How to Pre-Trim Triangle Points, Using the Prep-Tool

The Lip Edges on the Prep-Tool
catch the fabric's edge,
making it easy to accurately
line up & pre-trim points.

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Prep-Tool with 8-page
booklet & 1 Seam Guide

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cut & sew accurately:

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If you've worked with Triangles at all, you have definitely trimmed off a few Dog Ears, Bunny Ears or Triangle Points which all mean the same thing.

But most often you've probably trimmed them after you've pressed two Half Square Triangles open into a Triangle Square. When you do that, the Triangle Points are just poking out beyond the edge of the square and it's easy to see where to trim them off.

But there are times when
pre-trimming the points is the way to go.

A good example is if you are sewing a triangle to a square.

The trick is to get the Triangle perfectly centered on the Square.

But because the edges don't match, you have to try to line it up by eye.

You can look at it this way. These Triangles are the same Finished Size as the Square and if you sew them together it will be the same seam line joining them.

If you look at the seam line on the Square, it is a Scant ¼" from each edge. So if you were to measure a Scant ¼" from the end of the seam line on the Triangle, that is where you would want to trim off the point.

If you used a die cutting machine to cut squares and triangles

this is how the pieces would come out. Just the finished size with an extra 1/4" all around
and the triangles wouldn't have any points to begin with.

The bottom line to all this is, the edges of Squares and Triangles that are the same Finished Size, should match exactly after you accurately trim the Triangle Points.

If you accurately trim the points on Half Square Triangles and Quarter Square Triangles, their edges will match with a Square that is the same finished size.

Long Side Trim:

Line the Prep-Tool along the Long Side of the Triangle

Short Side Trim:

Line the Prep-Tool along the Short Side of the Triangle

So which trim should you use?

You can usually tell by lining up the triangle to the piece you are trying to sew it to.
You should be able to see which way will make the edges match before you trim the points.

Example: Trimming Triangles for Square-in-a-Square Units:

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To make patches out of 3 or more triangles,
you may want to cut your squares into triangles first

If you cut a Square in half once diagonally, you'll make 2 Half Square Triangles. If you cut a Square in half twice diagonally, you'll make 4 Quarter square Triangles.

Start by cutting a strip into Squares

Color coded Purple

Cut the Square once diagonally to make 2 Half Square Triangles

Color coded Green

Cut the Square twice diagonally to make 4 Quarter Square Triangles

Color coded Red

A Double Friendship Star has four 3-Part Squares
that are each made of one HST and two QSTs

Double Friendship Star

Color-Coded Breakdown

3-Part Squares

An Ohio Star has four 4-Part Squares
that are each made of four QSTs

Ohio Star

Color-Coded Breakdown

4-Part Squares

It makes it easier to line triangles up when making 3 or 4 part squares.

Use a Short Side Trim on the half square triangles & Long Side Trim on the quarter square triangles.

Short Side Trim:

Line the Prep-Tool along the Long Side of the HSTs

Long Side Trim:

Line the Prep-Tool along the Long Side of the QSTs

They'll line up easier, and sew together easier.

It's also make it easier to sew the triangles together when you don't have to start on the points of the triangles. The points can get caught in the feed dogs of your sewing machine making it hard to sew in a straight line.

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Brave New World units are a combination of:

  • 1 Big Half Square Triangle

  • 2 Small Half Square Triangles that are half the size of the big HST.

  • 1 Square that is the same size as the small HSTs

Use both a Short Side Trim and Long Side Trim
to accurately line the triangles up to the square.

Use a Short Side Trim on one HST

Line it up to the square and sew right sides together

Use a long Side Trim on the other HST

Now the square and two small HSTs are ready to be sewn to the big HST

You can then trim the points on the big HST and the unit you sewed together so their points won't get caught in your feed dogs.

Double trimming makes it easy to line up two diamonds or a diamond and a square.

The Prep-Tool takes the guesswork out of marking precise seam lines.

Patterns often tell you to stop a ¼” from the edge of the fabric. What they really mean is stop right at the seam line, which is a scant ¼”. That’s the secret to sharp mitered binding corners and precise set in seams.

Mark precise mitered binding corners

Learn More.

Take the guesswork out of
Set-in Seams

Learn More.

Accurately sew scant 1/4" seam allowances:

Learn More.

Quilts Made Using Prep-Tool by Guidelines4Quilting

Bonnie Beaty - CA Road to California Contest Entrant
"It was such a wonderful experience for me to take the leap and enter this quilt at Road. I am fairly new to quilting and to have my quilt accepted was quite an honor. This quilt truly stretched my quilting abilities and improved my confidence greatly.

I used a few of the tools offered by Guidelines4Quilting. I used the Guideline Rulers to cut the strips. I really like the ability of butting the ruler up to the fabric and knowing that it is straight and square.

I used the Prep-Tool to prepare the triangles. The Prep-Tool really does make for more accuracy when sewing triangles together and I needed accuracy on the triangle units of this quilt. Triangles have always been a bit of a challenge for me, so having tools that make it easier and actually work is great.

I tell everyone about Guidelines Rulers and at a recent quilt retreat I gave a demo on the Rulers, Prep-Tool and Grip Strips. I have the Grip Strips on almost all my rulers and just ordered another two packages for the rest of them. Thanks for the great products.”

This beautiful Lemoyne Star quilt was made by Sharon Vervoort of California and it was accepted into Road to California. It's the first quilt she had ever entered in a contest and it took third place.

She says one of her secrets to win this award was using the Prep-Tool to mark the seam intersections for the precise Set-in-Seams on the Lemoyne stars. Congrats, Sharon!