How to Master Half-Rectangle Triangles With or Without Special Rulers

April 5, 2024

Who’s a fan of half-rectangle triangles? These sophisticated cousins to the half-square triangle are becoming increasingly popular, adding a slightly unexpected element to otherwise simple design motifs.

Half-Rectangle Triangles

The half-square triangle is one of the first block units most quilters encounter in their quilting journey, and the half-rectangle triangle (HRT) unit has similar construction principles with two key differences:

  1. You typically construct these units one at a time rather than in multiple.
  2. Trimming the units is slightly tricky since the stitched line does not run exactly from corner to corner.

Once you know what to watch for, these units are easy and fun to incorporate into your quilting designs.

1:6 and 1:2 Half-Rectangle Triangles made using the HuRTy 1 Ruler

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Creating Half-Rectangle Triangles with the Tools You Already Have

Do you need any specialty tools to make half-rectangle triangles? No, although it does make the process easier. 

I created a video demonstrating the techniques to develop HRT units without specialty tools.

Specialty HRT Rulers

This process shown above is excellent if you are only making a few HRT units. However, if you plan a quilt featuring many HRT units, you will likely want to invest in a specialty HRT ruler such as the HuRTy or Bloc Loc. These rulers each have advantages.

If you decide you are ready to purchase a specialty ruler, you can use the link below to get 20% OFF almost everything at Missouri Star Quilt Company during April 2024. (Or 15% OFF most other times.)

The HuRTy Specialty Ruler

Latifa Saafir Studios created the HuRTy, which was developed to do both the pre-cutting and trimming of half-rectangle triangles. For this project, I used the HuRTy 1, which has several features:

  • Makes HRT units with both 1:2 and 1:6 proportions 
  • Creates units measuring up to 6″x 12″
  • You can press seam allowances either open or to the side
  • The instructions included with the ruler are very clear, and you can see the ruler in action here:
Using the HuRTy 1 to cut the pieces for Half-Rectangle Triangles
Using the HuRTy 1 to trim Half-Rectangle Triangles

There are several additional videos available that give even more information about the HuRTy 1 ruler, but these two were the ones I found to be the most useful.

The Bloc Loc HRT Specialty Ruler

The Bloc Loc rulers make the trimming process for HRT units particularly simple. It features:

  • A groove to capture and align the seam allowance, making the alignment for trimming easy
  • Makes HRT units with 1:2 proportions
  • Creates units measuring up to 4″x 8″
  • The instructions included with the ruler are clear, and you can see the ruler in action here:

Creating an HRT Cushion


Most of the fabrics used in this cushion cover are primarily cyanotype prints I created last month. As I made the HRT units, I realized that incorporating another light print would benefit the overall design. I added a commercial white and blue stripe with tan dots, which I found in my stash.

I wanted to show off the cyanotype prints in the design, so 1:2 HRT proportions would be the most effective for this project. I also cut the components to fit the largest possible pieces on the available fabric. The finished size of the HRT units is 3.5″ x 7″.

Piecing and Trimming

The HuRTy was fantastic for cutting rows of triangle components without cutting individual rectangles first. 

Once I stitched the HRT units, I trimmed them using the HuRTy and the Bloc_Loc Rulers. 

The Bloc_Loc was the easiest to use for trimming, but if I had to invest in just one ruler, I would select the HuRTy. Its versatility in HRT proportion, size, and usefulness in pre-cutting make it the best option.

Trimmed half-rectangle triangle blocks made with cyanotype fabric


This cushion will land on a daybed, so it will see actual and decorative use. To help it hold up over time, I quilted it with a diamond grid with approximately 1/2″ spacing. This quilting density maintains a soft feel, but adds stability to a piece that will get used for years.

I used 40-weight white thread for the quilting lines going through the light sections of the diamond motif to enhance the lighter color. I quilted the darker blue sections with 50-weight Aurifil 2783.

Quilted cushion cover top

The Finished Cushion

I like a zipper closure on my quilted cushions, so I created a lapped zipper opening that nicely holds the pillow insert in place.

The back of the cushion cover with a lapped zipper closure

The cushion fits a large bed pillow. I had a bit of fringe trim available, which wasn’t enough to go around the entire edge but was the perfect accent for the ends of the cushion.

The finished HRT cushion with fringe trim

Note: Missouri Star Quilt Company provided the cyanotype fabric and HuRTy ruler used in this post. I purchased the other items included in this post. All designs and opinions in this blog are accurate and based on my own experiences.

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  • Reply
    April 5, 2024 at 9:35 am

    Thank you so much for the tutorial on HRTs.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2024 at 10:21 am

    I like the half-rectangle block. My preferred ruler in Split Rects by Deb Tucker/Studio 180.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2024 at 11:50 am

    Beautiful pillow cover! It really looks amazing.

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