab your attention.  It continues the aesthetic of the quilt body, and it makes a bold statement.  I love it!  

The clean lines, simple color scheme, and contrast all converge in this Listen quilt for a striking presentation, but there is a colorful version on the way.  I love my Listen, Candy Shop Style quilt just as much as this original.

I’ll share that version soon, but until then, you can find the Listen quilt pattern here.  I hope you’re creating something beautiful today!


Flower Applique – Playing with Sketches and Fabric

I started another project.  Shocking, I know.  After finishing my Bow quilt top last week, I started on some other applique projects including Sarah Fielke’s Secret Garden BOM (block of the month).  Most of them are complex and will take months to finish, and it’s left me without something to work on consistently.  I decided I need a simple, no-fuss, one block, small applique project to keep me busy.  But what?  After some sketching and brainstorming, this little flower applique block was born.

So far, I like it.  I have no idea how many I’ll make, or how the finished quilt will look, but it’s a fun little flower.  I used a 60 degree diamond as the background for the sake of doing something new.  

Hmmm, doing something new.  Are you doing that?  I have this constant tug, a yearning even, to just dive in and sew without a plan.  There are so many styles I want to explore, so many fabrics I’d like to combine.  I feel a pent up energy trying to break free.

But not yet.  There are too many deadlines still looming, too much going on for me to indulge in the fabric mess it would cause.  Soon, though.  At least I hope so.  I don’t want to ignore that creative spark much longer.

Until then, I’m scouring my scraps for pieces to use with this design.  I would like to cut and baste a bunch of them so I’ll have hand sewing ready to stitch.  This will be my next “stitch in the car” quilt.  Sometimes they take years, and sometimes only months.  I guess we’ll see how this one grows.  Right now, a scrappy, colorful field of flowers on diamonds sounds delightful.  I’m really sick of winter.  Just keep stitching, right?

I hope, with all that’s going on in the world, and with all the personal challenges that inevitably come, you’re hanging on.  




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