Quilting Blog

How to Sew a Half-Rectangle Triangle in Any Size

Half-rectangle triangles may seem just like half-square triangles, but they’re not quite the same. Half-rectangle triangles require a little more planning, but once you get the hang of it, you can use these shapes to bring a whole new design element to your quilting.

What is a half-rectangle triangle?

A half-triangle rectangle is just that: an elongated triangle that forms half a rectangle. This shape can be used to make diamonds, zig zags and other interesting quilt designs.

half-triangle rectangle

How to construct half-rectangle triangle units

Most quilters’ first instinct is to make a half-triangle rectangle the same way they make half-square triangles. 

But I’ll let you in on a secret: This doesn’t work! You can see below that you end up with an odd kite shape.

A little more planning goes into sewing a half-triangle rectangle.

Guidelines for sewing half-rectangle triangles

There isn’t a hard and fast formula to make half-rectangle triangles, but there are guidelines you can follow.

Start with the same size rectangle you want to finish with, and then add ¼” to the width and ½” to the length.

So, if you want the resulting half-rectangle triangle to be 3½” x 7½”, start with two 3¾” x 8″ rectangles. These half-triangle rectangles would finish at 3½” x 7½”.

Easy half-rectangle triangles tutorial

Start with two rectangle fabric pieces.

I recommend using rectangles that have a 1:2 ratio for the length and width. A 1:2 ratio will result in a wider half-triangle rectangle rather than a long skinny shape. As the rectangle gets skinnier, it gets more difficult to work with.

This tutorial doesn’t require you to trim your half-triangle rectangles. If your units are coming out too small, increase the size a bit and then trim back down to the proper size. 

Step 1: 

Stack the two contrasting rectangles with all fabrics right side up.  

Step 2:

Cut each rectangle on the diagonal. Keep in mind that each diagonal will make a half-rectangle triangle that goes in one direction. In this case, I’m cutting each pair of rectangles in the opposite directions.

Step 3:

Sew the cut triangles back together, using two different fabrics and leaving a ¼” overlap on each side. Use a ¼”seam allowance.

half-triangle rectangle

Tip: Use starch to prevent the bias edges from stretching.

 

Step 4:

Press the half-rectangle triangles open. Each pair of half-rectangle triangles is going in the opposite direction.

Four of these half-rectangle triangles make an elongated diamond. You can easily repeat these steps to make multiple diamonds or other shapes. 

Make any size half-triangle rectangle

This same method works to make just about any size half-rectangle triangle. Below is a skinnier rectangle. These starting rectangles are 2¾” x 8″. The resulting half-triangle rectangles are 2½” x 8″.

Now we have two diamond shapes the same height but different widths. Experiment with different size starting rectangles to get various half-rectangle triangles.

A common problem for diamond units

My first instinct was to sew the half-rectangle triangles together below to make diamond blocks. The side seam allowances kept coming up short, as you can see below.

half-triangle rectangle

A simple solution to this seam allowance problem is to use a bigger seam allowance. To create a diamond shape, first sew the top two half-triangle rectangles together.  Then sew the bottom two half-triangle rectangles together. 

Now comes the step where the seam allowance will change.  Use a 3/8″ or ½” seam allowance when sewing the top and bottom units together.

Now that you know how to sew half-rectangle triangles, you can start dreaming up new quilt designs using this shape!

11 Comments

Christina in SW FL

Positively brilliant, thank you!

Reply
Wrighax

Great tutorial. —However, under skinnier rectangle. Don’t you mean start with a rectangle that is 2 & 3/4 by 8 & 1/2? Also, a phrase — “Increase the initial cut length measurement to account for the increased seam width” —I guess that is obvious. —Anyway, very cool. Thanks!

Reply
Karen

I agree. 8-1/2 agrees with their previously stated instructions.

Reply
Joy

Thanks so much for this article. Who knew half rectangle triangles would be so different?

Reply
Kelly Wicklund

Thank you this is awesome!!

Reply
Lynn

This was Great article. I’ve always steered clear of making them,but now that I know the secret I’ll give it a try.
Thanks for the info

Reply
JustOneVoice

I had always thought making half rectangle triangles would be the same as half square triangles. Boy would I have waisted a lot of fabric trying to figure that one out. Thank you for the lesson. It was very informative.

Reply
Mary

Thanks….great tutorial!

Reply
Clairequilty

Thank you for this valuable information. I’ve been struggling with HRTs and this answers my questions.

Reply
lenovo customer support

I read the full article here I think should apply this thanks to giving me worthy content.

Reply
Mary

What a revelation! Thank you.

Reply

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