Hi! This week, I decided to talk about bias seams, specifically when making half-square triangle (HST) squares and flying geese. Learning to make these units will open up a whole range of quilt blocks if you are a beginner. Whether you are new to quilting or a seasoned sewer, it’s always a great time for tips on making these units.
Straight seams and Bias Seams
If you are new to quilting, you have probably worked mostly with straight seams and not seams on the bias. To start, I’ll explain what the bias of fabric is. Bias of the fabric is at a 45 degree angle from the selvages of a piece of fabric.
On the bias fabric is the least stable and there is more stretch. That’s why it’s important to stitch your HST or flying geese units correctly the first time so you do not have to do any “unsewing”. If you have to pick out a seam on the bias, there is more of a chance that you will distort and stretch the fabric, ruining the piece. Not to say you can not ever pick out one of these seams, you just need to be super, super careful because it’s on the bias.
Here is the simplest explanation of the two types of seams. A straight seam is right there in the description: straight. Putting two units together and sewing straight on the lengthwise or crosswise grain. For example, two squares stitched together:
A bias seam is when you join two pieces of fabric matching the bias cut sides:
Making Half-Square Triangle (HST) Squares
So now that you know the difference between straight seams and bias seams, lets make some HSTs!
The most common method makes two HSTs at a time and uses two squares cut 7/8″ larger than the finished measurement (the measurement without seam allowance) of your HST. For example, for a 2″ HST, you would cut each of the squares 2 7/8″.
Next, draw a line diagonally on the wrong side of one of the squares, place the squares right sides together and then sew a scant 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line.
Then, you cut the unit apart on the drawn line and press the two parts open for two HSTs!
Making Flying Geese
Flying geese are another unit that has you sewing a bias seam. The most common method is using a rectangle and two squares. For example, for a 2 1/2 x 4 1/2″ flying geese unit, you start with a 2 1/2 x 4 1/2″ rectangle and two 2 1/2 x 2 1/2″ squares.
To start, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the squares. Lay a square face down on the rectangle, stitch on the line and then trim the excess seam allowance. Press open.
Repeat the step on the other side of the rectangle for a finished flying geese unit.
Blocks to Make
Now that you know how to make these units, here’s some simple blocks to make for a quilt project.
Using flying geese in blocks:
Using HSTs in blocks:
Here’s some blocks where I have combined flying geese and HST units:
And those are just a few of the examples. There are many, many more combinations that will make stunning blocks.
So, that’s it for this week. If you are a beginner, I hope you learned something. If you are an experienced quilter, I hope you weren’t too bored. LOL! Next week, I plan on covering ways to make multiples of the HSTs and flying geese units so you can make a lot at once. Leave a comment and be entered into a drawing for my quilt pattern Posey Patch.
You’ll get a lot of HST practice making this quilt! The drawing will be on Monday, October 5th. **We have a winner! Congrats, Linda Dunton!**