How To Make A Wonky Half-Square Triangle Block

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Ever wish you could just sew and not have to worry about matching seams at every turn?

Well then… this Wonky Half-Square Triangle (HST) block is for you. A block made with different HST sizes. We all have them. Dog ears trimmed from the corners. Those Snowball block corners. Also corners trimmed from mitered strips for bindings. Many projects create left-over triangles or triangle-like scrap pieces.

Most of mine came from my Hugs and Kisses quilt.

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I had no idea what to do with all of them. But after tiring of looking at the overflowing bag, I started thinking of what to do without a whole lot of preparation. Minimal fuss.

That’s when I came up with the idea of using them AS IS. “Making them work”, as Tim Gunn from Project Runway would say. I would sew all the different HST’s together with no thought to size. With one exception. I would match up the center seam going down the block.

Want to make a few? OK. Here’s my 3 Step Preparation Process.

1. Go gather up any HST’s you have been collecting.

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2. Go through your scraps and pull out any pieces shaped like a triangle.

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3. And lastly, while sorting through your scraps, pull out any pieces large enough to cut a triangle.

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OK. Now. Cut your scraps into triangles. I cut mine between 2″ and 2 1/2″. Cut a matching white (or white-on-white) fabric. Right sides together. Sew triangles with 1/4″ seam. Chain piece to save time and thread. Sew one triangle after the other. Do not cut thread until all triangles are sewn.

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Cut thread chain. Press triangles open. Cut tips off the corners.

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Now you are ready to build your wonky block. You need 24 HST’s per block. Twenty to form the outside square and four for the center of the block.

Starting with the LEFT side. Select five (5) HST’s and line them up. Mix up the colors and patterns. No repeats in a block. (Refer to photos for placement.)

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TOP. Add five more HST’s.

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RIGHT SIDE. Add five more HST’s.

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BOTTOM. Add five more HST’s.

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CENTER. Add four HST’s.

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When all 24 HST’s are placed, your block should look like this.

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Next. Add White Filler Triangles along the sides.

Using white or white-on-white (WOW), cut strips of 2 1/2″ by WOF. Now cut the strips into 2 1/2″ squares. You will need a lot of these squares depending on how many blocks you make.

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Cut 2 1/2″ squares diagonally down the center.

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Place one white triangle in the empty slots along the block edges according to the photo. Eight per block.

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I like to pin each row so when I am sewing I don’t have to guess which direction the HST should face.

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Sew HST’s together by row. Press strips. Doesn’t matter which direction to press the seams since they probably won’t line up to abut anyway.

Trim strips using the “shortest” HST as your guide.

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Trim top and bottom of the strip.

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When sewing rows together, only be concerned with getting the center HST’s lined up. The rest won’t matter. They will be wonky if you used different sized HST and won’t line up with the adjoining rows. (They may look funny now but in the end, they will be ok.)

Now time to trim the sides of the sewn blocks.

Starting with the right side.

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This is the area you will trim first. See my pencils? That is your guide for ruler placement. Place your see-through ruler with the one inch marking on the edge of the “top” HST and one inch marking on the edge of the “last” HST in THAT SAME ROW. Don’t worry about any wonkiness. The one inch of white will balance it out and create a uniformity of white sashing throughout your quilt top. Go around the block and trim the four longest sides.

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You can also trim the shorter sides of the blocks. They shouldn’t be that much off. Just a tad.

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This is how your Wonky HST Block should look with all sides trimmed.

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One last thing to do to complete your wonky blocks. Add the corner triangles so blocks can be sewn together to form your quilt top.


Select whichever fabric you wish for the four corners. I LOVE Polka Dots!! So that is what I used. Lots of colors.

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(Note: Depending on what size your block ended up, you may wish to experiment with ONE block first. Before you cut all the corners. Cut two. Pin them to your block. Finger press to make sure the corner triangle extends to the edge of your block. So you are NOT cutting into the block when trimming. I started with 4 1/2″ which proved too short. 4 3/4″ or 5″ would have been a better choice. BUT you experiment with one block to make sure your triangles are lined up with the block edges when sewn and pressed.)

Your corners will be added on the longer sides of the block. See my pencils.

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Sew and press corner triangles. Trim side edges as needed.

And DONE!! Repeat to make as many blocks as desired for your quilt top.

Arrange Wonky Blocks to your liking.

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As you can see, most of the wonkiness disappears and is not so noticeable when block is turned diagonally. Diamond shaped.

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This is my quilt top. It measures 56 1/2″ by 57″. I just need to quilt it.

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Hope you will make a few of these Wonky HST Blocks. And hope my tutorial was helpful. Thanks for following along. πŸ˜€

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12 comments on “How To Make A Wonky Half-Square Triangle Block

  1. farmquilter says:

    Great tutorial for all those HSTs I’ve been saving!! Thank you for all the great pictures that really show the steps! πŸ™‚

  2. Deb says:

    You know I wasn’t sure I liked this reading through, but after seeing them on your wall, I really do.

    I’m in the process of cleaning and organizing my craft room. Part of that is starting a new box for you, though it will be a while before its full. At the moment there is a *lot* of pink in there!

    I’m obsessed with knits right now of all things.

    • don_mae says:

      Hi Debra, I hope you will try this. They are really fun to make since you aren’t matching up seams as you go.

      I am forever cleaning and organizing my sewing room. And then I can never find anything. It is no longer in the spot it once was. LOL!! But I do like the clean and organized look. If only for a day or two.

      Thanks for starting a new box of scraps for me. πŸ˜€

  3. Lennette says:

    Fantastic tutorial Donna!!!!! You are so clever and I love love love seeing all of the wonderful projects you make!!!

    • don_mae says:

      Thanks, Lennette. I have just about decided what to do with the fabric you sent me. I had been saving it for a special project and think I know now what I will make. So excited!!

  4. Great tutorial, but somehow, I don’t think I’ve quite got the guts to try this one. But your quilt is almost enough to make me try.

    • don_mae says:

      Hi Stella. I hope you will try it. Looking at the block head on, it does give you a shaky feeling. πŸ˜€

      But when turned on its side, it looks fine. Thanks for visiting me.

  5. cindy says:

    Great tutorial. Thanks for providing a pattern to use up all those wonky HST’s.

  6. Carol says:

    Wow, You made it look sooooo easy!!

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