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Sewing Triangles Equals Sewing on the Bias

by Jennifer Houlden

Yesterday, as you know, the quick and easy quilt blocks from strip piecing became binding, which, I must say, is pretty cool looking. I created a whole new fabric for the binding! It has been set aside and I’m back at the drawing board to create the center of this holiday runner and add another row or two. Sewing triangles equals sewing on the bias, but it also means an interesting border which looks like it is on point.

First of all, for the center of the quilt, cut 1 – 3″ x WOF from the background fabric and sub cut into 6 – 3″ x 6 ½″ rectangles.

Sew a rectangle to one side of each Star of Hope block. Press the seam towards the rectangle for a nice flat seam.

Star block with extra piece added

Star block with extra piece added

Sew the 6 star blocks together so they alternate within the center. There are no seams to match if done this way. Do be careful not to cut off the star points when you sew the blocks together.

They will look like this and the piece should measure 9″ x 36½″ at this time.

Six stars sewn together to make center

Six stars sewn together to make center

From the second coordinating fabric – mine is the green with snowflakes – cut 2 – 1½″ strips. Measure the length of the center piece and cut the two strips to that length, which should be 36½″. It’s important to cut the strip at the exact size to ensure the quilt remains square. Using a piece that’s too long and gets trimmed off will not ensure a square quilt.

Pin and sew the strips to the long sides of the center piece. I sewed with the strip underneath with the quilt center on top so I could see all the previous seams and not clip off any of my star points.

Green border added to top and bottom

Green border added to top and bottom

Triangles & on the Bias

On the bias means that the fabric has been cut on a 45 degree diagonal across the lengthwise and crosswise grains of the fabric.This results in very stretchy fabric, which is not so great for quilters. In quilting this stretch is not good when piecing blocks together as they can become misshapen and blocks or quilts won’t be square.

It’s important that the pieces cut on the bias are handled as little as possible and not stretched or pulled when sewn to other pieces. Pinning the pieces together does help them to keep their shape. Some people also use spray starch on the bias edge to stabilize it and prevent it from stretching.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of sewing triangles on the bias and look for much easier ways to create triangles within my work. One way is by using half square triangles or quarter square triangles as we did for the Star of Hope block.

I’ve decided to go with the surefire method of the quarter square triangles for this border and not have to worry about my pieces stretching and being out of shape. The only difference in the look of the two construction methods is there will be a seam in the feature fabric square with the QSTs, whereas, with the bias method, there would be no seam.

Another bonus of using QSTs is there are more layout options.

Making Half Square Triangles

This time we will make the HSTs with a different method than the grid method that was used at the beginning of the week.

From the feature fabric and background fabric, cut 9 – 4″ squares. Draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner on the wrong side of the lightest fabric, which, in my case, is the background fabric.

Place the background fabric on top of the feature fabric square with right sides together facing up. Sew a ¼″ seam on either side of the line. Chain sewing works great to get the job done faster.

Cut apart along the line.

Cut apart along the line

Cut apart along the line

Press open towards the darker fabric, which, for me, is the feature fabric. Make 18.

Red & white HST

Red & white HST

Cut 18 – 3½″ squares from Fabric C (coordinating fabric). Use these squares to make quarter square triangles the same way as on Day 2. Make 36 in total and square off to 2½″.

Two 3-colored QSTs

Two 3-colored QSTs

Making the Border

There are 4 different layouts that these QSTs can create. Here’s a sample of each.

Border Option #1

Ribbon-like border

Ribbon-like border

Border Option #2

Red squares with white mountain peaks

Red squares with white mountain peaks

Border Option #3

White squares with red mountain peaks

White squares with red mountain peaks

Border Option #4

This border option has red squares flanked by white triangles between green parallelograms and if you were to turn the HSTs around 180 degrees there would be white squares flanked by red triangles.

Red squares with green parallelograms

Red squares with green parallelograms

Choose the layout you would like to use and sew the squares together into a long strip of 18 QSTs. Make 2.

Depending which border you choose, you may need to create another 18 QSTs since they are not all oriented the same way, which we learned when making the Star of Hope block.

Sewing triangles equals sewing on the bias and, boy, wasn’t making the quarter square triangles so much easier than sewing on the bias for this border?

I’ll give you some time to finish the border and catch up with the rest of the project, if needed. Next month we’ll sew the borders in place, sandwich, quilt, and use that cool binding we made this week to finish off the holiday table runner in time for the holidays.

Happy Quilting

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