How to make 1/2-square triangles the easy way by Nancy Zieman



One of the easiest places to start quilting is with a 1/2-square triangle. I’ll show you how to create this traditional quilting staple without fussing around bias-cut edges. Make the block unit easily, the no-hassle way, in this week’s episode of Sewing With Nancy, which features blocks from my book, No-Hassle Triangles Quilt Blocks.

During the first episode on Sewing With Nancy, learn to create six different blocks, all made with 1/2-square triangles. During the second episode—next week’s feature—learn about 1/4-square triangles. Here’s a sneak peek into this week’s Sewing With Nancy episode!

The Box Quilt (1898)

One of the more streamline quilt blocks to create from 1/2-square triangles is the Box Quilt. First illustrated in print in 1898, it’s created with eight 1/2-square triangle blocks and a square. The design has great movement, reminding me of a pinwheel.


How to Make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman



Shadow Play

Instead of making all the 1/2-square triangles from the same fabrics, stitch together three different color combos. I call this block, Shadow Play, where the fabric choices create the impact.


How to Make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman



Godey Design

Godey’s Lady’s Book was a monthly magazine published in Philadelphia between 1830 and 1876. Before the Civil War, it was the most widely circulated magazine in the United States. Sarah Josepha Hall was the editor of the magazine from 1837 to 1877; she also wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb. One of the designs featured in the magazine in 1858 was simply called, Godey Design.


How to Make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman



Square in a Square

When researching quilt block names, I found literally dozens of quilt blocks named Square in a Square. With seemingly limitless geometric options with squares, no wonder it’s a common name. Regardless, it’s an attractive block all designed with 1/2-square triangles.


How to make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman



May Basket

May Basket is another frequently used name for a quilt block. I also found this block named, Cactus Flower. Your fabric choice will dictate the name. This version combines two sizes of finished triangles: 3-1/2″ and 6-1/2″, giving the block a center focal point.


How to make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman



Nancy’s Spool

This block may or may not be an original arrangement of 1/2-square triangles. My guess is that it has been created before, but since I couldn’t find it in print, I boldly named it Nancy’s Spool.


How to make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman



How to Make 1/2-Square Triangles

During the TV episode, I share how to easily make the above blocks as well as basic 2-1/2″, 3-1/2″, 4-1/2″, 5-1/2″ and 6-1/2″ half-square triangles. (Next week, learn 1/4-square triangle tips!) There’s no hassle and no need to cut a single triangle! The measurements are printed on the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge that I designed for Clover.


Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover Needlecraft




Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover Left Side IMG_4158




Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4203



  • Lay the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge onto squares to double-check the block size. If the block set is larger or smaller than the confines of the gauge, recut the blocks.


Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4137




Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4142



  • Stitch a scant 1/4″ from each side of the center marking.


Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4144



  • Cut along the center diagonal line.


Nancy Zieman No-Hassle Triangle Gauge from Clover IMG_4988



  • Presto, there are now two accurate 1/2-square triangles!


Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4152



Just click and watch No-Hassle Triangle Quilts online! You’ll see all the details for creating these six precision-made quilt blocks.

Make This Sampler Quilt at Home

The No-Hassle Triangles Quilt book shows exactly how to make the 12-block sampler quilt. Hint: the remaining six blocks will be featured next week. For best results, use the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge


How to make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman



Watch No-Hassle Triangles Quilt Blocks (Part One) on Sewing With Nancy online.

To watch Sewing With Nancy on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, download the app.



For a chance to win a No-Hassle Triangles Gauge from Clover, please leave a comment sharing which of these six 1/2-square triangle blocks is your favorite. The six quilt block titles are listed below and pictured above.

  • The Box Quilt
  • Shadow Play
  • Godey Design
  • Square in a Square
  • May Basket
  • Nancy’s Spool

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The random winner of a copy of the Magic Patterns book, compliments of Amy Barickman, is Pam Hopp. She said: What a fabulous concept! Looking forward to watching the series.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Content in this feed is © copyright 2016 by Nancy Zieman and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward the email to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.
Make sure you are subscribed to my enews mailing list so you won’t miss a thing. Sign up here. Join us on Facebook, plus a host of other social media channels. Connect With Nancy today!
image_pdf