May – 60 degree triangles

This month we’re going back to the idea of challenging everyone to try something new, so we’re going to be playing with 60 degree triangles in colour families.

When you add up the angles of a triangle, they will always add up to 180 degrees. A 60 degree triangle is an equilateral triangle, because each of the sides is the same length, and all of the angles are the same size. This makes 60 degree triangles the easiest triangles to sew with, so they’re a great place to start if you’re feeling intimidated.

Cutting triangles isn’t hard, it’s just a bit different than we’re accustomed to. You can purchase 60 degree rulers that come in various sizes, but a lot of other rulers will also have a 60 degree line printed in them. I’m going to show you two ways to cut your triangles, neither of which require you to buy a specific ruler!

Version 1: Using a ruler with a 60 degree marking on it.

Step 1: Cut a piece of fabric 4″ tall and at least 5″ wide (but it can be longer, as shown in the picture below)

Step 2: I’m using a ruler that is 8.5″ x 24″ in these photos. If you follow the arrow, you can see where the 60 degree line is printed on the ruler. Match that line to the edge of your fabric, and cut the first side of your triangle.

Step 3: Now flip your ruler around, and line that 60 degree marking up with the side you just cut, and trim off the second side of your triangle. The third side is already neat and tidy from when you cut your 4″ strip.

Version 2: Using any ruler with a template taped onto it.

I found version one to be irritating after a while, what with all of the ruler flipping that it requires. I’m cutting 4″ tall triangles, I don’t need 24″ of ruler to do it! I used a 6.5″ square ruler for this and it was much more convenient.

Step 1: You will need a template to start. If you have a ruler with the 60 degree marking like in Version 1, use it to cut one 4″ tall 60 degree triangle out of scrap paper. If you don’t have a ruler, this is when you sweet talk a friend into lending you one for the 5 minutes it takes to cut this! (Or pick up one of the templates that Amy had at the meeting). Carefully line one edge of the triangle up with the exact edge of the ruler and tape it in place.

Step 2: Line one of the edges of the paper template up along the straight edge of your fabric, and use the edge of the ruler that matches the edge of your triangle to make the first cut.

Step 3: Now flip your (much smaller and more convenient!) ruler around, carefully line your two cut edges up with the edges of the template, and trim off the third edge.

That’s how to cut! Cutting the triangles is the most time consuming part of these blocks, but once you’ve cut your fabric, they only take about 5 minutes to sew together.

The blocks we’ll be making for the Block Lotto have 4 fabrics each, one solid fabric for the centre of the triangle, and 3 prints to go around it, all in the same colour way.

Each block consists of 4 triangles sewn together, with the solid fabric in the centre.

Sewing the triangles isn’t hard, because you don’t have to worry about offsetting angles or anything. Just lay your two pieces right sides together, just like you do when sewing squares together, and stitch then with a 1/4″ seam. You will be working with bias edges, which can be a bit tricky if you stretch them, but make a point of not playing with your pieces until you’re ready to sew and you should be fine. (Note: a lot of instructions online suggest starch when sewing bias edges. DO NOT use scented starch for block lotto blocks!) If you find that your seam is stretching, try adding pins.

Start with your lower left triangle, and sew it to the solid.

Then your lower right triangle, sewn onto the solid. See how your dog ears that are poking out from the last seam show you exactly where to lay down your next piece? Don’t cut them off!

And then sew your top triangle onto the last remaining side of the solid triangle in the centre.

For this block, press all of your seams to the side, AWAY from the solid fabric. If we keep our pressing consistent, the blocks will go together nicely for whoever wins them!


And that’s it! Triangles aren’t that scary at all, are they? Bring your triangle blocks to our June meeting, and as usual, every block you enter is a chance to win them all!