[ Quilting Tips ]

No Markings – Know Your Sewing Machine

Welcome to the Back to School blog hop

Welcome to our half-square triangle study session!  The core question today is: how well do you know your sewing machine?  We tend to see the big pieces – the needle, thread path, and bobbin. Did you know about all the guidance we can get from the bed of the machine?  These hints that will help you get to know your sewing machine and lead to a faster process for piecing half-square triangles.

Multiple Choice – How to Sew HST

There are many ways to sew half-square triangle units.  My personal preference is the Easy Angle ruler since I can cut from strips with no marking.  However, I also use the two-at-a-time method if I need lots of HSTs from the same fabrics.  You can review some HST construction tips in this post. Easy Angle Ruler and Two-at-a-time HST

With either the Easy Angle ruler or two-at-a-time method, the key to stitching is maintaining your quarter inch seam.

If you have been quilting for any length of time, it is likely you know the importance of the quarter inch seam. Sewing machine manufacturers realized the quilter’s dependence on this tiny measurement. They have given us some tools to improve accuracy. The best investment you can make is a quarter inch foot for your sewing machine.

Quarter Inch Foot

My Janome sewing machine quarter inch foot has a metal guide on the right side. I make sure my fabric is touching this guide as I stitch the entire seam.  This is a simple process when using triangles cut from the Easy Angle ruler.

sewing half square triangles

When I am sewing two-at-a-time HST, I need to be more careful since I am sewing down the middle of a square.

sew on both sides of the marked lineThis is when many people mark their fabric.  I prefer to fold mine.  fold a square into a triangleIt may only save a few seconds, but I am not wasting any time hunting for a pencil or worrying about harmful effects of ink on my fabric. The guide bar travels along the diagonal of the fabric square and a fold line will be just as visible as any type of marking. fold line guides the sewing

Learn to read your machine

Did you know there are rulers on your sewing machine?  Take a look at the throat plate and the bobbin cover.  Turns out these pieces are full of useful information we can use to maintain our quarter inch seams!

Even if you are using a quarter inch foot, it is important to know where the quarter- and half-inch marking are located on the throat plate.  This will help verify that your fabric pieces are lined up correctly.learn the markings on your sewing machine

I use the markings on the bobbin cover as a piecing guide as well. If I am sewing from point to point on a square, such as on a flying geese block, then I position the bottom corner of my fabric over the line on the bobbin case that is aligned with my needle. This way everything stays straight and I know I am piecing accurately.find measurements on the bobbin cover also

Do you have an extension table on your sewing machine? This is another helpful addition to the basic machine set-up. My plastic extension table included an adhesive ruler. Once the ruler was in place, I made a note of which marking lined up with my needle.

Now when I am sewing, I know that fabric corners must pass directly over that noted marking in order to be sewn straight and true.

Marking is not necessary if you get to know your sewing machine

Improving accuracy when sewing along the diagonal of a square will help us enjoy the quilt-making process, especially for those patterns that call for a bunch of half-square triangles. Purchase a quarter-inch foot to maintain a consistent seam allowance.  Confidently sew HSTLearn the markings on your machine’s bobbin case and extension table so that you can quilt with confidence.

Quilting tutorials on the Back to School Blog Hop

Back to school blog hop
hosted by hunterdesignstudio.com

Please follow the rest of the 2019 Back To School Blog Hop! Note that these industry peeps are all over the country and world, so be patient if you don’t see their post first thing in *your* morning!

Week 1 of the Back to School Blog Hop

Day 1 – September 1 – Sam Hunter: Sewing Long Seams Without Stretching – huntersdesignstudio.com

September 2 – Day 2 –  Susan Arnold – Joining Binding the Easy Way – quiltfabrication.com

Day 3 – September 3 – Angie Wilson – Fussy cutting tips and techniques – www.gnomeangel.com

September 4 – Day 4  – Andi Stanfield – No-Mark HST: Let your machine be your guide – truebluequilts.com/no-markings-know-your-sewing-machine <<—- you are here!

Day 5 – September 5 – Bobbie Gentili – Say YES to Y-seams – geekybobbin.com

September 6 – Day 6 –  Mel Beach – 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to School Glue – pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com

Day 7 – September 7 – Laura Piland – 7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine – www.sliceofpiquilts.com

Week 2 of the Back to School Blog Hop

Day 8 – September 8 – Suzy Webster – How to solve loops in free motion quilting – www.websterquilt.com

September 9 – Day 9 –  Tara Miller – Accurate Stitch-and-Flip Corners – quiltdistrict.com

Day 10 – September 10 – Latifah Saafir – Accurate Seams Using Masking Tape! – latifahsaafirstudios.com

September 11 – Day 11 –  Sarah Ruiz – The Magic of Glue Basting – saroy.net

Day 12 – September 12 – Jen Shaffer – Ways to stop your ruler from slipping while cutting – patternsbyjen.blogspot.com

September 13 – Day 13 –  Cheryl Sleboda – Basics of ruching (a vintage fabric manipulation technique) – muppin.com

Day 14 – September 14 – Raylee Bielenberg – Choosing quilting designs for your quilt – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com

Week 3 of the Back to School Blog Hop

Day 15 – September 15 – Jen Strauser – Accurate and Attractive Machine binding – dizzyquilter.com

September 16 – Day 16 –  Jane Davidson – Matching points for all types of intersections – quiltjane.com

Day 17 – September 17 – Teresa Coates – Starch and starch alternatives – teresacoates.com

September 18 – Day 18 –  Jen Frost – Benefits of spray basting – faithandfabricdesign.com

Day 19 – September 19 – Sandra Starley – Getting started with Hand Quilting – utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com

September 20 – Day 20 –  Karen Platt – Drunkard’s Path Made Easy – karenplatt.co.uk/blog/

Day 21 – September 21 – Kris Driessen – All Kinds of Square (in a Square) – scrapdash.com

Week 4 of the Back to School Blog Hop

Day 22 – September 22 – Sarah Goer – Planned Improv Piecing – sarahgoerquilts.com

September 23 – Day 23 –  Kathy Bruckman – Organizing kits for on-the-go sewing – kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.com

Day 24 – September 24 – Cheryl Daines Brown – The Secret to Flat Quilt Tops: Borders – quilterchic.com

September 25 – Day 25 –  Cherry Guidry – Pre-assembling fusible applique – cherryblossomsquilting.com

Day 26 – September 26 – Laura Chaney – Getting started with English Paper Piecing – prairiesewnstudios.com

September 27 – Day 27 –  Ebony Love – Cutting Bias Strips from a Rectangle – lovebugstudios.com

Day 28 – September 28 – Tammy Silvers – Working with heavier weight threads in your machine – tamarinis.typepad.com

September 29 – Day 29 –  Kathy Nutley – Create a perfect facing or frame with 90 degree angles – quiltingsbykathy.com

Day 30 – September 3 – Joanne Harris – Using Leaders and Enders – quiltsbyjoanne.blogspot.com

About Author


Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher



  1. Thanks for the affirmation! I took four years of high school home ec, because my aunt insisted, and I’m so glad she did. Things I take for granted, I’m so surprised young sewers never learned. I’ve been pressing for HSTs and other things for years, because I’m too lazy to mark all those squares! It works like a charm!

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