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Machine Minute - Quarter Square Triangles

Quarter square triangles are a common quilting unit. These tips will help your points come together perfectly.

Today's Machine Minute is brought to you by Baby Lock
and the Symphony machine. Quarter square triangles or hourglass blocks
are another common unit that quilters use. But how do
you get those points to come together effortlessly when you're
sewing by machine? I've got a few tricks to share
with you. To begin with, when you're cutting quarter square
triangles, you have two different fabrics placed right sides together.
You'll use your ruler and rotary cutter to cut your
first diagonal line from corner to corner. Now, because you
have bias edges, you don't want to do a lot
of moving of your pieces so if you can swivel
your mat instead of swiveling the pieces, that's preferable. Then
you're going to make a second cut. You're basically cutting
diagonally in an X through your two squares. And what
you'll end up with is four pairs of triangles. You've
got one of each fabric. Now, the bias edges are
these, and you're going to be sewing those together and
they have more stretch than the straight-grain edge. What you
want to do is feed first the 90-degree angle or
that straight edge through. So when you're ready to sew
them together in pairs, put your presser foot down, align
your quarter-inch mark, and begin sewing along that 90-degree edge.
You can sew these as a chain, so that you
can take multiple pairs and you don't have to clip
your threads in between. You can just feed the next
pair right under there, making sure as I said that
you keep the same fabric on top. When you're done,
what you'll end up is a chain of your triangle
pairs sewn together. You can clip those apart and open
them up and press those seams open, so that you
end up with pairs that look like this. Now it's
time to match those pairs together. We'll put them, again,
right sides together and we'll nest the center seam. And
here is a place I like to place just one
pin to hold that seam straight and make sure that
intersection comes out cleanly. Now I don't have a choice
like I did before of choosing the 90-degree side. I
have to go in with my point first into the
presser foot. But I've got a little trick for you
there, too, and it's using a little bit of scrap
fabric, just called a leader cloth to many people. And
the scrap fabric you can start under the needle. All
you are trying to do is begin stitching, get your
stitching line to come even and to go all the
way to the edge of those points. So I'll put
that little leader strip in there, and I'll start sewing.
And I'll guide the tip of my triangle under the
presser foot. And then my stitching will go all the
way from edge to edge. But at this point, I've
sewn the long seam and I am ready to open
up and press and complete my hourglass block. It's an
easy way to do quarters square triangles and to make
sure your points come out perfect every time.