It’s no secret that AccuQuilt has been my preferred way to cut out fabric pieces for quilting for years, and making a Triangle in a Square quilt block is no exception! This easy AccuQuilt Tri-Rec quilt block tutorial will show you how to make fun triangle quilt blocks using an AccuQuilt fabric cutting system. We will use dies to cut out the Triangle fabric pieces and stitch them together for perfect Triangle in a Square quilt blocks every time.
Check out this video tutorial to watch how I use AccuQuilt to make the Tri-Rec quilt blocks:
What are Tri-Rec Quilt Blocks?
Tri-Rec quilt blocks are also known as Triangle in a Square. The center Triangle shape is not an equilateral triangle and is instead less than 60 degrees. If AccuQuilt isn’t for you, check out this tutorial using quilting rulers.
A Triangle-in-a-Square quilt block is composed of a center triangle and 2 background triangles that come together to make a perfect square. The center triangle is an Isosceles triangle, which means that 2 of the sides are the same length as each other, and 1 side is slightly different. In this case, the base is just slightly shorter than the 2 sides.
If you’re new to AccuQuilt, you’ve come to the right spot! I’ve been using AccuQuilt to cut out my fabrics for quilting for years, and I love to share my tips & techniques with you! Let me teach you ALL the basics about AccuQuilt cutting machines, and you can even see how I use the AccuQuilt Go!. Check out my YouTube playlist for tons more AccuQuilt tutorials as well.
Which AccuQuilt Dies to Use for Triangle in a Square
AccuQuilt makes dies for perfect Tri-Rec blocks every time! They are included in the Angles Companion sets for the Qubes, which you can check out below:
- 4″ Qube Companion (makes 2″ finished blocks)
- 6″ Qube Companion (makes 3″ finished blocks)
- 8″ Qube Companion (makes 4″ finished blocks)
- 9″ Qube Companion (makes 4.5″ finished blocks)
- 10″ Qube Companion (makes 5″ finished blocks)
- 12″ Qube Companion (makes 6″ finished blocks)
Alternatively, you can also grab a die dedicated solely to the Triangle in a Square shapes. You’ll notice these dies include 2 unique shapes: the center triangle and the side triangles.
Prep Your Quilting Fabric
Before we begin cutting the Triangles, it is super helpful to prepare your fabric with spray starch or best press.
If you’ve been using woven fabrics, you likely are familiar with the way bias edges stretch. Since we are sewing along the bias while making these triangle quilt blocks, we need to prep our fabric to reduce or eliminate the stretching! I personally like to treat my quilting cotton with Best Press prior to cutting anytime I am using my AccuQuilt. Best press is a spray starch alternative that gives the fabric just enough crispness.
If you prefer to use starch or another option, use that! I always say it’s best to try a few options and stick with whatever you like best.
Cutting out the Triangles with AccuQuilt
Using your AccuQuilt to cut out the Triangles for Tri-Rec blocks is easy and fun! If you are using the Angles companion set for a Qube, you’ll use die # for the center triangle and die # for the background.
Cutting on Grain
Fabric Grain is particularly important when making Triangle in a Square quilt blocks. You’ll want the bottom edge of your triangle to be straight on grain, which means it wont be stretchy. Alternatively, this means that both sides of the center triangle will have some stretch in them, so be extra careful not to distort the edges while handling them.
Reducing Fabric Waste
Use the cut & shift method to reduce fabric waste and be the most economical with your cuts. If you are cutting out a lot of blocks for a quilt, I recommend layering multiple pieces on top of your die, rather than fan-folding.
It is easy to minimize fabric waste while cutting out the sides of the triangles with your background fabrics, since the dies have them laid out to cut two triangles from a rectangle shape. I do want to warn you though: if you are using a fabric with a “right side” and “wrong side” then you will need to make sure you cut out both the LEFT side and RIGHT side of the background. You can do this easily by folding your fabric before cutting.
I personally tend to use solid fabrics for background. If that’s the case, you likely won’t need to worry too much about which is the “left” background piece and which is the “right” piece.
Tips for Piecing Tri-Rec Quilt Blocks
When you’re ready to actually start sewing the fabric pieces together, you’ll want to be very careful not to stretch them, as the fabric is cut on a bias edge.
Always use a sharp new needle in your sewing machine, and a straight stitch needle plate when piecing quilt blocks.
I also find it super helpful to use leaders & enders when piecing. Leaders and enders are scraps of other fabric that you stitch on before sewing on your actual pieces. These additional little fabric scraps keep your corners from getting sucked into your machine accidentally.
No Need to Trim these blocks!
When making Tri-Rec quilt blocks, I found no need to trim or square up, which is personally my favorite thing about using my AccuQuilt fabric cutting system. Perfect blocks every time!
Putting Tri-Rec Blocks into a Quilt
The Triangle in a Square Quilt Block is a fun one for many different designs! You can play around with them yourself to create something fun, or check out my Bonanza quilt pattern which will be available in my shop soon! The Bonanza pattern includes 3 sizes and features Tri-Rec blocks, two of which can be made using an AccuQuilt fabric cutting machine!