Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Joining a patterned backing and tiny half square triangles

Today I will prepare the backing for my Cherry Blossom quilt.  I've had this fabric in my stash for years just waiting for the right quilt and this is it!

I bought the fabric for $3/m from Fabricland. The organic nature of the print really appeals to me and I've backed another quilt with the same fabric but in a different colourway. It too is a nine patch quilt!

I want the print to line up so that it is a seamless print. I've pinned it to determine where the print matches up (just like working with a patterned wallpaper).

I'll turn under the edge of one of the fabrics along the entire length and I'll give it a good press with starch. Next I'll use my Roxanne Glue Baste-It to glue the folded edge to the quilt making sure to line up the print. I'll carefully fold the backing with right sides together and I'll sew on the pressed line. The excess fabric will be trimmed and the seam pressed open. I'll finish the backing and the top with a nice pressing with spray starch and then I'll be ready to baste it for quilting! Yahoo!

I use my scraps to make 3" finished nine patches but I also use them to make half square triangles. Two 2" squares will make two half square triangles that finish at 1". I'm sure most of you know the method but for those who don't this is how I made them for my quilt Cherry Blossom.

You will need two 2" squares, one light and one darker. These little half square triangle really benefit from a light spritz of spray starch before you start sewing.

On the lighter 2" square draw a line from corner to corner with your favourite fabric marker. Place the two squares with the right sides together and make sure everything lines up. Personally I like to pin because I can make a stack of squares that I can use as leaders and enders and if they are pinned they are ready to go under the sewing machine needle with no fussing.

Sew 1/4" away from either side of the pencil line. Press to embed the seam.

Cut on the diagonal line. In this example I was a little off on my cutting but it doesn't make a difference.

These blocks are small so to avoid bulk I recommend that you press the seams open.

Trim up the square so that it measures 1 1/2". To do this line up the left and bottom sides of your block on the 1 1/2" marks on your ruler making sure that the 45 degree angle on your ruler also lines up with the diagonal line in your block. Trim the block with your rotary cutter and then use your scissors to trim the points on the opposite corner.

Sometimes the little block isn't quite square so follow the process outlined above to trim up on corner of the block and then turn it to trim the other side so that the finished block measures 1 1/2".

The finished half square triangles look wonky in the picture but that is just the camera angle...they do measure 1 1/2" and they are square!

Get yourself a clear plastic bag or clear box to store the half square triangles. When you need them they will be ready for your project.

I went out it the garden this morning to see if anything is blooming and look who was out for a stroll - Horse Girl! Is that a suitcase she is carrying or just a really big purse? Whatever it is I like it! Wonder what she has inside?

Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. I am sitting here properly belly laughing at the idea of being your neighbour and peeking out of the window to see you setting up "horse girl" (equipped with suitcase) in your garden for that shot... I spent the other day chasing my yorkshire terrier around the garden for a urine sample (not easy!). Us quilting types will be getting a reputation for being slightly potty if we're not careful :).

    Looking forward to seeing how you plan to quilt your Cherry Blossom Quilt xxx

    1. I think it is a foregone conclusion that we quilty types are potty! One need look no further than our fabric stashes!