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Quilting Shortcut: the Eight Square Method

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There are so many quilts you can make with triangles, or rather triangle squares.  I showed you a tutorial on how to make these with my pinwheel quilt, but here is a faster way.  I call it the Eight Square Method. (Ps I’m sure I did not invent this but I don’t know what it’s really called…please tell me if you know!)

I was planning on making a 7×7 square, so I cut my squares 14×14. If you want to make a 5×5, cut it 10×10, doubling or rather quadrupling the size. Place your squares right sides together. Then fold them in half diagonally. Then fold that triangle in half again. Iron down your creases and open it up again so you have an ironed-in ‘X’.

Next, line the inner edge of your presser foot up with the crease to sew a 1/4″ seam all the way down.  Sew 1/4″ seams on either side of each crease, so you come out with a total of 4 seams.

Square up the square on your cutting mat and cut right down the center on both parallels (up and down and side to side).  You will have four small squares.

Then cut on the crease of each smaller square, cutting into two triangles.  Open them up and you should have eight triangle squares.

I really love this method. It just seemed so much faster than the other way, even though I’m not sure it is. But whatever, Ima keep on doing it.  These quilt blocks are so flexible, you can make zig zag quilts or pinwheels or just simple triangles…and whatever else you can dream up!


  1. Thanks. I don’t think I tried this method before.

  2. I don’t understand how you figure out the size. If I want a 3 1/2″ square that will be 3″ finished, what size do I cut my big square?

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      I’m not awesome at math, but I would do it 7×7.

      1. It looks to me like you double what size you wanted. So if you wanted a 7×7 you did a 14×14. So if you wanted a 3 1/2 to double that would be a 7×7. Try it on a scrap piece of fabric.

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. A very good idea!! The good thing about this method – the sides are still on the straight of the grain. No bias edges. There is one method where you need to be very careful and use spray sizing because the sides end up as bias edges. When I use this method, I think I’d be more comfortable making lines with pencil instead of relying on the pressed indentation to follow.

  4. Tina, actually there is a pretty simple reliable formula you can use. For the cut size of the squares of each half square triangle, you would add 7/8″ to what you want your finished size HST square to end up. So in your case, if you want 3″ triangle squares, you would first cut fabric squares 3 7/8″. If you only cut them 3 1/2″ they will end up being too small by a quarter of an inch.For Heidi’s technique of doing 8 at once (4 squares) you would need two contrasting pieces 7 3/4″ sq. (2 x 3 7/8 = 7 3/4) Some people round up to an inch larger and just trim and square each one before piecing into the quilt.

    1. Thanks Kathy, that’s what I was trying to type and failed.. fingers got in the way. It was drilled into my head many, many years ago…

    2. Wish I read down this far before I finished ALL the squares, down to the cutting! Ughhhh! I am sick! I think that 7/8 was in my gray matter – and I questioned in my mind! I should have done ONE to check it before I did them all!

      1. Sue, I have been doing this for a long time but I do find the triangles are a Tiny Bit bigger.
        It doesn’t really matter as long as they are consistent.

  5. Great idea, even quicker yet is to lay 2 squares together and sew all the way around and cut in diagonal one way then cut the other way. Same result less stitching. Love your work.

    1. Yes that is quicker and less sewing, however you then have bias edges to deal with when you join it to the next block or sashing, etc. Bias edges can be a bit tricky for some to handle.

    2. Angela,
      No…not the same result. That’s a great method too, but that gives you four HSTs. Heidi’s method gives you eight HSTs

      1. Years ago I was in a class that used the Magic Base Block method that was like this. Must be about 20 years ago.

    3. Jenny Blackney says:

      this is by far the easiest method. I have tried this many times and works really well.

  6. Cheryl Reed says:

    I’m making chevron puff quilts for my twin grand daughters. I’m finding it hard to sew the Puff Pockets together. They are to poofy and will not fit under the presser foot. Any Tips? Thanks

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      It sounds like you stuffed the puffs too full. But you can just press them as flat as you can. Good luck!

    2. Ms. Cheryl. I am not promoting this site, but they do have some great tutorial on you tube. Just the other day I watched a tutorial in this very subject. It is the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I have personally tried their trick with a “regular” quilt (after watching the tutorial you will get this), and discovered that if you sew just the top and side edges of the quilt (I goofed and had ithe top completely pieced together-I’m bad-) I then just sewed down the sides of 1 squares, stuffed the pockets with a SMALL amount of stuffing, stitched all the way across to the seal the pockets, it worked amazingly well. The key was, to not use as much stuffing as you think it will need. You do not want the pockets full, just “poofy”.

  7. Lyn O'Bannon says:

    Another way to make half square triangle blocks–so easy and quick! Layer 2 squares of your choice together, and sew 1/4 in all the way around the complete square…all 4 sides. Using ruler, rotary cut across the square from left top to right bottom corners for larger 1/2 sq triangle, or if you wanted smaller ones, make a 2nd cut from the right top corner to the left bottom corner without moving the fabric. (2 cuts total) Poof! 4 new blocks! Super easy.

  8. I am glad to see this out on the web even though the post is several years old. I just made a Queen size Jacob’s ladder quilt where I was using Moda layer cakes for the HSTs. I did draw an x from corner to corner on the fabric as I found it more accurate. sewing 1/4 inch on each side of the lines, cutting it into the eight HSTs and then squaring up the HSTs to 4 1/2″ made for an amazing quilt. It did take time to square them up but it was worth it. TV time was put to good use. I used a jelly roll and an extra charm pack to make the four patches and voila- a wonderful patchwork quilt.

  9. I absolutely LOVE this idea & tutorial–at least I love it since I finally got my head around it, and could visualize how it works out! Sometimes I’m slow like that!! I’m presently making a pinwheel quilt, and I wish I’d seen this about a zillion HST’s ago!! I still have more to produce, however, so all is not lost!! I can try this technique for myself! Thank you so much!!!

  10. Tercia Félix says:

    Gostei muito… usarei a técnica. agradecida. abçs

  11. How do I purchase this pattern? I want to make a twin puff quilt with the zig zag option (like the yellow polka dot and white chevron top and blue backing that you made). I found it as a rag quilt but have you ever made it with a different binding option?

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      My patterns are available for purchase on my sidebar or in my etsy shop. etsy.com/honeybearlane

  12. Awesome! I am going to give it a try

  13. Thank you so much. This has made things so kuch easier and saved me so much time. Appreciate it.

  14. I thought this was very confusing. Why did I iron a diagonal “x” if I am to sew side to side? I am confused how I get the HST. Sorry.

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