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Projects for leftover half square triangles (HSTs)

Updated: May 3

We all have them. You're not a quilter if you don't hold onto every morsel of fabric that could be useful in the future and leftover half-square triangle (HST) units definitely fall into that "could be useful" category. Whether produced as a byproduct of a quilt pattern (It me! I know, Strip Ts makes a bunch of extras.), or from saving all those stitch-and-flip corners in an attempt to waste less fabric, leftover HSTs can really accumulate. But what do you do with them when you've saved up a bunch? Here's some inspiration for what you can do with your accumulated leftover HSTs shared through some awesome makers on Instagram.


Make a second quilt

This is maybe the most obvious idea. Yes, you need to save up a lot of HSTs to finally have enough for a whole quilt, but it will demolish your stockpile in one swift go! Here are just a few of the many cute patterns that are made entirely of HSTs. Check out this Pinterest board for more ideas.

Triangle Jitters - by Suzy Quilts

Sun Salutations - by Whole Circle Studio

Kaleidoscope - by Bonjour Quilts

Worried about colors and fabrics clashing? This generally tends to be less of a problem than you might think. Most quilters are drawn to the same color palettes and kinds of colors (think clear colors, saturated colors, muted colors, etc.) and those colors tend to coordinate well. You might be surprised just how well all those bits from quilts past coordinate to make a beautiful quilt full of memories of all the other quilts you've made.

Do you have a whole bunch of different-sized HSTs? First, determine how big your biggest unit is, then figure out which sizes you can combine to make a block equal in size to that of the largest size. Any HSTs left that can't be combined to get the correct size, trim down to fit.

Make quilted pot holders

This is particularly well suited for HSTs that are small in dimension. Lots of simple blocks are composed purely of HSTs. Make 1 block and turn it into a beautiful, decorative pot-holder or hot pad with this easy tutorial.

Make an accent for a quilted bag

I love to make bags! There's lots of simple tote and pouch patterns, like this one, that are super well suited to a quilted exterior. Make a cute HST block with your leftovers and work it into the exterior of your bag before you quilt it for a snazzy quilty accent.

Not feeling a tote or pouch? There are so many other options out there. Consider a lunch bag, wine tote for gifting, fanny pack, or toiletry bag with a little quilty flair instead.

Use them in your quilt backing

As much as I don't like piecing my quilt back, there's nothing like a little gem hidden in the backing of your quilt to make it super special. Sew your HSTs into a cute block and piece it into your backing fabric for a mullet (business in the front, party in the [quilt] back) style quilt. You can even embroider or write on the block and use it as your quilt label.

Make an accent for a quilt coat

Similar to many of the other options, make a block or two from your leftovers and use them as the back accent of a quilt coat or embellishment for a jacket or sweatshirt.

Make placemats, a table runner, a throw pillow, or a wall hanging

The possibilities of the designs that you can make with HSTs are almost endless. Play around with your HST orientations and see what you can come up with then make the block or several blocks into a set of placemats, a table runner, or decorative wall hanging. Any of these items can also be easily turned into a throw pillow with this easy method.

Make them into flying geese

What are two HSTs sewn together? Nothing more than flying geese. This timeless subunit can be used for all sorts of things including all the things listed here for HSTs. They also make a beautiful border for any quilt that you want to be just a bit bigger. You can also easily make HSTs into quarter square triangles for a little more variety.

These are just some of the many options available for leftover HST units. It can be really fun to turn the leftover bits of your favorite makes into small projects and bonus projects that you can use every day. Here's an accent I'm making from my leftover Strip Ts HSTs. This is going on an Oro Rosa Travel Bag duffle selfish sew that's been on my to do list for a while. I'm so excited to see how it turns out!

HSTs lined up into flying geese shapes


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