HRTs are half rectangle triangles, which are similar to half square triangles. This shape/block is also called a Bias Rectangle. I wanted to make them using a method similar to the Triangle Technique. Wouldn’t that be great? DH and SIL worked on the math, but they could only get one rectangle and a kite shape out of a similar method.
As a result, I compiled a list of tutorials and tools that will help you to make these shapes. Of course, there are many other people talking about this topic and more tutorials created every day. Look around if you don’t find something you like.
The Modern Quilt Guild posted a tutorial on bias rectangles. The tutorial shows how to make 4.5 x 6.5 inch final block size, but notes that the tutorial works for any size as long as you use the same sized rectangles. The tutorial includes directions for “squaring” up the blocks (a rectangle made up of two triangles).
In episode 110 of Fresh Quilting, Latifah Safir talks about making HRTs using just your regular straight ruler and fabric. No specialty rulers or papers. The only problem is that she does not say what the ending size of the patch is. Yes, I can make one to see, but it would be nice if the ending size was included. It might have been mentioned in the actual show, but I don’t remember noting it. The MQG tutorial mentioned above does talk about the sizes, including finished sizes a little bit. There is some overlap in these two tutorials.
Wayne Kollinger also posted 3 (yes, THREE) different tutorials detailing 3 different methods for making HRTs. First, he talks about just cutting fabric. No tools or special rulers. Wayne’s second method also uses the Tri Recs ruler (see below). The third tutorial uses freezer paper. One tidbit Wayne mentions is “the rectangles are twice as long as they are wide. This means that for a 6″x6″ block the rectangles would have a finished size of 2″x 4″. For a 9″x9″ block the rectangles would have a finished size of 3″x6″.”, which is very helpful information moving forward.
Heidi at Buttons and Butterflies posted a tutorial which includes what not to do, which is a great illustration of what I found out from DH’s mathematical adventures. From the tutorial you can see what happens without having to do it yourself. 😉 There are a few different techniques included in this post including an Accuquilt technique. She finishes up with a tutorial similar to the Modern Quilt Guild tutorial. Heidi also talks about the differences in HRTs, which I was glad about since I didn’t realize some of the things she discusses.
Kristi of the Schnitzel and Boo Blog uses a similar technique to Heidi, but sews on each side of the center line to make her HRTs in her post. The post includes a quilt tutorial/pattern as well.
Marjorie Rhine from Quilt Woman has a PDF discussing the topic, including three options for making the blocks. One is to use a template, similar to my tutorial on using templates. I suppose a ruler, as discussed below, would also work. Also mentioned are the Marti Michell’s Template Set D or Margaret Miller’s AnglePlay Template. The latter is a companion to a couple of books. She includes paper piecing and using templates as techniques. The PDF includes a lot of useful information.
Jacquelynne Steves created a tutorial that includes some math to help decide on size.
There is a tutorial with a size chart over at Bonjour Quilts. It was originally posted in May of 2017. You have to give your email to get the size chart. I did, figuring it was worth not making the chart myself, which I was planning on doing. This tutorial talks a lot about trimming, which I found interesting and informative. Thanks to Pip for pointing me to this blog.
Generations Quilt Patterns has an info page and tutorial on using the Split Recs ruler.
These HRTs can also be made using foundation piecing. Printing a template from EQ7 or drawing the paper template is also possible.
Sew Mama Sew has a tablerunner pattern. She talks about why the Triangle Technique does not work for HRTs.
It might be easier to cut these shapes if you had a cutting mat turntable. Martelli has one that includes an ironing surface.
Rulers and Dies
There are several different rulers that can be used to make bias rectangles (HRTs). My favorite is the Split Recs ruler by Studio 180 Designs. I can cut gazillions of these pieces without thinking twice. The ruler allows you to cut half rectangle triangles in different sizes so it is great for a lot of different projects. Watch the video! It is super helpful, actually critical.
I have used this ruler to make the various Spiky 16 Patch blocks.
Adrianne of ilovefabric.com and Little Bluebell blog uses one part of the Tri-Recs ruler. She shows a top in the post that she made and details how the ruler works. This is a great ruler for making Peaky & Spike blocks.
BlocLoc ruler system has an HRT ruler. I saw them in an online shop and they look similar to the BiRangle, though different as well.
I am not familiar with this system of rulers, not because there is anything wrong with them. I haven’t used theBlocLoc rulers, mostly because I don’t want to get sucked in to another type of ruler! I do want to support small quiltmaking businesses and I feel the urge to just try them all the time. This is so hard since I am such a ruler lover.
After finding the BlocLoc rulers I went searching for others. I found a Creative Grids triangle ruler that will help you make HRTs in a variety of different sizes. It is similar in shape to the Tri Recs, but looks like you can make more sizes using it. The tips are cut off on this ruler as well.
I think you could also make blocks with super skinny triangles like Storm at Sea or 54-40 or Fight.
This CG ruler is a little pricey – $18.95. Think of how many quilts you could make! 😉
After participating in the Journey 2 Nebula, I found that the Super Sidekick** and Sidekick** rulers by Julie Herman of Jaybird Designs can be used to make HRTs as well. From the design of the ruler, you can clearly see that they can cut HRTs. The good thing is that you can cut a wide variety of HRTs from these rulers. I wasn’t able to find any instructions or patterns, however, by Jaybird Designs that use HRTs.
Finally, I have a ruler called a BiRangle ruler. It is by Martingale (I bought it when the company was called That Patchwork Place).
I seem to remember having a book that went with this ruler, but I couldn’t find it when I went looking for it, thus I no longer know how to use this ruler! I am still looking for the book.
I found that Accuquilt has a die. The die (#55411) cuts two skinny triangles in a 3 x 6 inch size. The die is compatible with the Studio, Big and Go! Baby, though you might have to use an adapter. This die is also included in the Accuquilt GO! Qube Mix & Match 12″ Block set. The Accuquilt die has the tips cut off for easier matching of patches. The obvious drawback is that you get only one size.
In September of 2022 Latifah Saafir came out with another HRT ruler called the HuRTy. She has a webpage for this new tool.The page includes YouTube videos, downloadable resources, a Lookbook and even a Spotify Playlist. Latifah has three patterns that came out at the same time as the tool. Let me know if you try it out. I haven’t had a chance yet.
I wrote two posts on this subject in 2016: mostly tutorials and mostly rulers.
This information was updated on 11/11/2016. Please let me know if you find additional resources.