I've been playing with 60 degree - or equilateral - triangles this past week and made a fun little star quilt block.
So while I was at it, I decided to make a quick and simple tutorial to show how I did it. The equilateral triangle is a fun one to play with. The best part is that they're easy to sew together without any Y seams.
For this project you will want 24 light, low-volume prints, triangles and 12 red triangles, 3 triangles each from 4 different red prints.
There are lots of ways to cut 60 degree, or equilateral triangles. I used a new 4 1/2" triangle die from AccuQuilt, which I love. It makes cutting those triangles so quick and easy. I love that it has the corner tips trimmed, so that you don't have to clip any corners later. There are also little notches on the two bias sides, perfect for helping to match-up seams.
For this project, if you are using a ruler, cut a 4 1/4" wide strip and then use a ruler to cut the 60 degree angles, rotating the ruler to get multiple equilateral triangles from the strip.
Equilateral triangles can also be cut using a regular quilting ruler as long as it has a 60 degree line. Line up the 60 degree lines with the bottom edge of the strip and rotate the ruler to get the equilateral triangle shapes.
Lay out the triangles in the design you want. You will be sewing in them into four straight rows.
Sew the triangles together, rotating the triangles in the same way you did when cutting them.
Make sure to sew a straight seam using an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance to one side.
The quarter inch seam allowance will create a 1/4 inch space from the point of the triangle, leaving the right space for sewing your rows together without cutting off your triangle points.
If you are sewing triangles without the points removed, use the same method. Line up the new adjoining triangle matching up the long straight edge of the new triangle with the straight edge of the row. The tip of the new triangle will hang down below the row. Sew a 1/4" seam and trim the little dog-ear triangle tip.
After your first row is assembled it will look like this.
Press all seams the same direction in each row. You need to press the seam in the right direction before you add the next triangle so that the new seam will hold the previous seam allowance down.
Alternate which direction you press your seams with each row. See above where the first and third rows are pressed to the right and the second and fourth rows the seams are pressed to the left.
Pressing the seams as you sew will help the seams nest and points match up more easily when you sew your rows together.
After rows are sewn together, press rows all the same direction. Trim sides.
Layer block with batting and backing. (Use a piece of muslin for the backing if you are making this into a pillow.) Baste and quilt.
When quilting is done, square up the block. I squared mine to 15" on all four sides. (Your size might be different based on the size of your triangles, seam allowances, etc.) At this point you can bind for a mini quilt.
Over lap the two finished edges and pin in place.
Sew wrong sides together (like a quilt) around the edges using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Cut two 2 1/2" strips of binding fabric. Sew end to end to create one long strip and bind pillow like you would bind a quilt. I chose to do a machine binding this time.
And that's it. I'm such a sucker for red and white.
I've made my block into a pillow and added it to my red and white snowflake pillows that I pull out at Christmas. The thing that I love about red and white is that I can leave them out through Valentine's Day - they're not just for Christmas.
I also pulled out my favorite Kitschy Christmas Quilt yesterday. That one is made from isosceles triangles and sewn together in the same method. I love how triangles throw in a nice variation on traditional patchwork blocks and they make you look tricky and clever to your friends.