How to Quilt Triangles


Quilts are often made of half-square triangles. The triangles may be one size or may vary depending on the design. Piecing can be difficult, but with a few tricks, you can simplify the process and ensure a perfect fit for your blocks and rows. This will make the quilting process easier and allow you to enhance the piecing with decorative machine or hand quilting in any design motif.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Rotary cutter or scissors
  • Cutting mat and quilt ruler
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Batting
  • Graph paper
  • Pencil


  • Draw your triangle quilt ideas on the graph paper. Establish a scale for the squares so you know what size to cut your pieces. Some triangle quilts are half-squares formed into 9-patch or 16-patch blocks. Other triangle quilts may be free-form and have various-sized blocks included. Whatever design you choose, determine a general block size to make assembly easier. Blocks can then be assembled into rows.

  • Determine the size of the pieces to cut the triangles. Some people recommend a 1/4-inch seam allowance around each piece. Others recommend up to 1-inch seam allowances so the assembled pieces may be trimmed to fit. This is a judgment call for the quilter, but be consistent.

  • Cut your triangles. Arrange the triangles into the blocks you designed. You can assemble them by hand or by machine. Press seams open as you as you assemble pieces.

  • Stitch the completed blocks together to make rows, and then stitch the rows together to complete your quilt top. Press the quilt top from the underside, pressing seams open. Press from the top before layering with batting.


  • Layer your triangle quilt top, your batting, and your ironed quilt backing together. Make sure you have no wrinkles or puckers. Baste, pin, or place the layers in a quilt frame to prepare for quilting.

  • Draw the quilting design you prefer on your graph paper. Some triangle quilts can be quilted around the inside of each triangle. Elaborate feather and swirl designs can also work with triangles. Draw a design you would like, or draw several and select the one you like best.

  • The quilting may be done by hand by cutting out mylar templates of your quilting design. Trace your drawing on mylar, then cut your lines out using a craft knife and cutting mat. Trace the design with washable pencil onto your quilt top. It may be easier to trace one block as a time, as the pencil may fade before all the blocks are stitched. Using a quilting needle and thimble, quilt the layers together using small, even stitches. By placing your non-dominant hand under the quilt, you can use your middle finger to redirect the needle up more quickly to make small stitches.

  • If you prefer to machine quilt, make decisions based on the size of the quilt. You may be able to machine quilt a large quilt by doing a block at a time on a standard sewing machine, but roll up the remainder of the quilt to prevent ripples in the fabric. Small quilts, such as baby quilts and wall hangings, are much easier to quilt on a home sewing machine.

  • If the triangle quilt is large, have it quilted professionally. Work with the quilter on incorporating your ideas into the final quilt.

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