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Basic Half Square Triangle Quilts

Half Square Triangles are a huge part of quilting, and mastering them is a skill worth having! Here are 8 simple half-square triangle quilt patterns to give you lots of options for all your HSTs.

My personal quilting philosophy is that since you get better with practice, you might as well make something you love while improving your skills. After all, sometimes it seems like every quilt pattern has at least one HST!

Half Square Triangles look great in contrasting solids, two contrasting prints, or combining a print and a solid. It all comes down to what you like (and what you have on hand when midnight inspiration hits!).

One way to whip up a great scrappy quilt is to grab a layer cake (or any 10-inch squares) and some background fabric and knock out a whole pile of half-square triangles using the two at a time or 8-at-a-time method.

You can also make a slightly slower but still quick quilt using the 2 at a time method and a stack or two of charm packs (5-inch squares).

Once you’ve got your blocks sewn up and squared up you’re ready to start laying them out.

This is when the magic happens! You can get a lot of different looks just by rotating the blocks and changing the orientation of the triangles.

All of the following layouts are made the exact same way, by sewing a 6 x 8 block grid from the same set of blocks, all that I changed was the block orientation.

I used the fabric line “Late October” for all of these mock-ups, it very well may be my favorite fall/Halloween line of 2022. It’s a variety of small to slightly not small prints in tones of soft orange, creamy vanilla, black and grey.

Basic HST Quilt Layouts

The simplest layout for an HST quilt is to orient all of the blocks the same way. This quilt pattern looks especially nice if you’ve made your blocks with half sold/low volume and half print.

It’s a classic and traditional quilt pattern that works really well with a variety of fabrics for a scrappy look. My free Cozy Corners pattern uses an entire layer cake (no background fabric needed!) turned into giant half-square triangles for a simple and cozy throw quilt.

Click here to get the Cozy Corners Layer Cake Quilt Pattern

HST Pinwheels

I have a love/hate relationship with pinwheel blocks. I think they’re super cute and I love the way they look but they require more attention than I usually have available.

Lay out your half-square triangles so the prints for a pinwheel, you’ll also have a secondary pinwheel from the background print and a tertiary box pattern formed where the pinwheels come together.

The centers of the pinwheels will be very thick, you’ll have a lot of seams coming together so you might want to experiment with pressing some seams open or spinning your seams.

Squares

I love the square layout with a low print background. Once you add the quilting the background squares will read as a single block and you get the square-in-a-square look from half-square triangles.

You will have a lot of bulk in the areas where the half-square triangles meet, just like with the pinwheels you might want to press open or spin your seams to get your quilt top flatter.

Stripes

If you’re looking for a more modern look lay out your half square triangles in stripes. I have the blocks outlined in the diagram above to make it easier to know what you’re looking at but when this is fabric and you’ve got it quilted the black stripes will read as a single piece of fabric.

In red and white fabrics you’ll get really strong candy cane vibes!

Chevrons

As much as I love a straight line, zigzags or chevrons really tickle my fancy! To get the most from this layout (and the rest that I’m going to cover) you’ll want a strong contrast between the background fabric and the print or main fabrics.

A strong contrast between fabrics will really make your zigs and zags stand out.

Unlike the pinwheel and square layouts you won’t have any areas where 4 HST seams are meeting up, making this one a little easier to sew and eliminating those really bulky seams.

Herringbone

The herringbone layout is another one that really works well when you use a subtle print for the background. Unlike working with solid fabric the print will help the two background sections melt together with the quilting.

The layout is very similar to the chevron/zigzag and if you’re anything like me you’ll have a hard time picking one. In that case, I recommend making two!

Center Square + Off Set Square

The final two layouts are basically the same, were just moving the focal point.

For the Center Square layout, you’ll want to start in the middle and work your way out.

Using the fabrics in this set of layouts (Late October from Sweetwater) you could set it up so one square is all oranges, one is all black/grey prints or so all the orange is on the left, and the black/greys are on the right.

There are lots and lots of options you’ll only find by playing around with your blocks!

If you like the look of the growing squares but the center square is a little too ‘eye of Sauron’ try moving the focal point to the side. You don’t have to go all the way to the top corner as I did, you’ll just have to play around to find something you like.


I wanted to keep things simple for this post but really the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do with half-square triangles. You can combine a few of your favorite layouts into a custom quilt pattern or swap out a few blocks for fussy-cut squares to feature your favorite fabrics.

varity of HST layouts shown in one quilt mock up

What is your favorite way to use half-square triangles in a quilt?


Check out my Quilting page for more info or start here:

cozy corners quilt sewn with red, green, cream and gray flannel displayed in a tree surrounded by snow with text overlay "cozy corners layer cake quilt pattern"