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The Quarter Square Triangle

The quarter inch triangle is a very simple block that will help to illustrate the BIG difference between the quarter square triangle, and the half square triangle.

If you look at the above picture, you will see that the long side of the triangle (the hypotenuse) is on the straight grain of the fabric. 

When you have an edge on the bias, it will not be stable.  It will want to stretch and distort, and even that 1/4-inch seam allowance you have perfected is not going to help you!

Let's take a look at how the quarter square triangle comes about.

First of all, here is some math for you to remember.

If you want to make a "finished block", add 1 1/4 inch to the size of the squares you are going to use to make your quarter square triangles.  For instance, if you want your Quarter Square Triangles to end up at 6 inches finished, you would begin this process with two 7 1/4 inch squares.

If you want to make a "raw block" (the size of the block before sewn to other fabric) , add 3/4 of an inch to the square size for the seam allowance.

In the picture above, I wanted the finished block to end up at 7 1/2 inches.  So I cut two squares at 8 3/4 inches.

Next you put your two blocks right sides together, and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.  This starts out the same way you make half square triangles.

Again, sew 1/4 inch away from both sides of your mark,  and then cut down the drawn line. Press towards the darker fabric.

You now have two half square triangles.  Here is how you turn them into quarter square triangles.

Take the two pieces, and put them right sides together. However, this time you have to pay attention to the colors.  When you put them right sides together, alternate the colors.  In this example, the black would be under the raspberry color on one side, and the raspberry color under the black on the other side.

Draw another diagonal line - this time going from right to left, or opposite of however you did it the time before.

Again, sew 1/4 inch on both sides of your line,  and then again cut them apart on your marked line. Press towards the darker fabric.

When you open your triangle, it should look like the picture at the top of the page.  (You will have two of them)

If you study these pictures, you can see how the bias moves on a half square triangle from the long edge to the short edges with the second step.

When you put squares together in what is called a "diagonal set" you will need a triangle on the end of each row.  This will always be a quarter square triangle so that the edge of the fabric is stable.

If it very important to understand the difference in these triangles.  If you are following a pattern, it will tell you how to cut these triangles.  However, when you start putting things together on your own, you must pay attention to the grain and use the correct triangle.

Block size  -   9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches 

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