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How to Make a Quilted Pillow using Half Square Triangles

Stitch away the winter blues with this bright and sunny quilted pillow by Sarah Ashford. She’s sharing a free tutorial teaching you how to make a quilted pillow out of half square triangle quilt blocks.

quilted pillow on white background

A home can never have too many pillows in my opinion. You can try out new techniques without committing to a whole quilt, you can make one relatively quickly and they make your house look beautiful! What’s not to love.

close up of quilted pillow on white background

Why Half Square Triangles?

This simple yet very effective half square triangle design is a great way to use up scraps, or in this case showcase a fabric collection, where all the hard work of putting fabrics together has been done for you. I’ve decided to use the fun and creative ‘Playroom’ collection by Mister Domestic, as it’s just so pretty! These colors are right up my street.

quilted pillow on white background

Half Square Triangle Quilted Pillow

Sarah Ashford
Create this cute scrappy pillow using half square triangle quilt blocks. Fits in a 16" pillow form.
4.24 from 17 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 16 scraps Fabric larger than 5 1/2" x 5 1/2"
  • 1 piece Batting 20" x 20"
  • 1 piece fabric 16" x 13" for pillow back
  • 1 piece fabric 16" x 8" for pillow back
  • 1 16" Pillow Insert


Create the Half Square Triangles

  • From each fabric cut a 5 ½ inch square, so that you have a total of 16 squares.  Place two contrasting squares right sides together and draw a line from one corner to the other.  Put a pin in either side to hold the squares together.  Do this for all of the squares.  
    Blue square of fabric on white table
  • Stitch a ¼in either side of the line for each pair.  You may find it easiest to chain piece the squares, stitching down one side of all of them first, then rotating the squares and stitching down the other side of each square.  
    blue square of fabric with line drawn diagonally on white table
  • Cut down the drawn line for each square.
    Sewn half square triangle cut in half along the diagonal
  • Open out each square to reveal the two half square triangles. (HSTs).  Press.
    iron and quilt blocks on ironing board
  • Each HST needs to be trimmed to 4 ½ inches.  To do this, fold the HST in half and make a crease at the top.  Place the ruler at the 2 ¼ inch position on this crease and trim the right side of the HST.  
  • Rotate the HST 180 degrees.  Put the ruler at the 4 ½ inch position on the left side of the HST and trim.
    quilt ruler on pink cutting mat
  • Do the same for the other two sides to make your accurate 4 ½ inch square.  
    Repeat for all 16 HSTs and them lay them out in a formation that you're happy with.  There's lots of fun to be had with layout here!  Go with what you think looks best.  
    several colorful half square triangle blocks arranged in rows of 4

Sew the Half Square Triangles Together

  • Sew each row one at a time, first stitching the pairs together then joining the pairs to complete the row.  Do NOT press yet.  
    Once you have all the rows sewn together, you can press the seams.  Take the top row and press the seams to the right.  Take the next row and press the seams to the left.  Keep going, alternating the direction of the row seams.  This will allow you to 'nest' the seams together nicely when you join the rows together.  
    Now take the top and next row and pin together, ensuring that the joins line up.  You can do this by putting a pin either side when you nest the seams. 
    two quilt blocks pinned together along seam
  • Stitch the rows together using a ¼ inch seam.  Then join the pairs of rows together and stitch, to complete the pillow top.  

Quilt Pillow Top

  • The next job is to baste the pillow top to the batting.  I like to use spray baste for this, but you may prefer to use pins.  Quilt as desired, either by hand or machine.  I've quilted either side of the seam lines.  Then stitch all the way around the edge to 'seal' the cushion.  

Sew the Envelope Back for the Pillow

  • Now to make the envelope back.  Take the top larger panel and fold ¼ inch hem on the long side, and then fold again.  Pin in place.  Repeat with the bottom panel, creating a hem on one long side.  
  • Stitch close to the edge to secure the hem on each section.  

Sew the Pillow Together

  • It's now time to construct the cushion.  Take the patchwork top and place right side up.  Take the large top section and align the raw edge with the top, with the hemmed edge in the centre, right sides down. 
    Take the bottom section and align the raw edge with the bottom of the pillow, with the hem overlapping the top section, right side down.  Hold in place using binding clips.  
  • Using a ½ inch seam, stitch all the way around the edge of the cushion, reinforcing the sections where the top and bottom panels overlap. Clip the corners and turn right sides out.  Insert your cushion inner and you're done!  
Love this tutorial? Get the behind the scenes on Instagram
quilted pillow on white background

About the Maker:

Sarah Ashford is a British Quilter and embroiderer and founder of the GreatBritishQuilter challenge on Instagram. Sarah regularly contributes projects to magazines and loves to spread the joy of quilting everywhere she goes. Follow her on Instagram at @sarahashfordstudio and be sure to check out her beautiful sewing room decals in her Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/sarahashfordstudio

A few other Simple Quilt Projects that you Might Like:

Fat Quarter Quilted Table Runner

How to Make a Quilted Pillow using the Quilt as you Go Method

Choose Happiness Quilt Along

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One Comment

  1. Beautiful pillow cover and easy to follow tutorial! Is it possible to cut the squares 4.5 by 4.5 in the first place instead of staying with 5.5 by 5.5 inch squares?

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