I actually use 5 different ways to make half-square triangle units depending on the number and size I need. Using triangle paper is an easy way to make a lot of units using either the same fabric or a lot of different fabrics for a scrap type quilt. Remember you can cut the paper apart to use scraps and even precut strips. In fact, Thangles, the brand I am NOT showing is designed to use precut fabric strips. With Triangles on a Roll and Triangulations, all you have to do is cut the paper before placing it on your fabric to use it for strips or for smaller scraps of fabric.
This Ocean Waves quilt was made using triangle paper. These units are about 1-1/4" square. For this large a quilt, that was sort of crazy, but I love this quilt and it hangs in our loft all the time.
The first step is to choose what triangle paper you want to use. Triangles on a Roll come in a variety of sizes. I've used these a lot and love them. The disadvantage comes when you do not have the size you want on hand and the quilt shop may or may not have the size you need either.
The second paper I'm showing you today is Triangulations by Brenda Henning. It is computer software that you purchase and then you can select almost any size you want to print on your own computer. Be sure to follow the printing directions for if you do not you might not have the correct size printed. You must select that you do not want your printer to scale it. It is best if you use paper designed for paper piecing, but you can use regular 8-1/2 x 11 printer paper -- it is just a bit harder to remove. The version of Triangulations I have is 2, but with the newer version, you also get quarter square triangles. That is a major improvement, I would say!
For the actual making of the triangles units, both papers work the same way.
First layer your dark and light fabrics right sides together with the light fabric on top.
Keep the size of the fabrics about a fat eighth. If you try to have too long a piece, it becomes a problem when you stitch. You can cut the paper into strips of squares for smaller precut strips of fabric or for scraps. You will always cut on the SOLID line on both of these papers. The dotted lines are for stitching.
Pin the paper to the fabric so it will not shift.
Pin where you will not be stitching as shown above.
This is just one strip of Triangles on a Roll. For the 1-1/2" finished triangle units, a precut 2-1/2" strip of fabric fits nicely. If you have a small square or rectangle of fabric, you could cut whatever size you need from the triangle paper as long as you cut on the solid lines.
Triangles on a roll have 3 rows across and as long as you want it to be. I use shorter and you will see why later. You will want your fabric lightly wider and longer than the size paper you cut from the roll.
Triangulations also prints out the same configuration for the 1-1/2" finished half-square triangle units. That means you will need just over 8-1/2 x 11 of the fabrics as well. I always have the fabric slightly larger than the paper. This will trim off later. This is a good size to work with for ease in stitching and will result In 24 half-square triangle units. Other sizes of units, obviously print out in different configurations.
Select a short stitch length before you begin to stitch. I use the 1-1/2 setting on my Bernina 1230.
You will stitch on the dotted lines. Note that on a strip, you may not always be able to stitch in the direction of the arrows. This is NOT a problem, just continue to stitch on the dotted line and it will work out in the end.
You can see in this photo why a longer piece of fabric could be a problem as it would need to be rolled when the larger portion goes in the arm of the machine. If you are using stiffer paper, it might distort your stitching line and you don't want that.
The strip and the larger sheets are all stitched and ready to cut apart. This is where the magic begins to happen!
Cut the excess on the outside edges first.
Cut the long strips first
Then turn them sideways to cut into squares. You may want to use the lines on your mat to help guide you.
Once you have cut the squares, you can again use the lines on the mat to line up the next cut.
Place your ruler on the diagonal line to cut the squares into triangles.
By cutting several at a time, this process goes faster.
Fold the paper on the stitch line to make it easier to remove.
This is TV or telephone work to me. Pull off the paper.
Next check the size and rotary cut the dog ears.
You are now ready to press the seams.
I know it's against the "rules", but I often press open especially on the smaller hs triangle units.
See what a nice unit you get with this method!
I usually check to make sure the unit measures what it should. In this case, two inches for a 1-1/2" finished hs triangle unit. Perfect! If not, trim the slivers off, you will be glad when you start sewing the units together!
And there you have it. A lot of half square triangles in just a few minutes of stitching time. Those little stacks above are 56 half square triangle units done very quickly.
Hope you will give this method a try.